Timing multimodal events in pigeons

Ken Cheng, William A. Roberts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The peak procedure was used in two experiments to study pigeons' ability to time multimodal events. In the first experiment, birds were trained to time a single event consisting of a 9‐s tone or light followed by a 21‐s fixed interval associated with a signal of light or tone (signal of the other modality). On occasional empty trials, different lengths of the first signal were followed by a long period of the second signal. Peak response times as a function of the duration of the first signal were linear and had a slope of close to one in all birds. This indicates that the birds were timing only the second signal. In a second experiment, two complex events were used in training. One consisted of a 9‐s tone or light followed by a 21‐s fixed interval associated with a light or tone. The other consisted of a 21‐s tone or light followed by a 9‐s fixed interval associated with a light or tone. Different durations of the first signal were again used on empty trials. Peak response times as a function of the duration of the first signal were again linear in all birds. The slope of the function was less than one but greater than zero for 3 birds. This indicates that these birds were partly timing the entire complex event of 30‐s duration and partly timing only the second signal of the event. A model is proposed in which the bird takes as a criterion for timing a weighted average of different target criteria. Comparisons with the performance of rats are made. 1989 Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-376
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Volume52
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • internal clock
  • key peck
  • multimodal
  • peak procedure
  • pigeon
  • timing

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