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01.06.2015 | Ausgabe 2/2015

Learning & Behavior 2/2015

Using the reassignment procedure to test object representation in pigeons and people

Zeitschrift:
Learning & Behavior > Ausgabe 2/2015
Autoren:
Jessie J. Peissig, Yasuo Nagasaka, Michael E. Young, Edward A. Wasserman, Irving Biederman

Abstract

In four experiments, we evaluated Lea’s (1984) reassignment procedure for studying object representation in pigeons (Experiments 13) and humans (Experiment 4). In the initial phase of Experiment 1, pigeons were taught to make discriminative button responses to five views of each of four objects. Using the same set of buttons in the second phase, one view of each object was trained to a different button. In the final phase, the four views that had been withheld in the second stage were shown. In Experiment 2, pigeons were initially trained just like the birds in Experiment 1. Then, one view of each object was reassigned to a different button, now using a new set of four response buttons. In Experiment 3, the reassignment paradigm was again tested using the number of pecks to bind together different views of the same object. Across all three experiments, pigeons showed statistically significant generalization of the new response to the non-reassigned views, but such responding was well below that to the reassigned view. In Experiment 4, human participants were studied using the same stimuli and task as the pigeons in Experiment 1. People did strongly generalize the new response to the non-reassigned views. These results indicate that humans, but not pigeons, can employ a unified object representation that they can flexibly map to different responses under the reassignment procedure.

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