Early colour deprivation in the pigeon

Behav Brain Res. 1983 Jun;8(3):343-50. doi: 10.1016/0166-4328(83)90179-1.


When cats and monkeys are deprived of specific stimuli during an early sensitive period the development of their visual system is known to be affected. In pigeons, pattern discrimination learning has been shown to be affected by monocular deprivation [2]. Our study was set up to examine whether colour discrimination learning could be affected by colour deprivation. Young pigeons were reared under restricted colour illumination for at least 3 months after hatching so as to obtain a group bred under red illumination, one bred under blue illumination and a control group. After this period several psychophysical tests were used to test the pigeons' sense of colour. No significant difference was found between the 'deprived' birds and the controls. The spectral sensitivity, determined with the help of the ERG, did not differ for the three groups. We conclude that early colour deprivation does not affect visual development in the pigeon.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Color Perception / physiology*
  • Columbidae
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology
  • Electroretinography
  • Retina / physiology
  • Sensory Deprivation / physiology*