Timing multimodal events in pigeons

Ken Cheng, William A. Roberts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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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