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The discrimination of magnitude: A review and theoretical analysis

Inman, Richard A. and Pearce, John M. 2018. The discrimination of magnitude: A review and theoretical analysis. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 153 (PB) , pp. 118-130. 10.1016/j.nlm.2018.03.020

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In a discrimination based on magnitude, the same stimulus is presented at two different magnitudes and an outcome, such as food, is signalled by one magnitude but not the other. The review presented in the first part of the article shows that, in general, such a discrimination is acquired more readily when the outcome is signalled by the larger rather than the smaller of the two magnitudes. This asymmetry is observed with magnitudes based on sound, odour, temporal duration, quantity, and physical length. The second part of the article, explores the implications of this pattern of results for the theory of discrimination learning presented by Pearce (1994). The asymmetry found with discriminations based on magnitude contradicts predictions derived from the original version of the theory, but it can be explained by a modified version. The asymmetry also has important implications for understanding how animals represent magnitudes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1074-7427
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 25 April 2018
Date of Acceptance: 7 April 2018
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2019 06:48

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