Shape parameters explain data from spatial transformations

Comment on Pearce et al. (2004) and Tommasi & Polli (2004)

Ken Cheng*, C. R. Gallistel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

73 Citations (Scopus)


In 2 recent studies on rats (J. M. Pearce, M. A. Good, P. M. Jones, & A. McGregor, 2004) and chicks (L. Tommasi & C. Polli, 2004), the animals were trained to search in 1 corner of a rectilinear space. When tested in transformed spaces of different shapes, the animals still showed systematic choices. Both articles rejected the global matching of shape in favor of local matching processes. The present authors show that although matching by shape congruence is unlikely, matching by the shape parameter of the 1st principal axis can explain all the data. Other shape parameters, such as symmetry axes, may do even better. Animals are likely to use some global matching to constrain and guide the use of local cues; such use keeps local matching processes from exploding in complexity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-259
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005

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