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Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition

Cody A Freas, Ken Cheng
Mobile animals need to reliably find goal locations and animal navigators acquire and use multiple cue sets within their environment designating direction and distance estimates of these locations. Foraging ants use multiple navigational tools including path integration and the learning of the landmark panorama. During landmark-based navigation, foragers first acquire the landmark cues around the nest through preforaging learning walks, and then learn non-nest site cues along their foraging routes. Here, we explore both foragers' ability to extrapolate views from around the nest to local displacement sites and landmark learning during the first foraging trips away from the nest area...
July 5, 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Phil Reed, Demelza Smale, Dimitra Owens, Gary Freegard
Four experiments explored the factors controlling human responding on random interval (RI) schedules of reinforcement. All experiments identified 2 types of responding: "bout-initiation" and "within-bout" responding. Responding on RI schedules was related to the interval value rates, being higher on an RI-30s than on an RI-60s or RI-120s schedule, which impacted bout-initiation responding to the greater degree (Experiments 1 and 3). Experiment 2 found similar overall response rates on random ratio (RR) and random interval with a linear feedback loop (RI+) schedules, with both higher than on an RI schedule...
July 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Tina Seabrooke, Mike E Le Pelley, Alexis Porter, Chris J Mitchell
Outcome-selective Pavlovian-instrumental transfer (PIT) refers to the finding that presenting Pavlovian predictors of outcomes can enhance the vigor of instrumental responding for those same outcomes. Three experiments examined the sensitivity of outcome-selective PIT to Pavlovian (stimulus-outcome) extinction. In Experiment 1, participants first learnt to perform different instrumental responses to earn different outcomes. In a separate Pavlovian training phase, certain stimuli were established as Pavlovian signals of the different outcomes...
July 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Aaron P Smith, Thomas R Zentall, Alex Kacelnik
Most models of choice assume a "tug of war" (ToW) between options present at the time of the choice, arguing that preferences are built on this process, and implying that adding options increases delay to act. In contrast, the sequential choice model (SCM) proposes that choices are driven by parallel expression of the mechanisms that control action in sequential encounters, without comparative deliberation at choice time. Only the SCM predicts choice preferences based on latencies to respond in single-option encounters...
July 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Carter W Daniels, Federico Sanabria
Paradoxical choices in human and nonhuman animals represent substantial deviations from rational models of behavior; such deviations often demand models that incorporate multiple perspectives, including psychology, biology, and economics. The past couple of decades have seen an increased interest in the paradoxical choice of pigeons in 2-armed bandit tasks (2ABT) developed by Zentall and colleagues. In these 2ABTs, pigeons, but not rats, systematically choose an alternative that yields less reward over multiple trials but provides more information on events within a trial, over an alternative that yields more reward over trials but provides less information on events within a trial...
July 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Tomer J Czaczkes, Alexandra Koch, Kerstin Fröber, Gesine Dreisbach
When faced with multiple competing goals, individuals must decide which goal to attend to. Voluntary task switching is an important paradigm for testing cognitive flexibility and spontaneous decision-making when competing tasks are present. Of particular importance is the study of how reward affects task switching, as reward is perhaps the most commonly used tool for shaping both human and animal behavior. Recently, Fröber and Dreisbach (2016) demonstrated that it is not reward level per se, but reward change, which most strongly affects switching behavior in humans: Task switching was lowest when reward remained high and highest when reward is changed (increase or decrease), while the repetition of low reward showed intermediate switching levels...
July 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Gemma Reynolds, Phil Reed
The phenomenon whereby behavior becomes controlled by one aspect of the environment at the expense of other aspects of the environment (stimulus overselectivity) is widespread across many intellectual and developmental disabilities. However, the theoretical mechanisms underpinning overselectivity are not understood. Given similarities between overselectivity and overshadowing, exploring overselectivity using associative learning paradigms might allow better theoretical understanding of the phenomenon. Three experiments explored overselectivity using a simultaneous discrimination task with typically developing participants undergoing a cognitively demanding task...
