Meeting Abstract

62.3  Jan. 7  Error in Non-Human Animals: the Effects of Motivation and Distraction on Animal Performance HOFFMAN, AM*; TUTTLE, EM; Indiana State University; Indiana State University

In the everyday life of a human, mistakes are so common that they are reflected in numerous clichés and proverbs, and a large body of research exists on the subject of everyday memory failure. However, very little has been done to determine if animals other than humans are capable of making mistakes, and, if they are, to ascertain causes of those errors. Motivation and distraction are both known to impair performance in humans in predictable patterns. Our research seeks to determine if animals are subject to the same factors, and whether these disruptions affect humans and animals in a similar manner. We trained European starlings (Sturnus vulagaris) to perform a simple discrimination task on an electronic operant device/data logger. We then measured performance under varying levels of motivation (manipulated through food deprivation) and distraction (manipulated by adding noise and motion to the birds’ environments). Patterns of error and implications are discussed.