Anticipating by Pigeons Depends on Local Statistical Information in a Serial Response Time Task

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Pigeons responded in a serial response time task patterned after that of M. J. Nissen and P. Bullemer (1987) with humans. Experiment 1 produced global facilitation: Response times in repeating lists of locations were faster than when locations were random. Response time to a spatial location was also a function of both that location's 1st- and 2nd-order local predictability, in rough agreement with the Hick–Hyman law, according to which response time is a linear function of amount of information. Experiment 2 showed that both local and global facilitation is limited to moderate response-to-stimulus intervals of about 0.50 to 2.00 s. Experiment 3 showed that response time did not depend on global statistical information. Overall, local and global performances depended on local statistical information, but global performance did not depend on global information. Local facilitation was interpreted in plain English as anticipating.

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