Deeper understanding of the neuronal basis of behavior and its evolution requires investigation of model organisms taken from different taxonomic groups. The merits of this comparative approach are highlighted by research on birds: while their cognitive capacities have long been underestimated, research on avian model systems more recently has begun to provide central insights into the functional organization of the brain. In particular, domesticated homing pigeons (Columba livia) have been used as a model for the study of the psychological processes underlying learning, memory, and choice behavior, and much of current animal learning theory is based on findings with pigeons. Moreover, the vast amount of available behavioral and anatomical data has rendered the pigeon one of the key model species of behavioral and comparative neuroscience. This article illustrates some insights gained from research with pigeons with applicability beyond the class of aves.
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Neuroforum publishes invited review articles from all areas in neuroscience. The readership includes besides basic and medical neuroscientists, practicing physicians, school teachers, students and journalists. Besides the review articles, Neuroforum publishes short reports on new methods and developments in neurosciences, on research institutes, research groups and programs, book reviews and the newsletter of the German Neuroscience Society.