Hippocampal Lesion Effects on Learning Strategies in Homing Pigeons
Several studies have shown that birds have a directional view of space and tend to use the sun compass over landmark beacons when both are available. Intact homing pigeons can use either the sun compass or colour beacons to locate a food reward, whereas pigeons with hippocampal lesions are unable to use the sun compass, but quickly learn to use colour beacons. We trained hippocampal ablated and intact pigeons to find a reward in an outdoor octagonal arena when both sun compass information (directional cues) and intramaze landmark beacons (colour cues) were available. The intact control pigeons learned the task by preferentially relying on directional cues while effectively ignoring the colour beacons. The behaviour of the hippocampal ablated birds, based on a clock-shift manipulation and after the rotation of the colour beacons, showed that they learned to locate the food reward in the arena only on the basis of the landmark beacons, ignoring the sun compass directional information.
Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B
- Pub Date:
- May 1996