A transient time window for early predispositions in newborn chicks

Sci Rep. 2019 Dec 10;9(1):18767. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-55255-y.


Neonates of different species are born with a set of predispositions that influence their early orienting responses toward the first stimuli encountered in their life. Human neonates and domestic chicks exhibit several similarities in the predisposition for attending to objects that move with speed changes, face-like stimuli and biological motion. Although early predispositions are connected to physiological development, little is known on the temporal course of early predispositions (whether they are stable or change in time) and on the associated genetic variability. To address these issues, we tested the preference for objects that change in speed vs. linear motion in three chicken breeds (Padovana, Polverara and Robusta maculata) within one day after hatching and three days after hatching. We found that the predisposition to preferentially attend to changes in speed is shared by different breeds on the first day of life and that it disappears by day three. These results indicate the existence of a short and transient time window of early predispositions that does not depend on visual experience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chickens
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Cues*
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Models, Animal
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Time Factors