The Perception of Self in Birds

Abstract : The perception of self is an important topic in several disciplines such as ethology, behavioral ecology, psychology, developmental and cognitive neuroscience. Self-perception is investigated by experimentally exposing different species of animals to self-stimuli such as their own image, smell or vocalizations. Here we review more than one hundred studies using these methods in birds, a taxonomic group that exhibits a rich diversity regarding ecology and behavior. Exposure to self-image is the main method for studying self-recognition, while exposing birds to their own smell is generally used for the investigation of homing or odor-based kin discrimination. Self-produced vocalizations – especially in oscine songbirds – are used as stimuli for understanding the mechanisms of vocal coding/decoding both at the neural and at the behavioral levels. With this review, we highlight the necessity to study the perception of self in animals cross-modally and to consider the role of experience and development, aspects that can be easily monitored in captive populations of birds.
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Sébastien Derégnaucourt, Dalila Bovet. The Perception of Self in Birds. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, Elsevier, 2016, 69, pp.1-14. ⟨10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.06.039⟩. ⟨hal-01478442⟩

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