Route selection by pigeons (Columba livia) in "Traveling salesperson" navigation tasks presented on an LCD screen

Hiromitsu Miyata*, Kazuo Fujita

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Navigation tasks using the " traveling salesperson problem (TSP)" were presented to pigeons (Columba livia) to determine their strategy on spatial tasks with 2 to 3 goals. In Experiment 1, a simple TSP task with 2 goals was presented. In Experiment 2, 3 goals were presented so that each of the goals and the starting location of the target held each corner of a square. In Experiment 3, 3 goals were aligned along a straight line. In Experiment 4, 3 goals were placed so that the 2 of them were in close proximity to each other to form a group. In all of these experiments, the pigeons showed tendencies to visit the nearest goal first, which may suggest that the pigeons mainly used local or inflexible strategies in determining the routes to take. However, further evidence was also found that in Experiment 2, the pigeons frequently selected routes with short traveling distances while traveling either counterclockwise or clockwise, not necessarily relying on the " nearest neighbor" algorithm. Results from these experiments are discussed in relation to the pigeons' foraging ecology and adaptation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-446
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Nov
Externally publishedYes


  • LCD screen
  • Navigation
  • Pigeon
  • Route selection
  • Traveling salesperson problem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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