Recent research supports a significant role for prenatal sensory experience in the development of lateralized postnatal visual discrimination in birds, but little is known about its potential effect on the development of lateralized postnatal motor behaviors. Therefore, the present study examined the effects of prenatal visual experience on the development of spatial turning bias in domestic chicks. Control tests with maternally naive, domestic chicks in a standard T maze revealed a left-side turning bias in 90% of subjects. Such large population biases are considered unusual in nonhuman species. Chicks were exposed to one of three prenatal conditions: both eye systems exposed to enhanced visual experience, right-eye system exposed/left-eye system occluded, or left-eye system exposed/right-eye system occluded. Results revealed a significant lack of population turning bias in all experimental subjects except those that received right eye stimulation prenatally. These results suggest that unilateral prenatal visual experience to the right eye/left hemisphere is a significant contributor to the lateralization process in domestic chicks.
Casey, Michael B. and Karpinski, Stephanie
"The Development of Postnatal Turning Bias is Influenced by Prenatal Visual Experience in Domestic Chicks (Gallus gallus),"
The Psychological Record: Vol. 49
, Article 5.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol49/iss1/5