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April Sci Cafe - Dr. Meghan Kahn and "Learning & Memory in Homing Pigeons"

Join us for April Science Cafe featuring Dr. Meghan Kahn and her talk "Olfactory Learning and Memory in Homing Pigeons".

The Schedule

Arrive any time after 6:30. Eat and chat between 7:00 and 8:00. The presentation will begin at 8:00.

You are welcome to come just for the presentation, but if you intend to eat, please arrive and place your order by 7:10. After the presentation we will draw names for door prizes. As always, we will pass the collection box at the end of the meeting to collect $2 per person to cover expenses.

The Venue

We will be UPSTAIRS on the second floor in Patrick O'Shea's Loft 123. Patrick O'Shea's is downtown on Main St., on historic Whiskey Row, between 1st and 2nd. It is a block from the Yum! Center, and three doors down from Bearno's by the Bridge.

There is $5 parking in a lot on the corner of 2nd and Main, and at the Marriott garage. Your best bet may be street parking, which is free after 6 pm.

The Presentation

"Olfactory Learning and Memory in Homing Pigeons"

We often overlook the importance of our sense of smell, but recent research suggests that odors may be particularly important for remembering. This research has investigated the role of smells in pigeons’ memories for locations, particularly in comparison to visual cues. Despite the belief that pigeons, like people, rely predominantly on visual  cues, pigeons learned to use odor cues faster than visual cues and made more correct choices when visual cues were available. These results add to growing evidence that the sense of smell plays an important role in cognitive processing.

The Guest Speaker

Dr. Meghan Kahn obtained her Ph.D. in experimental psychology with a concentration in behavioral neuroscience from Bowling Green State University in 2009. Since that time, she has been teaching experimental psychology at Indiana University Southeast and continuing research on learning and memory in the homing pigeon. Some of her work has investigated lateralization in the pigeon brain, hippocampal involvement in goal location learning, and conditional discrimination in pigeons.

She says, "My research interests are focused on a desire to understand what happens in the brain when animals learn. Specifically, I attempt to understand the relationship between specific brain areas and the types of learning that animals are particularly good at. For that reason, I study spatial learning and memory in homing pigeons, birds that are known for their amazing abilities to return to a home loft even after being displaced miles from home. While it may seem odd for a psychologist to study birds, my research has shown me how much an understanding of memory in homing pigeons can lead to a better understanding of memory in people."

See you there!



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  • Laurie

    Dr. Kahn's presentation was delightful! She shared many insights into the neuroscience of the brain, whether you are a pigeon or not!

    April 10, 2013

  • DragonRider

    I work 2nd shift now, so I am not able to attend weeknight events. Sorry.

    April 3, 2013

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