UMMS Affiliation

Shriver Center; Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; Columbidae; Conditioning, Operant; *Discrimination (Psychology); Pattern Recognition, Visual; Photic Stimulation; Reinforcement (Psychology)


Experimental Analysis of Behavior | Mental and Social Health | Neuroscience and Neurobiology | Psychiatry and Psychology


A go/no-go procedure with compound stimuli typically establishes emergent behavior that parallels in structure and typical outcome that of conventional tests for symmetric, transitive, and equivalence relations in normally capable adults. The present study employed a go/no-go compound stimulus procedure with pigeons. During training, pecks to two-component compounds A1B1, A2B2, B1C1, and B2C2 were followed by food. Pecks to compounds A1B2, A2B1, B1C2, and B2C1 re-started the 30-s stimulus presentation interval. The absence of pecking to those compounds for 30 s ended the trial. Subsequent tests presented these components in new spatial arrangements and/or in recombinative compounds that together corresponded to conventional tests of symmetry, transitivity, and equivalence: B1A1, B2A2, C1B1, C2B2, A1C1, A2C2, C1A1, C2A2 vs. B1A2, B2A1, C1B2, C2B1, A1C2, A2C1, C1A2, C2A1 (positive vs. negative instances of symmetric, transitive, and equivalence relations). On tests for symmetric relations, all pigeons behaved in a manner consistent with training on both positive instances (i.e., by responding) and on negative instances (i.e., by not responding). By contrast, the pigeons' behavior on tests for transitivity and equivalence was inconsistent with baseline training, thus failing to show the recombinative discrimination performance that is typical of normally capable humans when trained and tested using the go/no-go procedure with compound stimuli.

DOI of Published Version



Campos HC, Debert P, da Silva Barros R, McIlvane WJ. Relational discrimination by pigeons in a go/no-go procedure with compound stimuli: a methodological note. J Exp Anal Behav. 2011 Nov;96(3):417-26. doi: 10.1901/jeab.2011.96-413. PubMed PMID: 22084498; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3213004. Link to article on publisher's website

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of the experimental analysis of behavior

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID