Rotational object discrimination by pigeons.J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Process. 2009 Apr; 35(2):250-65.JE
Four experiments examined the discrimination of directional object motion by pigeons. Four pigeons were tested in a go/no-go procedure with video stimuli of pigeons rotating right or left around their central y-axis. This directional discrimination was learned in 7 to 12 sessions and was not affected by changes in object starting orientation, but did require the coherent ordering of the videos' successive frames. Subsequent experiments found no or little transfer of this motion discrimination to novel objects. Experiments varying the speed of rotation and degrees of apparent motion per frame revealed that both factors strongly affected the discrimination. Finally, tests with partial occlusion of different portions of a rotating object suggested that the majority of the object was likely involved in determining rotational direction. These experiments indicate that pigeons can exclusively use motion cues to judge relative object motion. They also suggest the pigeons may have used a specific representation of the motion sequences of each object to make the discrimination.