Figure-ground assignment in pigeons: evidence for a figural benefit.


Four pigeons discriminated whether a target spot appeared on a colored figural shape or on a differently colored background by first pecking the target and then reporting its location: on the figure or the background. We recorded three dependent variables: target detection time, choice response time, and choice accuracy. The birds were faster to detect the target, to report its location, and to learn the correct response on figure trials than on background trials. Later tests suggested that the pigeons might have attended to the figural region as a whole rather than using local properties in performing the figure-background discrimination. The location of the figural region did not affect figure-ground assignment. Finally, when 4 other pigeons had to detect and peck the target without making a choice report, no figural advantage emerged in target detection time, suggesting that the birds' attention may not have been automatically summoned to the figural region.

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@article{Lazareva2006FiguregroundAI, title={Figure-ground assignment in pigeons: evidence for a figural benefit.}, author={Olga F. Lazareva and Leyre Castro and Shaun Vecera and Edward Wasserman}, journal={Perception & psychophysics}, year={2006}, volume={68 5}, pages={711-24} }