Thursday, February 22, 2007

Pigeons and humans recognize objects with a similar technique

Who woulda thunk?

DURHAM, N.H. -- Pigeons and humans use similar visual cues to identify objects, a finding that could have promising implications in the development of novel technologies, according to new research conducted by a University of New Hampshire professor.

Brett Gibson, an assistant professor of psychology who studies animal behavior, details his latest research in the journal article, “Non-accidental properties underlie shape recognition in mammalian and non-mammalian vision,” published [Wednesday] in Current Biology. Gibson and his colleagues found that humans and pigeons, which have different visual systems, have evolved to use similar techniques and information to recognize objects.

“Understanding how avian visual systems solve problems that require considerable computational prowess may lead to future technological advances, such as small visual prosthetics for the visually impaired, in the same way that understanding visual processing in honeybees has led to the development of flying robots and unmanned helicopters,” the researchers say.
Gibson's also studied navigation and memory in birds. He's currently investigating how Clark’s Nutcracker uses different types of spatial information to find food caches during winter.

Photo courtesy of University of New Hampshire

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