Pigeons' discrimination of Michotte's launching effect

Michael E. Young, Joshua S. Beckmann, Edward A. Wasserman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We trained four pigeons to discriminate a Michotte launching animation from three other animations using a go/no-go task. The pigeons received food for pecking at one of the animations, but not for pecking at the others. The four animations featured two types of interactions among objects: causal (direct launching) and noncausal (delayed, distal, and distal & delayed). Two pigeons were reinforced for pecking at the causal interaction, but not at the noncausal interactions; two other pigeons were reinforced for pecking at the distal & delayed interaction, but not at the other interactions. Both discriminations proved difficult for the pigeons to master; later tests suggested that the pigeons often learned the discriminations by attending to subtle stimulus properties other than the intended ones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-237
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Animated motion
  • Causation
  • Discrimination
  • Key peck
  • Michotte's launching effect
  • Pigeons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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