Wednesday, June 08, 2005

What Chicks Know and When They Know It

PLoS Biology: Visually Inexperienced Chicks Exhibit Spontaneous Preference for Biological Motion Patterns From the Abstract: "Here we report that newly hatched chicks, reared and hatched in darkness, at their first exposure to point-light animation sequences, exhibit a spontaneous preference to approach biological motion patterns. Intriguingly, this predisposition is not specific for the motion of a hen, but extends to the pattern of motion of other vertebrates, even to that of a potential predator such as a cat. The predisposition seems to reflect the existence of a mechanism in the brain aimed at orienting the young animal towards objects that move semi-rigidly (as vertebrate animals do), thus facilitating learning, i.e., through imprinting, about their more specific features of motion."