A novel methodology using pigeons that was developed by researchers at Germany's Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) has uncovered universal principles in categorization learning.
The team integrated virtual phylogenesis, the generation of artificial stimuli by computers, with machine learning-based assessment of the birds' pecking behavior.
Researchers taught the pigeons to differentiate between and categorize digitally produced images onscreen by pecking at the monitor; they were able to locate the point on objects that the birds touched when they made their choices on the screen.
"Despite identical behavior, these preferences are different in each individual; in other words, each pigeon has its very own specific characteristics that it considers important in the two families of objects," said RUB's Roland Pusch. "This suggests that categorization learning is not limited to a single learning strategy."
From Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Germany)
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