This PhD study challenges the traditional ‘stimulus-release’ model of social interaction. Animal social interactions are commonly described as a ‘chain of reciprocal signals’ where each signal is successively ‘released’ by stimuli present in the signal preceding it (Tinbergen). But, how is a signal’s outcome influenced by its dynamic relations to other behaviours in the chain? To study social interactivity, a closed-loop video interface was used to set up live social interaction between male and female pigeons (Columba livia). With this setup we were able to manipulate the dynamics of the interaction and study the role that social dynamics play in behaviour.
For more information about this project, as well as other exciting research about social perception and cognition, check out the BioMotion lab at biomotionlab.ca/