Simple discrimination reversals in the domestic horse (Equus caballus): Effect of discriminative stimulus modality on learning to learn

Tracy Ilene Martin, Thomas Robert Zentall, Laurie Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

The cognitive capacity of an organism, relative to that of other species, can be assessed by using a relative measure of learning. One such measure is the ability of an organism to learn about the reversal of a discrimination. The present study compared the performance of two groups of horses on a simple discrimination reversal task when the only difference between the groups was the modality of the relevant cue. For the visual group (absence or presence of a light), the spatial position was irrelevant. For the spatial group, a spatial cue (left/right) was available and the visual cue was irrelevant. Horses in the spatial group learned the original discrimination and six reversals; they also showed evidence of learning to learn. Horses in the visual group did not reach criterion during the study. As a result, there was no evidence of learning to learn.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-338
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume101
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2006

Keywords

  • Discrimination Reversal
  • Horse
  • Learning-to-learn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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