Perception of the standard and the reversed Müller-Lyer figures in pigeons (Columba livia) and humans (Homo sapiens)

Noriyuki Nakamura, Kazuo Fujita, Tomokazu Ushitani, Hiromitsu Miyata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The authors compared perception of the standard and reversed Müller-Lyer figures between pigeons (Columbia livia) and humans (Homo sapiens). In Experiment 1, pigeons learned to classify 6 lengths of target lines into "long" and "short" categories by pecking 2 keys on the monitor, ignoring the 2 brackets so placed that they would not induce an illusion. In the test that followed, all 3 birds chose the "long" key more frequently for the standard Müller-Lyer figures with inward-pointing brackets (><) than for the figures with outward-pointing brackets (<>). The subjects' responses were accountable by neither overall lengths of the figures nor horizontal gaps between the 2 brackets. For the reversed figures, effects of the brackets were absent. These results suggested that the pigeons perceived the standard Müller-Lyer illusion but not the reversed one. Experiment 2 confirmed that humans perceived both types of the illusion. Pigeons and humans may perceive the same illusory figures in different ways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-261
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
Volume120
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Aug
Externally publishedYes

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Columba livia
Columbidae
pigeons
pecking
experiment
bird
Birds
Homo sapiens
monitoring
birds
testing

Keywords

  • Geometrical illusions
  • Humans
  • Müller-Lyer illusion
  • Pigeons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Perception of the standard and the reversed Müller-Lyer figures in pigeons (Columba livia) and humans (Homo sapiens). / Nakamura, Noriyuki; Fujita, Kazuo; Ushitani, Tomokazu; Miyata, Hiromitsu.

In: Journal of Comparative Psychology, Vol. 120, No. 3, 08.2006, p. 252-261.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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