Lateralized mechanisms for encoding of object. Behavioral evidence from an animal model: The domestic chick (Gallus gallus)

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In our previous research we reported a leftward-asymmetry in domestic chicks required to identify a target element, on the basis of its ordinal position, in a series of identical elements. Here we re-coded behavioral data collected in previous studies from chicks tested in a task involving a different kind of numerical ability, to study lateralization in dealing with an arithmetic task. Chicks were reared with a set of identical objects representing artificial social companions. On day 4, chicks underwent a free-choice test in which two sets, each composed of a different number of identical objects (5 vs.10 or 6 vs. 9, Experiment 1), were hidden behind two opaque screens placed in front of the chick, one on the left and one on the right side. Objects disappeared, one by one, behind either screen, so that, for example, one screen occluded 5 objects and the other 10 objects. The left-right position of the larger set was counterbalanced between trials. Results show that chicks, in the attempt to rejoin the set with the higher number of social companions, performed better when this was located to the right. However, when the number of elements in the two sets was identical (2 vs. 2, in Experiment 2) and they differed only in the coloration of the objects, this bias was not observed, suggesting a predisposition to map the numerical magnitude from left to right. Future studies should be devoted to the direct investigation of this phenomenon, possibly employing an identical number of mono-chromatic imprinting stimuli in both conditions involving a numerical discrimination and conditions not involving any numerosity difference. © 2014 Rugani, Rosa Salva and Regolin.




Rugani, R., Salva, O. R., & Regolin, L. (2014). Lateralized mechanisms for encoding of object. Behavioral evidence from an animal model: The domestic chick (Gallus gallus). Frontiers in Psychology, 5(FEB).

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