Title page for ETD etd-06122012-040034

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Virkar, Pratima
URN etd-06122012-040034
Title Auditory and visual determinants of maternal preference in bobwhite quail neonates
Degree Master of Science
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Lickliter, Robert E. Committee Chair
Franchina, Joseph J. Committee Member
Zeskind, Philip Sanford Committee Member
  • Postnatal care
Date of Defense 1988-12-15
Availability restricted
Imprinting studies have traditionally stressed the importance of

visual features in the formation of early postnatal attachments.

However, recent studies by Johnston & Gottlieb (1981, 1985) have

demonstrated that visually imprinted preferences can be altered by

the maternal call. Thus, in the present study the interaction between

natural visual and auditory stimulation in the control of filial behavior

was examined in bobwhite quail chicks during the first 4 days of

postnatal life.

Previous research has revealed that bobwhite quail hatchlings

are differentially responsive to their species-specific maternal call in

the period right before and immediately following hatching (Heaton,

Miller & Goodwin, 1978). Results from this study indicate that quail

chicks begin to lose this naive preference for their maternal call over a

non-conspecific call (a domestic chicken maternal call) by 72 hrs

following hatch, and do not respond to either the bobwhite call or

chicken call by 96 hrs following hatch. However, differential

responsiveness to the bobwhite call can be reinstated in bobwhite

chicks at 72 hrs and 96 firs following hatching if the birds are provided with integrated audiovisual stimulation (i.e., a quail hen model emitting

the maternal call). These results suggest that in the initial stages of

postnatal development, species identification in bobwhite quail is based

primarily on the auditory component of maternal stimulation. Later in

development, combined auditory and visual stimulation appears

necessary to control species-specific filial behavior despite the fact that

auditory cues remain dominant over visual cues.

These findings conform well to what is known about the

neuroembryological development of sensory systems, in that the

auditory system of birds (and mammals) develops in advance of the

visual system. This prenatal sequence of sensory system development

appears to influence the sequence of early postnatal perceptual

preferences in precocial avian neonates.

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