DiPietro N T, Wasserman E A, Young M E, 2002, "Effects of occlusion on pigeons' visual object recognition" Perception 31(11) 1299 – 1312
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Effects of occlusion on pigeons' visual object recognition
Norma T DiPietro, Edward A Wasserman, Michael E Young
Received 12 October 2001, in revised form 22 May 2002; published online 30 October 2002
Abstract. Casual observation suggests that pigeons and other animals can recognize occluded objects; yet laboratory research has thus far failed to show that pigeons can do so. In a series of experiments, we investigated pigeons' ability to 'name' shaded, textured stimuli by associating each with a different response. After first learning to recognize four unoccluded objects, pigeons had to recognize the objects when they were partially occluded by another surface or when they were placed on top of another surface; in each case, recognition was weak. Following training with the unoccluded stimuli and with the stimuli placed on top of the occluder, pigeons' recognition of occluded objects dramatically improved. Pigeons' improved recognition of occluded objects was not limited to the trained objects but transferred to novel objects as well. Evidently, the recognition of occluded objects requires pigeons to learn to discriminate the object from the occluder; once this discrimination is mastered, occluded objects can be better recognized.
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