01 September 2009

Everybody's A Critic

Shigeru Watanabe, a psychologist at Tokyo's Keio University, showed a series of children's paintings to pigeons. A panel of adults had already judged the paintings to be good or bad.

Then Watanabe used positive reinforceent to train the pigeons to distinguish between the "good" and "bad" paintings. Later he presented ten new paintings to the birds. Five of these works had been judged good by humans, five bad. The pigeons "recognized the good paintings as 'good' twice as often as they recognized the 'bad' paintings." Watanabe concluded that "pigeons are capable of learning the concept of a stimulus class that humans name 'good' pictures."

Source: 3 Quarks Daily

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