Stimulus control in the use of landmarks by pigeons in a touch‐screen task

Ken Cheng, Marcia L. Spetch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Pigeons were tested in a search task on the surface of a monitor on which their responses were registered by a touch‐sensitive device. A graphic landmark array was presented consisting of a square outline (the frame) and a colored “landmark.” The unmarked goal, pecks at which produced reward, was located near the center of one edge of the frame, and the landmark was near it. The entire array was displaced without rotation on the monitor from trial to trial. On occasional no‐reward tests, the following manipulations were made to the landmark array: (a) either the frame or the landmark was removed; (2) either one edge of the frame or the landmark was shifted; and (3) two landmarks were presented with or without the frame present. On these two‐landmark tests, the frame, when present, defined which was the “correct” landmark. When the frame was absent, the “correct” landmark was arbitrarily determined. Results showed that pecks of 2 pigeons were controlled almost solely by the landmark, pecks of 3 were controlled primarily by the landmark but the frame could distinguish the correct landmark, and 1 bird's behavior was controlled primarily by the frame. Stimulus control in this search task is thus selective and differs across individuals. Comparisons to other search tasks and to other stimulus control experiments are made. 1995 Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-201
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • attention
  • landmarks
  • peck
  • pigeon
  • search
  • spatial learning
  • stimulus control


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