Visual search in the pigeon: hunt and peck method

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Science  27 May 1977:
Vol. 196, Issue 4293, pp. 1013-1014
DOI: 10.1126/science.860129


Pigeons pecked at small forms displayed on an oscilloscope screen under computer control. The birds were required to find a small o amid varying numbers of x forms. A photocell glued to the bird's beak provided a signal to the computer when the beak approached a form, and the computer recorded the time and target of the response. As in some similar studies with human subjects, erros and reaction times increased with number of x forms displayed. The method appears promising for further studies of search and of other processes related to perception and information-processing in birds.

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