Transfer of stimulus control from a TFT to CRT screen

Behav Processes. 2010 Oct;85(2):111-5. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2010.06.013. Epub 2010 Jun 30.


The use of television and computer screens for presenting stimuli to animals is increasing as it is non-invasive and can provide precise control over stimuli. Past studies have used cathode ray tube (CRT) screens; however, there is some evidence that these give different results to non-flickering thin film transistor (TFT) screens. Hens' critical flicker fusion frequency ranges between 80 and 90 Hz--above standard CRT screens. Thus, stimuli presented on CRT screens may appear distorted to hens. This study aimed to investigate whether changing the flicker rate of CRT screens altered hens' discrimination. Hens were trained (in a conditional discrimination) to discriminate between two stimuli on a TFT (flickerless) screen, and tested with the stimuli on a CRT screen at four flicker rates (60, 75, 85, and 100 Hz). The hens' accuracy generally decreased as the refresh rate of the CRT screen decreased. These results imply that the change in flicker rate changed the appearance of the stimuli enough to affect the hens' discrimination and stimulus control is disrupted when the stimuli appear to flicker.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cathode Ray Tube*
  • Chickens
  • Color
  • Computers
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology
  • Discrimination, Psychological
  • Female
  • Form Perception / physiology*
  • Generalization, Stimulus
  • Photic Stimulation / methods*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology