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Asymmetry in the discrimination of quantity: the role of stimulus generalization

Inman, Richard Anthony ORCID:, Honey, Robert Colin ORCID: and Pearce, John Martindale ORCID: 2015. Asymmetry in the discrimination of quantity: the role of stimulus generalization. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition 41 (4) , pp. 309-321. 10.1037/xan0000073

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In order to evaluate 1 account for the asymmetry that has been found with discriminations based on stimulus magnitude, in 5 autoshaping experiments, 2 groups of pigeons received a discrimination between 5 and 20 squares presented on a TV screen. One group received a 20+/5– discrimination, with food signaled by 20 squares but not 5 squares; the other group received the opposite discrimination, 5+/20–. The 20+/5– discrimination was acquired more readily than 5+/20– in Experiments 1, 3a, 3b, and 4. For Experiment 1, the screen was white for the intertrial interval (ITI) and the stimuli were black squares on a white background; for Experiment 3a, the screen was black for the ITI and the stimuli were black squares on a white background; and for Experiments 3b and 4, the screen was white for the ITI and the stimuli were white squares on a black background. In Experiment 2, the stimuli were black squares on a white background, but they were separated by an ITI in which 288 black squares were presented against a white background. The 20+/5– discrimination was now acquired more slowly than the 5+/20– discrimination. The asymmetry in the acquisition of the magnitude discriminations in each experiment is attributed to inhibition being associated with the stimuli present during the ITI. The generalization of this inhibition, along a dimension related to the number of squares on the screen, is then assumed to disrupt the acquisition of 1 discrimination to a greater extent than the other.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: discrimination learning; stimulus generalization; quantity discrimination
Publisher: American Psychological Association
ISSN: 2329-8464
Funders: BBSRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 25 May 2015
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 16:46

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