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Evidence for concrete but not abstract representation of length during spatial learning in rats

Dumont, Julie R., Jones, Peter M., Pearce, John M. and Kosaki, Yutaka 2015. Evidence for concrete but not abstract representation of length during spatial learning in rats. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition 41 (1) , pp. 91-104. 10.1037/xan0000044

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In 4 experiments, rats had to discriminate between the lengths of 2 objects of the same color, black or white, before a test trial with the same objects but of opposite color. The experiments took place in a pool from which rats had to escape by swimming to 1 of 2 submerged platforms. For Experiments 1 and 2, the platforms were situated near the centers of panels of 1 length, but not another, that were pasted onto the gray walls of a square arena. The acquired preference for the correct length was eliminated by changing the color of the panels. In Experiment 3, the platforms were situated near the middle of the long walls of a rectangular pool, and in Experiment 4 they were situated in 1 pair of diagonally opposite corners of the same pool. Changing the color of the walls markedly disrupted the effects of the original training in both experiments. The results indicate that rats represent the length of objects not by their abstract, geometric attributes but in a more concrete fashion such as by a mental snapshot or by the amount of color stimulation they provide.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Additional Information: This article has been published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.
Publisher: American Psychological Association
ISSN: 2329-8456
Funders: BBSRC, Wellcome
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 16 August 2014
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2020 09:30

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