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Learning & Behavior

Danielle M Andrews, Thomas R Zentall
Animals are expected to minimize time and effort to reinforcement. Thus, not pecking should be preferred over pecking. However, even if time is held constant, pigeons often peck when it is allowed but not required (e.g., fixed time schedules), but with such schedules pecking may be adventitiously reinforced. In the present experiment, to better compare a schedule of reinforcement that requires pecking with one that requires the absence of pecking, we compared a modified fixed-interval (FI) schedule in which reinforcement follows the first peck after the interval has elapsed and a differential-reinforcement-of-other behavior (DRO) schedule, which requires pigeons to abstain from pecking for a similar interval...
November 12, 2018: Learning & Behavior
Cody W Polack, Ralph R Miller
Exposure to a set of complex stimuli yields an enhanced ability to discriminate between these stimuli. In previous experimental studies, two distinguishable stimuli, X and A, were each repeatedly paired with a common Stimulus B to create compound Stimuli XB and AB. Prior evidence suggests that unique Features X and A form mutually inhibitory associations. This was evidenced by pairing Feature A with a biologically relevant stimulus (i.e., an unconditioned stimulus [US]) and observing that Stimulus X alone later serves to inhibit anticipatory behaviors for that US...
November 12, 2018: Learning & Behavior
Julia Belger, Juliane Bräuer
In the current study, we investigated the question of whether dogs were sensitive to the information that they themselves had or had not acquired. For this purpose, we conducted three consecutive experiments in which dogs had to find a reward that was hidden behind one of two V-shaped fences with a gap at the point of the V. This setup allowed us to distinguish between selecting one of the fences by walking around it and seeking additional information by checking through the gap in the fence. We varied whether dogs had visual access to the baiting procedure or not...
November 12, 2018: Learning & Behavior
Enrique Morillas, Felisa González, Geoffrey Hall
In two experiments, rats received pairings of an almond flavor (Experiments 1 and 2B) or a vanilla flavor (Experiment 2A) with sucrose. In each experiment, half of the rats received prior exposure to the flavor and half were exposed to water. Conditioned preference was then assessed through two-bottle, flavor versus water, choice tests. Latent inhibition (indicated by a weaker preference in pre-exposed subjects) was observed in the experiment using the vanilla flavor. However, facilitation (a stronger preference in pre-exposed subjects) instead of latent inhibition was evident with the almond flavor, both across acquisition trials and in the final choice test...
November 12, 2018: Learning & Behavior
Andie M Thompkins, Bhavitha Ramaiahgari, Sinan Zhao, Sai Sheshan Roy Gotoor, Paul Waggoner, Thomas S Denney, Gopikrishna Deshpande, Jeffrey S Katz
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has emerged as a viable method to study the neural processing underlying cognition in awake dogs. Working dogs were presented with pictures of dog and human faces. The human faces varied in familiarity (familiar trainers and unfamiliar individuals) and emotional valence (negative, neutral, and positive). Dog faces were familiar (kennel mates) or unfamiliar. The findings revealed adjacent but separate brain areas in the left temporal cortex for processing human and dog faces in the dog brain...
October 22, 2018: Learning & Behavior
V D Chamizo, M N Torres, C A Rodríguez, N J Mackintosh
In three experiments, rats of different ages were trained in a circular pool to find a hidden platform whose location was defined in terms of a single landmark, a cylinder outside the pool. Following training, two main components of the landmark, its shape and pattern, were tested individually. Experiment 1 was performed by adolescent and adult rats (Exp. 1a, males; Exp. 1b, females). Adult rats always learned faster than the adolescent animals. On test trials, interesting tendencies were found-mainly, one favoring males on the shape test trial, and another favoring females on the pattern test trial...
October 22, 2018: Learning & Behavior
Federica Amici
Proops, Grounds, Smith, and McComb (2018) suggest that horses remember previous emotional expressions of specific humans, and use these memories to adjust their behavior in future social interactions. Despite some methodological shortcomings, this study raises important questions on the complexity of social interactions in nonhuman animals, which surely deserve further attention.
October 18, 2018: Learning & Behavior
Mihaela D Iordanova
Fine-tuning and coordinating neural activity is essential for an efficient brain. Athalye and colleagues (2018) provide important evidence that neural patterns can be streamlined by inducing dopamine transients.
October 18, 2018: Learning & Behavior
Sara Cordes
Across three elegant experiments, Howard, Avarguès-Weber, Garcia, Greentree, & Dyer (2018) demonstrate that honey bees spontaneously generalize an ordinal rule to empty sets, treating zero as less than other whole numbers. Their findings provide strong evidence that bees have a nonsymbolic concept of zero similar to that found in monkeys and human children, suggesting that this capacity may have important evolutionary significance.
October 15, 2018: Learning & Behavior
Jeffrey S Katz, Ludwig Huber
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
October 5, 2018: Learning & Behavior
Edward A Wasserman
Procrastination is a familiar and widely discussed proclivity: postponing tasks that can be done earlier. Precrastination is a lesser known and explored tendency: completing tasks quickly just to get them done sooner. Recent research suggests that precrastination may represent an important penchant that can be observed in both people and animals. This paper reviews evidence concerned with precrastination and connects that evidence with a long history of interest in anticipatory learning, distance reception, and brain evolution...
