Pigeons use computers to prove intelligence - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Pigeons use computers to prove intelligence

Posted: Updated:
IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

A group of University of Iowa researchers have proved that pigeons may be capable of making highly intelligent choices with problem-solving skills to match.

The researchers submitted the pigeons to the "string task," a standard test of intelligence which attaches a treat to one of two strings and seeing if the participants can get that treat by pulling the correct string.

In this study, researchers at the University, led by Edward Wasserman, had the birds looking at a computer touch screen with square buttons connected to dishes that appeared to be full or empty. If the bird pecked the correct button on the screen, the food bowl would move closer until eventually, the bird would be presented with real food.

According to Wasserman, Stuit Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Iowa, the pigeons proved they could learn the task with a variety of different string layouts, including crossed strings, which are the most difficult to learn with real strings.

The researchers found the pigeons chose correctly between 74 percent and 90 percent of the time across 3 separate varieties of string tests.

The range of tests, as well as the pigeons' accuracy suggests the virtual string tests may be able to be used in place of conventional string experiments, and with other species.

You can see videos of the pigeons working the string task here.

  • NEWSNEWSMore>>

  • Toddler crashes Jeep, runs home to watch cartoons

    Toddler crashes Jeep, runs home to watch cartoons

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:08 AM EDT2014-07-28 11:08:14 GMT
    Police say a toddler crashed a Jeep into an Oregon home, then ran back to his home to watch cartoons.More >>
    Police say a toddler crashed a Jeep into an Oregon home, then ran back to his home to watch cartoons.More >>
  • Renters may have changes coming their way

    Renters may have changes coming their way

    Monday, July 28 2014 6:12 AM EDT2014-07-28 10:12:51 GMT
    The idea of living in a four-bedroom apartment with three unrelated roommates, may be coming to a stop in Cedar Falls. Task Force Member, Fred Abraham, has proposed the idea of reducing the maximum number of unrelated renters in a single-family home from four to three. He also think that any single family homes that are converted into rentals should either rent only to families or to no more than two unrelated people. His ideas behind these proposals is to reduce density and "preserve the cha...More >>
    The idea of living in a four-bedroom apartment with three unrelated roommates, may be coming to a stop in Cedar Falls. Task Force Member, Fred Abraham, has proposed the idea of reducing the maximum number of unrelated renters in a single-family home from four to three. He also think that any single family homes that are converted into rentals should either rent only to families or to no more than two unrelated people. His ideas behind these proposals is to reduce density and "preserve the cha...More >>
  • Goodwill closes one store, builds another

    Goodwill closes one store, builds another

    Monday, July 28 2014 4:27 AM EDT2014-07-28 08:27:14 GMT
    Goodwill Industries of Northeast Iowa plans to close its store in the Crossroads Center area, and build a new one.For the last 5-6 years Goodwill has been working towards getting away from leased facilities and towards owning their own facilities. The current store in one of the older units in the area, and is very dated, according to a Goodwill employee. There is also current concerns with security issues and safety problems. The store will be less square footage, but according to Chris Hars...More >>
    Goodwill Industries of Northeast Iowa plans to close its store in the Crossroads Center area, and build a new one.For the last 5-6 years Goodwill has been working towards getting away from leased facilities and towards owning their own facilities. The current store in one of the older units in the area, and is very dated, according to a Goodwill employee. There is also current concerns with security issues and safety problems. The store will be less square footage, but according to Chris Hars...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KWWL. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Sandy Youngblut at 319-291-1259. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.