The adaptive analysis of visual cognition using genetic algorithms.
Cook, Robert G.
Qadri, Muhammad A.
- Two experiments used a novel, open-ended, and adaptive test procedure to examine visual cognition in animals. Using a genetic algorithm, a pigeon was tested repeatedly from a variety of different initial conditions for its solution to an intermediate brightness search task. On each trial, the animal had to accurately locate and peck a target element of intermediate brightness from among a variable... read morenumber of surrounding darker and lighter distractor elements. Displays were generated from 6 parametric variables, or genes (distractor number, element size, shape, spacing, target brightness, and distractor brightness) Display composition changed over time, or evolved, as a function of the bird's differential accuracy within the population of values for each gene. Testing 3 randomized initial conditions and 1 set of controlled initial conditions, element size and number of distractors were identified as the most important factors controlling search accuracy, with distractor brightness, element shape, and spacing making secondary contributions. The resulting changes in this multidimensional stimulus space suggested the existence of a set of conditions that the bird repeatedly converged upon regardless of initial conditions. This psychological "attractor" represents the cumulative action of the cognitive operations used by the pigeon in solving and performing this search task. The results are discussed regarding their implications for visual cognition in pigeons and the usefulness of adaptive, subject-driven experimentation for investigating human and animal cognition more generally. ©American Psychological Association, 2013. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0034074.read less
- Cook, R. G., & Qadri, M. A. J. (2013). The adaptive analysis of visual cognition using genetic algorithms. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 39(4), 357-376. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0034074.