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"Causal reasoning" in rats: A reappraisal

Dwyer, Dominic M. ORCID:, Starns, J. and Honey, Robert Colin ORCID: 2009. "Causal reasoning" in rats: A reappraisal. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes 35 (4) , pp. 578-586. 10.1037/a0015007

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It has recently been argued that rats engage in causal reasoning and they do so in a way that is consistent with Bayes net theories (Blaisdell, Sawa, Leising & Waldmann, 2006). This argument was based upon the finding that the tendency of cues to elicit approach to a food-well was reduced when their presentation was contingent on lever pressing. There is, however, an alternative interpretation of the critical experimental findings that is based on the simple principle of response competition: wherein lever pressing interferes with the tendency to approach the food well. Here the authors replicated Experiments 1 and 2a of Blaisdell et al. (2006) and found reciprocal patterns of lever pressing and food well approach during the critical cues. These results lend direct support for an interpretation in terms of response competition while providing evidence contrary to Bayes net theories, and are readily interpreted within the theoretical framework provided by traditional associative learning theory.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bayes casual nets; response competition; Lloyd Morgan
Publisher: American Psychological Association
ISSN: 1939-2184
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Last Modified: 18 Oct 2022 13:26

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