In the five-term, transitive inference task used with animals, pigeons are trained on four simultaneous discrimination premise pairs: A + B −, B + C −, C + D −, D + E −. Typically, when tested with the BD pair, most pigeons show a transitive inference effect, choosing B over D. Two non-inferential hypotheses have been proposed to account for this effect but neither has been reliably supported by research. Here we test a third non-inferential hypothesis that the preference for B arises because the animals have not had as much experience with B − in the A + B − discrimination as they have had with the D − in the C + D − discrimination. To test this hypothesis we trained the Experimental Group with the A + B − discrimination in which, over trials, there were four possible A + stimuli that could appear. This was done to encourage the pigeons to learn to reject the B − stimulus. For the Control Group there was only one A + stimulus over trials, as is typically the case. We also varied the nature of the stimuli between groups, such that colors served as the stimuli for half
Animal Cognition – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 29, 2019
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