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Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition

Charles Locurto, Alexandra Eckert, Julia Gould, Daniel McMaster, Matthew Morrow
Two experiments used a methodology in which elements in a serially presented sequence of 5 elements were randomly reinforced during training. To assess what was learned, elements were systematically swapped with each other during testing. The usual outcome measures in implicit sequence learning of this type are either a random test in which elements are disarrayed, or pairwise tests in which subjects choose between two elements. Each of these methods possesses shortcomings. The random test is a blunt measure, whereas pairwise tests disrupt the usual flow of elements in a serial sequence...
March 5, 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Hayden MacDonald, William A Roberts
Evidence is reported showing that pigeons flexibly use temporal and contextual cues to maximize reward obtained in a midsession reversal task. Pigeons were trained to choose between red and green sidekeys for 60 trials in a session, with choice of one color correct on Trials 1-30 and choice of the other color correct on Trials 31-60 (midsession reversal). Pigeons showed anticipatory errors before reversal and perseverative errors after reversal, and manipulations of the length of the intertrial interval and the point of reversal suggested that pigeons used an internal timer to track the point of reversal...
February 22, 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Kent D Bodily, D Gregory Sullens, Spencer J Price, Bradley R Sturz
Determination of a direction of travel is a necessary component of successful navigation, and various species appear to use the geometric shape (global geometric cues) of an environment to determine direction. Yet, debate remains concerning which objective shape parameter is responsible for spatial reorientation via global geometric cues. For example, the principal axis of space, which runs through the centroid and approximate length of the space, and the medial axis of space, a trunk and branch system that fills the shape, have each been suggested as a basis to explain global spatial reorientation...
February 19, 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Noam Miller
Social learning is often considered different from asocial learning in both its characteristics and mechanisms. I presented pigeons with a concurrent discrimination task in which they received artificial social information, consisting of simple shapes that distributed themselves between two options similarly to how conspecifics might. Subjects in some conditions combined personal information about the two options with this social-like information, but subjects in conditions in which personal information was very reliable ignored the social cues, much like cases in which animals only choose to copy choices of others under certain conditions...
February 19, 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Christina Meier, Stephen E G Lea, Ian P L McLaren
In human participants, 2 paradigms commonly assumed to measure the executive-control processes involved in response inhibition are the stop-signal and change-signal tasks. There is, however, also considerable evidence that performance in these tasks can be mediated by associative processes. To assess which components of inhibitory response control might be associative, we developed analogues of these tasks for pigeons. We trained pigeons to peck quickly at 1 of 2 keys of different colors to obtain a food reward...
January 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Michael D Kendig, Robert A Boakes, Laura H Corbit
Cue-potentiated feeding (CPF) describes the stimulation of food consumption by cues that have become associated with food. Determining under what Conditions CPF occurs is important to better understand how exposure to food cues contributes to overeating. CPF is typically found to be specific: cues enhance consumption only of the food they have signaled. Further, previous research has focused largely on discrete cues rather than multimodal cues such as a feeding environment. The present experiments paired a "Plus" context with highly palatable food and a "Minus" context with no food or chow in adult female rats...
January 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Nicola C Byrom, Robin A Murphy
Individual differences in behavior are understood generally as arising from an interaction between genes and environment, omitting a crucial component. The literature on animal and human learning suggests the need to posit principles of learning to explain our differences. One of the challenges for the advancement of the field has been to establish how general principles of learning can explain the almost infinite variation in behavior. We present a case that: (a) individual differences in behavior emerge, in part, from principles of learning; (b) associations provide a descriptive mechanism for understanding the contribution of experience to behavior; and (c) learning theories explain dissociable aspects of behavior...
January 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Justin A Harris, Dorothy W S Kwok
During magazine approach conditioning, rats do not discriminate between a conditional stimulus (CS) that is consistently reinforced with food and a CS that is occasionally (partially) reinforced, as long as the CSs have the same overall reinforcement rate per second. This implies that rats are indifferent to the probability of reinforcement per trial. However, in the same rats, the per-trial reinforcement rate will affect subsequent extinction-responding extinguishes more rapidly for a CS that was consistently reinforced than for a partially reinforced CS...
January 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Paul J Cunningham, Timothy A Shahan
Suboptimal choice refers to preference for an alternative offering a low probability of food (suboptimal alternative) over an alternative offering a higher probability of food (optimal alternative). Numerous studies have found that stimuli signaling probabilistic food play a critical role in the development and maintenance of suboptimal choice. However, there is still much debate about how to characterize how these stimuli influence suboptimal choice. There is substantial evidence that the temporal information conveyed by a food-predictive signal governs its function as both a Pavlovian conditioned stimulus and as an instrumental conditioned reinforcer...
January 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Susana Maia, Françoise Lefèvre, Jérémie Jozefowiez
Allan and collaborators (Allan, Hannah, Crump, & Siegel, 2008; Allan, Siegel, & Tangen, 2005; Siegel, Allan, Hannah, & Crump, 2009) recently proposed to apply signal detection theory to the analysis of contingency judgment tasks. When exposed to a flow of stimuli, participants are asked to judge whether there is a contingent relation between a cue and an outcome, that is, whether the subjective cue-outcome contingency exceeds a decision threshold. In this context, we tested the following hypotheses regarding the relation between objective and subjective cue-outcome contingency: (a) The underlying distributions of subjective cue-outcome contingency are Gaussian; (b) The mean distribution of subjective contingency is a linear function of objective cue-outcome contingency; and (c) The variance in the distribution of subjective contingency is constant...
