Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?

Pigeons smarter than people?


17bImagine you are a contestant in a “Let’s make a deal” game. There are 3 doors to choose from: yellow, blue, and red. You choose the yellow door.

One of the doors you didn’t pick is opened, let’s say the red door, to reveal no prize.

You now have a choice. Stick with yellow? Or swap for the blue door?

It seems counter-intuitive but switching doors doubles your chance of winning.

Researchers in America found that humans rarely changed their minds – even after they had been trained and given explanations – and therefore performed poorly, whereas pigeons learned to adopt this strategy to optimise their “winnings”. (Journal of Comparative Psychology Vol 124 No 1)

Originally posted May 28 2010


Author: mikethepsych

He says he's a psychologist but aren't we all?

14 thoughts on “Pigeons smarter than people?

  1. Pingback: Drug carrier pigeons too loaded to fly « Mike the Psych's Blog

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  3. I think I know a dark haired woman with a huge Gucci handbag………….but I am sure she is not a fifa!

  4. Not necessarily…. dark haired women can also be “fyfas”….. But if those two features meet in one person…… OMG

  5. I have a confession to make….. I did not believe you at the beginning about the “blondes day”, so I checked the all knowing google.com….. So, first of all – my apologies.
    And then I think those women in Latvia are missing the point. Being “blondinė” is not a matter of hair colour, it is a state of mind. By that women who are not considered blondes because of their hair colour can be (and often are) called “blondinė”….

    • Thank you for your apology. You know you can trust me: first, I read it on the BBC web-site and secondly, I’m a psychologist!

      And as for being a true blonde I understand. Anyone can have a blonde moment!

      • If a woman is a “blondine” does it also mean she is a “fifa”?

      • The President of the Latvian Association of Blondes, Marika Gederte, said; ” I asked what can I do for my country? And this is what we did. I am very proud to be blonde”. Latvia has Europe’s highest unemployment rates and she wanted to do something to cheer people up. Sounds good to me, very public spirited.

  6. What are you saying about blondes?

    • Oh, I am just conveying the wisdom of folk…I am not sure however if their research methods were reliable and valid enough….. But well, it did make you smile, didn’t it?

      • And in Latvia on 29 May they celebrate “blondes day” to make people happy. Blondines dressed in pink with high heels, Marilyn Monroe look-a-likes etc. Perhaps you could organise something similar but with racing pigeons?

  7. Q:What happens when you put a brain of a “blondinė” to a skull of a pigeon ?
    A: A rattle…..

  8. I wonder how many pigeons this psychologist researcher interviewed as part of his (it could only be a man) qualititive research……………”there were two psychologists having a pee……..” – sorry I must stop this.

    • Mr G you are so sceptical. There were two researchers – one male (Walter Herbranson) and one female (Julia Schroeder) – and there were multiple trials of pigeons so probably more than one.