Intersensory redundancy facilitates prenatal perceptual learning in bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) embryos.

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Information presented redundantly and in temporal synchrony across sensory modalities (intersensory redundancy) selectively recruits attention and facilitates perceptual learning in human infants. This comparative study examined whether intersensory redundancy also facilitates perceptual learning prenatally. The authors assessed quail (Colinus virginianus) embryos' ability to learn a maternal call when it was (a) unimodal, (b) concurrent but asynchronous with patterned light, or (c) redundant and synchronous with patterned light. Chicks' preference for the familiar over a novel maternal call was assessed 24 hr following hatching. Chicks receiving redundant, synchronous stimulation as embryos learned the call 4 times faster than those who received unimodal exposure. Chicks who received asynchronous bimodal stimulation showed no evidence of learning. These results provide the first evidence that embryos are sensitive to redundant, bimodal information and that it can facilitate learning during the prenatal period.



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