July 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
J W Whitlow
Two experiments explored ways in which novel stimuli might be represented in associative learning, focusing on (1) representations in which novel stimuli embody novelty as a stimulus feature that acquires associative strength in the same fashion as color, shape, texture, or other frequently used stimulus features; and (2) representations in which novel stimuli embody common elements, that is, the stimulus elements shared among other stimuli in an experimental setting. Both experiments examined the effects of reinforcing or nonreinforcing separately presented novel stimuli on learning about compound stimuli that included novel stimuli as part of the compound...
July 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Travis R Smith, Michael J Beran
The present experiments extended to monkeys a previously used abstract categorization procedure (Castro & Wasserman, 2016) where pigeons had categorized arrays of clipart icons based upon two task rules: the number of clipart objects in the array or the variability of objects in the array. Experiment 1 replicated Castro and Wasserman by using capuchin monkeys and rhesus monkeys and reported that monkeys' performances were similar to pigeons' in terms of acquisition, pattern of errors, and the absence of switch costs...
July 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Dominic M D Tran, R Frederick Westbrook
Exposure to a high-fat high-sugar (HFHS) diet rapidly impairs novel-place- but not novel-object-recognition memory in rats (Tran & Westbrook, 2015, 2017). Three experiments sought to investigate the generality of diet-induced cognitive deficits by examining whether there are conditions under which object-recognition memory is impaired. Experiments 1 and 3 tested the strength of short- and long-term object-memory trace, respectively, by varying the interval of time between object familiarization and subsequent novel object test...
July 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Cody W Polack, Ralph R Miller
This series examines the associative basis of inhibitory perceptual learning. Four experiments demonstrate that inhibitory perceptual learning, like Pavlovian conditioned inhibition, is affected by manipulating the number of training trials. Specifically, many interspersed XB/AB training trials (in which letters represent initially neutral stimuli such as tones, clicks, and flashing lights) followed by A-US pairings caused X to act like a conditioned inhibitor (Experiment 1), which is presumed to suggest that an inhibitory association between conditioned stimuli X and A had been formed (i...
April 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Inês Fortes, Carlos Pinto, Armando Machado, Marco Vasconcelos
When offered a choice between 2 alternatives, animals sometimes prefer the option yielding less food. For instance, pigeons and starlings prefer an option that on 20% of the trials presents a stimulus always followed by food, and on the remaining 80% of the trials presents a stimulus never followed by food (the Informative Option), over an option that provides food on 50% of the trials regardless of the stimulus presented (the Noninformative Option). To explain this suboptimal behavior, it has been hypothesized that animals ignore (or do not engage with) the stimulus that is never followed by food in the Informative Option...
April 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Olga V Vyazovska, Victor M Navarro, Edward A Wasserman
We trained 8 pigeons ( Columba livia ) on a stagewise go/no-go visual discrimination task of increasing complexity, to document the dynamics of selective attention. We constructed negative compound stimuli (S-s) on the basis of their overall similarity to a positive compound stimulus (S+) along 4 binary-valued dimensions: shape (circle/square), size (large/small), line orientation (horizontal/vertical), and brightness (dark/light). Starting with 1 S+ and 1 S- that differed in all 4 dimensional values, in 3 later steps, we progressively added S-s sharing 1, 2, and finally 3 dimensional values with the S+...
April 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
David N George
In four experiments, participants' performance on a variety of nonlinear patterning discriminations was assessed using a predictive learning task and visual patterns. Between groups, the similarity of the stimuli that composed these visual patterns was manipulated. When the stimuli were of low similarity, participants' performance was consistent with the predictions of one version of Pearce's (1987, 1994, 2002) configural theory of learning (Kinder & Lachnit, 2003); they were better able to discriminate between different patterns when they shared few, rather than many, stimuli...
April 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
Stephen E G Lea, Emmanuel M Pothos, Andy J Wills, Lisa A Leaver, Catriona M E Ryan, Christina Meier
Two experiments investigated what makes it more likely that pigeons' behavior will come under the control of multiple relevant visual stimulus dimensions. Experiment 1 investigated the effect of stimulus set structure, using a conditional discrimination between circles that differed in both hue and diameter. Two training conditions differed in whether hue and diameter were correlated in the same way within positive and negative stimulus sets as between sets. Transfer tests showed that all pigeons came under the control of both dimensions, regardless of stimulus set structure...
April 2018: 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...
April 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...
April 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...
April 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...
April 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
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