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Genetic Influences and Genotype-Environment Interactions in Perceptual Imprinting

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Genetic influences and genotype-environment interactions were studied in two behaviour-genetic experiments dealing with early visual preferences and perceptual imprinting in quail chicks (C. coturnix japonica). The following interrelated areas were examined : (a) genetic sources of individual variations in unconditional preferences between stimuli in visually naive subjects; (b) interaction between genetically influenced preference values and imprinting effects of stimuli; and (c) genetic sources of individual variations in the outcome of perceptual imprinting to particular stimuli. Data relating to points a and b were collected in experiments with subjects that were genetically selected for unconditional colour choices. These experiments indicated that substantial portions of individual variations in the quail's unconditional colour preferences are genetic in origin, and revealed additive interaction between unconditional and acquired colour preferences. Data in point c were collected from subjects that were genetically selected for the imprinting effects of the same coloured stimuli used in the experiments under points a and b. This experiment indicated genetic influences in the variations of perceptual imprinting. Comparing hybrid data from the two selection experiments identified two apparently independent areas of genetic influences in the outcome of perceptual imprinting: These were (1) gene effects in stimulus specific, additive interactions between unconditional and imprinted response tendencies; and (2) gene effects in stimulus general processes of learning in perceptual imprinting.

Affiliations: 1: Research Department, The Menninger Foundation, Topeka, Kansas, U.S.A.


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