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Imitative learning of stimulus-response and response-outcome associations in pigeons

Saggerson, A. L.; George, David N.; Honey, R. C.


A. L. Saggerson

R. C. Honey


A novel automated procedure was used to study imitative learning in pigeons. In Experiments 1 and 2, observer pigeons witnessed a demonstrator pigeon successfully performing an instrumental discrimination in which different discriminative stimuli indicated which of 2 topographically distinct responses (R1 and R2) resulted in the delivery of seed. The observers were then presented with the discriminative stimuli and given access to the response panel. Observer pigeons' behavior during the discriminative stimuli was influenced by how the demonstrator had responded during these stimuli. In Experiment 3, observers witnessed demonstrator pigeons performing R1 for Outcome 1 and R2 for Outcome 2. Observers then received a procedure designed to devalue Outcome 1 relative to Outcome 2 and were subsequently less likely to perform R1 than R2. These results suggest that pigeons can learn both stimulus response and response-outcome associations by observation. Copyright 2005 by the American Psychological Association.


Saggerson, A. L., George, D. N., & Honey, R. C. (2005). Imitative learning of stimulus-response and response-outcome associations in pigeons. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 31(3), 289-300.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 31, 2005
Publication Date Jul 1, 2005
Print ISSN 0097-7403
Electronic ISSN 0097-7403
Publisher American Psychological Association
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Issue 3
Pages 289-300
Keywords Experimental and Cognitive Psychology; Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
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