September 27, 2018: Learning & Behavior
Enikő Kovács, András Kosztolányi, Anna Kis
Dogs (Canis familiaris) are excellent models of human behavior as during domestication they have adapted to the same environment as humans. There have been many comparative studies on dog behavior; however, several easily measurable and analyzable psychophysiological variables that are widely used in humans are still largely unexplored in dogs. One such measure is rapid eye movement density (REMD) during REM sleep. The aim of this study was to test the viability of measuring REMD in dogs and to explore the relationship between the REMD and different variables (sex, age, body size, and REM sleep duration)...
September 27, 2018: Learning & Behavior
Caroline M DeLong, Catina Wright, Irene Fobe, Kenneth Tyler Wilcox, Evan Morrison
We investigated the ability of North American river otters (Lontra canadensis) to visually discriminate between 2D objects. The otters learned to discriminate between stimuli using multiple visual features and then were tested with stimuli in which one of the features was eliminated (color or shape). Two adult otters were trained in a two-alternative forced choice task to discriminate between a red circle and a blue triangle. Test sessions included probe trials containing novel shapes, colors, or shape-color combinations...
September 24, 2018: Learning & Behavior
Candice Dwyer, Mark R Cole
There is abundant evidence that domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) readily follow pointing and other cues given by humans. But there has been much less research into the question of whether dogs can learn to discriminate between different humans giving repeated honest or dishonest cues as to food location, by ignoring the information imparted by the deceiver. Prior research has demonstrated that even after repeated exposures to deceptive cues with respect to food location, dogs failed to learn to ignore those cues completely...
September 24, 2018: Learning & Behavior
Stephen E G Lea, Britta Osthaus
The great increase in the study of dog cognition in the current century has yielded insights into canine cognition in a variety of domains. In this review, we seek to place our enhanced understanding of canine cognition into context. We argue that in order to assess dog cognition, we need to regard dogs from three different perspectives: phylogenetically, as carnivoran and specifically a canid; ecologically, as social, cursorial hunters; and anthropogenically, as a domestic animal. A principled understanding of canine cognition should therefore involve comparing dogs' cognition with that of other carnivorans, other social hunters, and other domestic animals...
September 24, 2018: Learning & Behavior
Patrizia Piotti, Dóra Szabó, Zsófia Bognár, Anna Egerer, Petrouchka Hulsbosch, Rachel Sophia Carson, Enikő Kubinyi
Several studies on age-related cognitive decline in dogs involve laboratory dogs and prolonged training. We developed two spatial tasks that required a single 1-h session. We tested 107 medium-large sized dogs: "young" (N=41, aged 2.5-6.5 years) and "old" (N=66, aged 8-14.5 years). Our results indicated that, in a discrimination learning task and in a reversal learning task, young dogs learned significantly faster than the old dogs, indicating that these two tasks could successfully be used to investigate differences in spatial learning between young and old dogs...
September 24, 2018: Learning & Behavior
Alizée A A Vernouillet, Laura R Stiles, J Andrew McCausland, Debbie M Kelly
Inhibitory control, the ability to restrain a prepotent but ineffective response in a given context, is thought to be indicative of a species' cognitive abilities. This ability ranges from "basic" motoric self-regulation to more complex abilities such as self-control. During the current study, we investigated the motoric self-regulatory abilities of 30 pet dogs using four well-established cognitive tasks - the A-not-B Bucket task, the Cylinder task, the Detour task, and the A-not-B Barrier task - administered in a consistent context...
September 24, 2018: Learning & Behavior
Jingzhi Tan, Kara K Walker, Katherine Hoff, Brian Hare
Dogs live in the dynamic human social networks full of strangers, yet they form strong and selective bonds with familiar caretakers. Little is known about how a bond is initially formed between a dog and a complete stranger. The first-impression hypothesis suggests that interacting with strangers can present an opportunity to form a mutualistic partnership. It predicts that dogs should respond positively toward a complete stranger to facilitate bonding (Prediction 1) and adjust their preferences in response to the perceived risk and benefit of interacting with strangers (Prediction 2)...
September 20, 2018: Learning & Behavior
Chana K Akins
Social learning has a large impact on fitness by reducing the costs and dangers associated with independent learning but little research has been conducted to investigate the ontogeny or individual development of this type of learning. Recent research indicated that puppies demonstrate social learning to both conspecific and human demonstrators, but were also more likely to learn better from an unfamiliar conspecific compared to their mother.
September 17, 2018: Learning & Behavior
Alan B Bond
The snake alarm call of Japanese tits prompts nesting adults to search for and mob the reptile until it is driven away. From playback experiments, Suzuki (2018) has inferred that the call provides an associative cue, evoking a searching image of the salient visual features of the predator-a novel approach to exploring visual attention and vocal communication in the wild.
September 17, 2018: Learning & Behavior
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