Acquisition of a same-different discrimination task by pigeons (Columba livia)

Hiromitsu Miyata*, Kazuo Fujita

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Four homing pigeons were trained to discriminate two figures simultaneously presented on an LCD screen. The figure was either a rectangle (A) or a square (B), and four combinations of the two figures, AA, AB, BA, BB, appeared in a pseudo-randomized order. The pigeons' task was to peck one of these figures based upon whether the two figures were identical or not. One pigeon successfully learned this discrimination, with proportions of correct responses above 90% in two consecutive sessions. Of the other birds, two performed above chance level but had difficulty meeting a learning criterion of above 80% in two consecutive sessions. All birds achieved this criterion when the combinations of figures presented were reduced to two. Results suggested that learning the present same-different discrimination is within the capacity of pigeons to a certain extent, although there exists considerable individual variation in the pigeons' skills to acquire complex discrimination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-262
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Feb
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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