The role of differential reinforcement in predator avoidance learning

The role of differential reinforcement in predator avoidance learning Little is known about how predator recognition develops under natural conditions. Predispositions to respond to some stimuli preferentially are likely to interact with the effects of experience. Convergent evidence from several studies suggests that predator-naı̈ve tammar wallabies ( Macropus eugenii ) have some ability to respond to vertebrate predators differently from non-predators and that antipredator responses can be selectively enhanced by experience. Here, we examined the effects of differential reinforcement on responses to a model fox ( Vulpes vulpes ), cat ( Felis catus ) and conspecific wallaby. During training, tammars experienced paired presentations of a model fox and a simulated capture, as well as presentations of a wallaby and a cat alone. Training enhanced responses to the fox, relative to the conspecific wallaby, but acquired responses to the two predators did not differ, despite repeated, non-reinforced presentations of the cat. Results suggest that experience interacts with the wallabies’ ability to perceive predators as a natural category. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Behavioural Processes Elsevier

The role of differential reinforcement in predator avoidance learning

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V.
ISSN
0376-6357
eISSN
1872-8308
D.O.I.
10.1016/S0376-6357(02)00169-9
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Little is known about how predator recognition develops under natural conditions. Predispositions to respond to some stimuli preferentially are likely to interact with the effects of experience. Convergent evidence from several studies suggests that predator-naı̈ve tammar wallabies ( Macropus eugenii ) have some ability to respond to vertebrate predators differently from non-predators and that antipredator responses can be selectively enhanced by experience. Here, we examined the effects of differential reinforcement on responses to a model fox ( Vulpes vulpes ), cat ( Felis catus ) and conspecific wallaby. During training, tammars experienced paired presentations of a model fox and a simulated capture, as well as presentations of a wallaby and a cat alone. Training enhanced responses to the fox, relative to the conspecific wallaby, but acquired responses to the two predators did not differ, despite repeated, non-reinforced presentations of the cat. Results suggest that experience interacts with the wallabies’ ability to perceive predators as a natural category.

Journal

Behavioural ProcessesElsevier

Published: Feb 28, 2003

References

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