A neuroethological approach to hamster vision

Barbara L. Finlay*, Dale R. Sengelaub, Anne T. Berg, Sara J. Cairns

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The contributions of the midbrain optic tectum to visuomotor behaviors likely to be important to hamsters in the wild were studied, including aperture detection, insect catching, and barrier avoidance. Following tectal undercuts, hamsters ceased to make direct approaches to apertures in the posterior 180° of the visual field; this appeared to be mediated by a loss of exploratory or scanning head movements. Reorientation to and pursuit of crickets jumping out of grasp into the visual periphery was impaired, though initial approach to them was not. Barrier avoidance was unaffected by tectal undercuts. This pattern is similar to the contribution of the frog and toad optic tectum to analogous visuomotor tasks. The contribution of the tectum to searching and scanning in the hamster is an extension of the basic orienting capabilities dependent on optic tectum in anurans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-496
Number of pages18
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1980


  • hamster
  • neuroethology
  • optic tectum
  • vision
  • visuomotor behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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