Stimulus control of the pigeon's ability to peck a moving target.

Research paper by R R Pisacreta

Indexed on: 01 Mar '82Published on: 01 Mar '82Published in: Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior


Two pigeons were trained to peck whichever of eight keys displayed a white field (SD). The other seven keys displayed a white "X" on a black background (S delta). Each peck to SD produced three-second access to grain, a three-second intertrial interval (ITI), and the next trial. Pecks to S delta produced a three-second timeout (TO) and the same trial. During later sessions the key displaying SD changed every t seconds (t = 3, 2, 1, .5, and .25 sec), requiring the birds to track the position of the SD. Pecks on a ninth key increased t. Several sessions employed novel stimuli to ascertain the controlling stimulus dimensions. Both birds made few errors acquiring the original discrimination. During the tracking sessions, both birds made few errors when t = .5 sec. Only one reliably lengthened t. Data from sessions with novel stimuli indicate that color and form were important aspects of SD and S delta respectively; movement contributed to the final performance.