November 20, 2017: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Zachary M Abzug, Marc A Sommer
Much of everyday behavior involves serial decision-making, in which the outcome of 1 choice affects another. An example is setting rules for oneself: choosing a behavioral rule guides appropriate choices in the future. How the brain links decisions across time is poorly understood. Neural mechanisms could be studied in monkeys, as it is known that they can select and use behavioral rules, but existing psychophysical paradigms are poorly suited for the constraints of neurophysiology. Therefore, we designed a streamlined task that requires sequential, linked decisions, and trained 2 rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) to perform it...
October 16, 2017: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Audrey E Parrish, Anamaria Otalora-Garcia, Michael J Beran
Interference effects emerge when responding on the basis of task-relevant features is directly pitted against task-irrelevant cues that could lead to errors. To study potential interference effects in a food-choice memory test, 3 chimpanzees were presented with conflicting information in a magnitude judgment task. In Experiment 1, chimpanzees were presented with an ordinal series of colored containers that they sequenced on the basis of relative preference for the different foods that were consistently hidden under the containers...
October 2017: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Anna Thorwart, Evan J Livesey, Francisco Wilhelm, Wei Liu, Harald Lachnit
The Learned Predictiveness effect refers to the observation that learning about the relationship between a cue and an outcome is influenced by the predictive relevance of the cue for other outcomes. Similarly, the Outcome Predictability effect refers to a recent observation that the previous predictability of an outcome affects learning about this outcome in new situations, too. We hypothesize that both effects may be two manifestations of the same phenomenon and stimuli that have been involved in highly predictive relationships may be learned about faster when they are involved in new relationships regardless of their functional role in predictive learning as cues and outcomes...
October 2017: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Louis D Matzel, Bruno Sauce
Early in the 20th century, individual differences were a central focus of psychologists. By the end of that century, studies of individual differences had become far less common, and attention to these differences played little role in the development of contemporary theory. To illustrate the important role of individual differences, here we consider variations in intelligence as a compelling example. General intelligence (g) has now been demonstrated in at least 2 distinct genera: primates (including humans, chimpanzees, bonobos, and tamarins) and rodents (mice and rats)...
October 2017: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Jasper Robinson
Responding to a related pair of measurements is often expressed as a single discrimination ratio. Authors have used various discrimination ratios; yet, little information exists to guide their choice. A second use of ratios is to correct for the influence of a nuisance variable on the measurement of interest. I examine 4 discrimination ratios using simulated data sets. Three ratios, of the form a/(a + b), b/(a + b), and (a - b)/(a + b), introduced distortions to their raw data. The fourth ratio, (b - a)/b largely avoided such distortions and was the most sensitive at detecting statistical differences...
October 2017: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Gonzalo P Urcelay
Despite the generality and theoretical relevance of cue competition phenomena such as blocking and overshadowing, recent findings suggest that these observations may be due to some degree of publication bias, and that we lack insight into the boundary conditions of these phenomena. The present commentary does not question the existence of cue competition phenomena. Rather, I review findings showing that 3 variables, namely (a) relative stimulus duration, (b) contingency, and (c) contiguity parametrically determine not only whether cue competition is observed, but also whether no cue interaction, or cue facilitation occur...
October 2017: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Stephanie L Quail, Vincent Laurent, Bernard W Balleine
Although there has been extensive research in both humans and rodents regarding the influence of excitatory predictions on action selection, the influence of inhibitory reward predictions is less well understood. We used a feature-negative conditioned inhibition procedure to generate Pavlovian excitors and inhibitors, predicting the presence or absence of specific outcomes, and assessed their influence on action selection using a Pavlovian-instrumental transfer test. Inhibitors predicting the absence of a specific outcome reversed the bias in action selection elicited by outcome-specific excitors; whereas excitors promoted responding on the action associated with the same outcome as the cue, inhibitors shifted responding away from such actions and toward other actions...
October 2017: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Tina Seabrooke, Mike E Le Pelley, Lee Hogarth, Chris J Mitchell
Cues that signal rewards can motivate reward-seeking behaviors, even for outcomes that are not currently desired. Three experiments examined this phenomenon, using an outcome-selective Pavlovian-instrumental transfer (PIT) design and an outcome devaluation procedure. In Experiment 1, participants learned to perform one response to earn crisps points and another response to earn popcorn points. One outcome was then devalued by adulterating it to make it taste unpleasant. On test, overall response choice was biased toward the outcome that had not been devalued, indicating goal-directed control...
October 2017: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Jiani Chen, Carel Ten Cate
Many animal species can detect dependencies between adjacent visual or auditory items in a string. Compared with adjacent dependencies, detecting nonadjacent dependencies, as present in linguistic constructions, is more challenging as this requires detecting a relation between items irrespective of the number and nature of the intervening items. There is limited evidence that nonhuman animals can detect such dependencies. An animal group in which such abilities might be expected is songbirds, which have learned songs consisting of a series of vocal elements given in specific sequences...
July 2017: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Carter W Daniels, Federico Sanabria
According to the biexponential refractory model (BERM) of variable-interval (VI) performance, operant behavior is organized in bouts, described by 3 dissociable components: between-bout interresponse times (IRTs), within-bout IRTs, and bout lengths. Research has shown that between-bout IRTs are sensitive to changes in rate of reinforcement and reinforcer efficacy, the length of some bouts is selectively sensitive to changes in response-reinforcer contingencies, and within-bout IRTs are relatively insensitive to both manipulations...
July 2017: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
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