Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes

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ISSN / EISSN : 0097-7403 / 1939-2184
Total articles ≅ 2,417
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, , John M. Pearce
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, Volume 39, pp 342-356;

The ability of rats to solve a discrimination between two objects that differ in length was investigated in five experiments. Using a rectangular swimming pool, Experiment 1 revealed it is easier to locate a submerged platform when it is near the center of a long rather than a short wall. For Experiments 2-4, the objects were black or white panels pasted onto the gray walls of a square pool, with two long panels pasted to two opposing walls and two short panels pasted to the remaining walls. The platform was easier to locate when it was placed near the middle of a long rather than a short panel. This effect was found when the long panels were twice (Experiments 2-4) or four times the length of the short panels (Experiment 4). Experiment 5 demonstrated that rats can solve a discrimination between panels of length 15 and 45 cm more readily than when they are 70 and 100 cm. The results are consistent with the claim that generalization gradients based on stimulus magnitude are steeper for stimuli that are weaker rather than stronger than the stimulus used for the original training.
, Zachary A. Kilday,
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, Volume 39, pp 390-396;

Environment size has been shown to influence the reliance on local and global geometric cues during reorientation. Unless changes in environment size are produced by manipulating length and width proportionally, changes in environment size are confounded by the amount of the environment that is visible from a single vantage point. Yet, the influence of the amount of the environment that is visible from any single vantage point on the use of local and global geometric cues remains unknown. We manipulated the amount of an environment that was visually available to participants by manipulating field of view (FOV) in a virtual environment orientation task. Two groups of participants were trained in a trapezoid-shaped enclosure to find a location that was uniquely specified by both local and global geometric cues. One group (FOV 50°) had visually less of the environment available to them from any one perspective compared to another group (FOV 100°). Following training, we presented both groups with a control test along with three novel-shaped environments. Testing assessed the use of global geometry in isolation, in alignment with local geometry, or in conflict with local geometry. Results (confirmed by a follow-up experiment) indicated that constraining FOV prevented extraction of geometric properties and relationships of space and resulted in an inability to use either global or local geometric cues for reorientation.
Pedro L. Cobos, Estrella González-Martín, Sergio Varona-Moya,
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, Volume 39, pp 299-310;

Two experiments demonstrated renewal effects in interference between outcomes in human participants. Experiment 1 revealed a XYX renewal effect, whereas Experiment 2 showed a XYZ renewal effect. The results from both experiments conformed to Bouton's (1993) theory of interference and recovery from interference, and contradicted the predictions derived from alternative accounts. Unlike previous demonstration of renewal effects, a cued response reaction time (RT) task was used, able to detect the effects of fast retrieval processes based on associative activation and that allowed little impact of inferential reasoning.
, Muhammad A. J. Qadri
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, Volume 39, pp 357-376;

Two experiments used a novel, open-ended, and adaptive test procedure to examine visual cognition in animals. Using a genetic algorithm, a pigeon was tested repeatedly from a variety of different initial conditions for its solution to an intermediate brightness search task. On each trial, the animal had to accurately locate and peck a target element of intermediate brightness from among a variable number of surrounding darker and lighter distractor elements. Displays were generated from 6 parametric variables, or genes (distractor number, element size, shape, spacing, target brightness, and distractor brightness). Display composition changed over time, or evolved, as a function of the bird's differential accuracy within the population of values for each gene. Testing 3 randomized initial conditions and 1 set of controlled initial conditions, element size and number of distractors were identified as the most important factors controlling search accuracy, with distractor brightness, element shape, and spacing making secondary contributions. The resulting changes in this multidimensional stimulus space suggested the existence of a set of conditions that the bird repeatedly converged upon regardless of initial conditions. This psychological "attractor" represents the cumulative action of the cognitive operations used by the pigeon in solving and performing this search task. The results are discussed regarding their implications for visual cognition in pigeons and the usefulness of adaptive, subject-driven experimentation for investigating human and animal cognition more generally.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, Volume 39, pp 249-258;

Blocking of learning about a conditioned stimulus (the "blocked" cue) occurs when it is trained alongside an additional stimulus (the "blocking" cue) that has been previously presented with the outcome. A number of theories (e.g., N. J. Mackintosh. 1975a. A Theory of Attention: Variations in the Associability of Stimuli With Reinforcement. Psychological Review, 82, 276-298; J. M. Pearce & G. Hall. 1980. A Model for Pavlovian Learning: Variation in the Effectiveness of Conditioned But Not Unconditioned Stimuli. Psychological Review, 87, 532-552) account for this attenuation in learning by proposing that attention paid to the blocked cue is restricted. In three experiments, we examined the associability of both blocked and blocking cues. In Experiment 1, rats were trained with a blocking protocol before being given a test discrimination composed of two components; one of these components required the use of the previously blocked cue as a discriminative stimulus, and the other component was soluble by using the blocking cue. To our surprise, the component that depended on the blocked cue was more readily solved than the component dependent on the blocking cue. The results of Experiments 2 and 3 suggest that this is due to the quantity of exposure that each stimulus received during initial training. Implications for theories of blocking, and more widely associative learning, are discussed.
, Robert G. Cook
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, Volume 39, pp 383-389;

Detecting change is vital to both human and nonhuman animals' interactions with the environment. Using the go/no-go dynamic change detection task, we examined the capacity of four pigeons to detect changes in brightness of an area on a computer display. In contrast to our prior research, we reversed the response contingencies so that the animals had to actively inhibit pecking upon detecting change in brightness rather than its constancy. Testing eight rates of change revealed that this direct report change detection contingency produced results equivalent to the earlier indirect procedure. Corresponding tests with humans suggested that the temporal dynamics of detecting change were similar for both species. The results indicate the mechanisms of change detection in both pigeons and humans are organized in similar ways, although limitations in the operations of working memory may prevent pigeons from integrating information over the same time scale as humans.
Sabrina R. Cohen-Hatton, , , R. C. Honey
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, Volume 39, pp 14-23;

Four experiments with rats examined the origin of outcome-selective Pavlovian-to-instrumental transfer (PIT). Experiment 1 used a standard procedure, where outcomes were embedded within extended conditioned stimuli (CSs), to demonstrate the basic effect: Pavlovian stimuli augmented instrumental lever presses that had been paired with the same outcomes. Experiments 2 and 3 showed that after instrumental conditioning, whereas a conditioned stimulus (CS) trained using a backward conditioning procedure produced outcome-selective PIT, forward conditioning with a CS did not. These results are consistent with the idea that backward conditioning results in the outcome provoking its associated instrumental response during the CS and thereby allows a stimulus-response association to be acquired that directly generates outcome-selective PIT at test. Experiment 4 provided direct support for the assumptions that underlie this stimulus-response analysis. These results, and other paradoxical effects of the Pavlovian relationship, are incongruent with accounts of outcome-selective PIT that rely on a stimulus-outcome-response chain.
, Chris J. Mitchell, Ameika M. Johnson
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, Volume 39, pp 39-55;

Four experiments using human participants examined how learning about the value of an outcome with which a cue is associated influences attention to that cue. Experiment 1 demonstrated that participants learn more rapidly about cues that previously predicted high-value outcomes than those that predicted low-value outcomes, indicating an attentional bias that is based on the learned value of cues. Experiments 2 through 4 examined the nature of this bias by retrospectively manipulating the value of the outcomes involved through instructions to participants. Results demonstrate that learning about value through trial-by-trial training and through instruction both influence attention to the cues involved, but in different ways. We take these findings to suggest that the learning of attentional responses, just like more overt forms of instrumental action, can be influenced by both goal-directed and habit-like processes.
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