Document Detail

Serial spatial reversal learning in rats: comparison of instrumental and automaintenance procedures.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  1798769     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Serial reversals of a spatial discrimination were trained in rats under automaintenance conditions, in which food reward occurred regardless of responding. This automaintained reversal learning was compared to instrumental reversal learning in other rats trained under a similar procedure which required responding for reward. In the automaintenance (AU) procedure, rats received food after every retraction of a "positive" response lever (S+); retraction of a second, "neutral" lever (So) was not paired with food delivery. Responses to the S+ were elicited at fairly constant rates during daily 100-trial conditioning sessions. Responses to the So occurred early in each session but rapidly diminished across trials. When the valences of the levers were reversed, responding shifted to the new S+ and diminished on the new So. Criterion for reversal was defined as a discrimination ratio (DR) of at least 90% responding to the S+ in two consecutive 10-trial blocks. With repeated reversals, acquisition of criterion performance occurred with increasing rapidity, reaching an asymptote below that required for the original discrimination. A second group of rats was trained on a similar instrumental schedule, in which at least one response to the S+ was required for food delivery. Response rates in this instrumental (IN) group were approximately double those of the AU group. However, ratios of S+ to So response rates were similar to those of the AU group, and the serial reversal curves generated were qualitatively similar. Thus rats can show improvement across serial reversals of a spatial discrimination based entirely on pairings of stimulus events (automaintenance), in a manner similar to that observed in instrumental procedures, in which reward is contingent upon correct responding.
P J Bushnell; M E Stanton
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Physiology & behavior     Volume:  50     ISSN:  0031-9384     ISO Abbreviation:  Physiol. Behav.     Publication Date:  1991 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1992-04-14     Completed Date:  1992-04-14     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0151504     Medline TA:  Physiol Behav     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1145-51     Citation Subset:  IM; S    
Neurotoxicology Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711.
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MeSH Terms
Conditioning, Operant / physiology
Discrimination Learning / physiology
Psychology, Experimental / instrumentation
Reversal Learning / physiology*
Space Perception / physiology*

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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