Home > Papers from 2010 > Egocentric chicks…

Egocentric chicks…

There is a gap in the literature between insect and vertebrate navigation. This gap seems to result more from the use of different approaches and a lack of comparative studies than from actual differences in the animals’ navigational mechanisms. The recent study of Pecchia et al. provides a bridge between vertebrate and insect cognition by demonstrating the use of an egocentric view-based strategy in chicks.
The authors trained chicks to relocate a reward within a rectangular array of 4 cylindrical landmarks. The reward was located inside one of the landmarks and could be reached through a head-sized circular opening in the cylinder. Chicks could learn the spatial arrangements of the landmark scene as long as the circular opening pointed in the same direction throughout training, but failed if the circular opening was rotated around the rewarded landmark from trial to trial. Interestingly, the learning of the rewarded landmark identity was not affected by such rotation of the circular opening. The authors conclude that a stable view at the goal is required for “place navigation” (i.e., learning of the landmarks’ spatial arrangement) but not for “non-spatial learning” (i.e., individuallandmark recognition).    Post by Antoine Wystrach

Pecchia, T. and Vallortigara, G. (2010). View-based strategy for reorientation bygeometry. J. Exp. Biol. 213, 2987-2996.

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