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Visual-discrimination deficits after lesions of the centrifugal visual system in pigeons (Columba livia)

  • Uwe Hahmann (a1) and Onur Güntürkün (a1)


The effects of bilateral lesions of the centrifugal visual system (CVS) on the visual-discrimination capacity were studied in pigeons. Three different behavioral experiments, each testing different aspects of visual analysis, were performed. In the first two experiments, a grain-grit discrimination task and a visual-acuity determination, stimuli were presented in the frontal binocular visual field. A third experiment investigated the early detection of slow moving objects, introduced into the monocular lateral visual field. After bilateral lesions in the nucleus isthmo-opticus (ION) and in the ectopic nucleus isthmo-opticus (EION), a multiple linear regression analysis was employed to correlate the postoperative performance in all three tasks with the amount of structure loss within ION and EION. Deficits in the grain-grit discrimination procedure were a function of the ION lesion extent and did not depend on EION damage. Thus, these two structures could be functionally differentiated for the first time. Neither the ION nor the EION seems to be involved in visual- acuity performance or the early detection of large shadows moving forward through the visual field. Our data support the hypothesis that the CVS is involved in pecking and food selection among static stimuli at a short viewing distance in ground-feeding birds such as pigeons and chickens.



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Visual-discrimination deficits after lesions of the centrifugal visual system in pigeons (Columba livia)

  • Uwe Hahmann (a1) and Onur Güntürkün (a1)


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