The effects of augmented prenatal visual stimulation on postnatal perceptual responsiveness in Bobwhite quail

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Virginia Tech


The present study examined whether previously reported effects of altered prenatal sensory experience on the subsequent acceleration of intersensory functions are mediated by mechanisms sensitive to the overall amount of stimulation. Results reveal that chicks exposed to augmented amounts of prenatal visual stimulation show interference in subsequent species-typical perceptual development. Specifically, chicks continued to respond to maternal auditory cues into later stages of postnatal development and failed to respond to maternal visual cues at the age when normally reared chicks to exhibit this species-specific ability. Embryos in this study also failed to demonstrate early auditory learning of an individual maternal call, a behavior reliably seen in unmanipulated embryos. These findings suggest that substantially increased amounts of visual stimulation appear to prevent the emergence of species-typical patterns of intersensory functioning and lend support to the notion that stimulation that falls within some optimal range seems to maintain or facilitate normal patterns of perceptual functioning, while stimulation beyond the range of the species norm appears to result in intersensory interference.