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Asymmetry in the discrimination of quantity by rats: the role of the intertrial interval

Inman, Richard Anthony ORCID:, Honey, Robert Colin ORCID:, Eccles, Gemma Louise and Pearce, John Martindale ORCID: 2015. Asymmetry in the discrimination of quantity by rats: the role of the intertrial interval. Learning & Behavior 44 (1) , pp. 67-77. 10.3758/s13420-015-0191-0

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In three experiments, rats were trained to discriminate between 20 and five (Exps. 1 and 2), or between 40 and five (Exp. 3), black squares. The squares were randomly distributed in the center of a white background and displayed on a computer screen. For one group, the patterns containing the higher quantity of squares signaled the delivery of sucrose (+), whilst patterns with the lower quantity of squares did not (–). For the second group, sucrose was signaled by the lower, but not by the higher, quantity of squares. In Experiment 1, the intertrial interval (ITI) was a white screen, and the 20+/5– discrimination was acquired more readily than the 5+/20– discrimination. For Experiment 2, the ITI was made up of 80 black squares on a white background. In this instance, the 5+/20– discrimination was acquired more successfully than the 20+/5– discrimination. In Experiment 3, two groups were trained with a 40+/5– discrimination, and two with a 5+/40– discrimination. For one group from each of these pairs, the training trials were separated by a white ITI, and the 40+/5– discrimination was acquired more readily than the 5+/40– discrimination. For the remaining two groups, the training trials were not separated by an ITI, and the two groups acquired the task at approximately the same rate. The results indicate that the cues present during the ITI play a role in the asymmetrical acquisition of magnitude discriminations based on quantity.

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: Springer
ISSN: 1543-4494
Funders: BBSRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 30 June 2015
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 20:12

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