Evidence for perceptual neglect of environmental features in hippocampal-lesioned pigeons during homing

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2014
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Gagliardo, Anna
Pollonara, Enrica
Coppola, Vincent J.
Santos, Carlos D.
Bingman, Verner P.
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The importance of the vertebrate hippocampus in spatial cognition is often related to its broad role in memory. However, in birds, the hippocampus appears to be more specifically involved in spatial processes. The maturing of GPS-tracking technology has enabled a revolution in navigation research, including the expanded possibility of studying brain mechanisms that guide navigation in the field. By GPS-tracking homing pigeons released from distant, unfamiliar sites prior to and after hippocampal lesion, we observed, as has been reported previously, impaired navigational performance post-lesion over the familiar/memorized space near the home loft, where topographic features constitute an important source of navigational information. The GPS-tracking revealed that many of the lost pigeons, when lesioned, approached the home area, but nevertheless failed to locate their loft. Unexpectedly, when they were hippocampal-lesioned, the pigeons showed a notable change in their behaviour when navigating over the unfamiliar space distant from home; they actually flew straighter homeward-directed paths than they did pre-lesion. The data are consistent with the hypothesis that, following hippocampal lesion, homing pigeons respond less to unfamiliar visual, topographic features encountered during homing, and, as such, offer the first evidence for an unforeseen, perceptual neglect of environmental features following hippocampal damage.

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570 Biowissenschaften, Biologie
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Columba livia, hippocampus, navigation, spatial cognition
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ISO 690GAGLIARDO, Anna, Enrica POLLONARA, Vincent J. COPPOLA, Carlos D. SANTOS, Martin WIKELSKI, Verner P. BINGMAN, 2014. Evidence for perceptual neglect of environmental features in hippocampal-lesioned pigeons during homing. In: European Journal of Neuroscience. 2014, 40(7), pp. 3102-3110. ISSN 0953-816X. eISSN 1460-9568. Available under: doi: 10.1111/ejn.12680
BibTex
@article{Gagliardo2014Evide-29310,
  year={2014},
  doi={10.1111/ejn.12680},
  title={Evidence for perceptual neglect of environmental features in hippocampal-lesioned pigeons during homing},
  number={7},
  volume={40},
  issn={0953-816X},
  journal={European Journal of Neuroscience},
  pages={3102--3110},
  author={Gagliardo, Anna and Pollonara, Enrica and Coppola, Vincent J. and Santos, Carlos D. and Wikelski, Martin and Bingman, Verner P.}
}
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