Conditioned aversions to visual cues in the pigeon

Jarvis, Paul Sinclair (1979) Conditioned aversions to visual cues in the pigeon. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

The purpose of this thesis was to determine whether or not pigeons could form a conditioned food aversion to the visual properties of food. Prior research has shown that other species will learn to avoid a food the ingestion of which has been paired with sickness. This thesis attempted to expand these results, first by demonstrating the phenomenon in the pigeon, and then by utilizing visual cues present at ingestion but not physically part of the food, and by testing to see if the aversion formed to these visual cues would generalize to other food-related behaviours. -- In the first study, pigeons consumed pigeon checkers coloured either red or green. Ingestion of one colour of checker was paired with sickness, produced by LiCl injection, while ingestion of the other checkers produced no negative consequences. In a choice test between the two types of checkers, the pigeons strongly preferred the previously safe checkers. -- In each of the second, third and fourth experiments, pigeons were trained to eat uncoloured pigeon checkers from a white-illuminated food magazine in an operant chamber. On the conditioning day the magazine was illuminated with red light and following consumption, half the birds were injected with LiCl and half were injected with physiological saline, an inert substance. After one such red-illuminated conditioning session, a significant proportion of the LiCl injected birds subsequently decreased consumption of red-illuminated checkers while the saline injected birds maintained or increased their consumption of red-illuminated checkers. The aversion to red-illuminated checkers grew stronger as a function of red-illuminated consumption-sickness pairings in the LiCl injected birds, reaching almost total suppression of red-illuminated consumption after two such pairings. -- Conditioning of the red-illumination consumption aversion was followed in Experiments 3 and 4 by an autoshaping procedure. In Experiment 3, the key-light to which autoshaping occurred was either red or green and the prediction was that the birds which were averse to red-illumination in the magazine would be slower to autoshape to the red key than those presented with a green key. The autoshaped responding which resulted was so erratic that it was impossible to verify this prediction. In Experiment 4, autoshaping to a yellow key-light was followed by conditioned suppression testing using either red or green key-lights on discrete trials. Again, the level of autoshaped responding made meaningful interpretation of the data impossible.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7646
Item ID: 7646
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 56-58.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: 1979
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Aversive stimuli; Conditioned response; Pigeons--Behavior

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