Discrimination of shape reflections and shape orientations by Columba livia.
Journal of Comparative Psychology
By using a free-operant instrumental discrimination procedure, it was demonstrated that pigeons find two-dimensional mirror-image visual forms more difficult to distinguish than otherwise similar forms. Variations in orientation of the discriminanda exacerbated the relative confusability of mirror images. No significant difference was found in the pigeons' performance whether the birds were discriminating vertically or horizontally reflected mirror-image pairs. Mirror images of shapes were also
... of shapes were also shown to be less discriminable than upside-down versions of shapes. The similarity of mirror-image patterns is discussed in relation to the generalized recognition of bilaterally symmetrical forms by pigeons. Pigeons found an orientation discrimination task involving a 45° tilt comparatively hard. A second experiment with a discrete-trial conditional paradigm confirmed that discriminations of shape orientations can be difficult for these birds. The addition of shape cues improved the performance on the orientation discrimination task, more so when arbitrary shapes were employed than when mirror images were used, which indicates again that the latter were more difficult to discriminate than the former. The relative insensitivity to shape orientations is ascribed to normal ecological demands on pigeons.