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  Subjects -> ANIMAL WELFARE (Total: 103 journals)
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Journal of Experimental Psychology : Animal Learning and Cognition
Journal Prestige (SJR): 0.833
Citation Impact (citeScore): 2
Number of Followers: 11  
 
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ISSN (Print) 2329-8456 - ISSN (Online) 2329-8464
Published by APA Homepage  [89 journals]
  • Developments in associative theory: A tribute to the contributions of
           Robert A. Rescorla.

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      Abstract: The field of associative learning theory was forever changed by the contributions of Robert A. Rescorla. He created an organizational structure that gave us a framework for thinking about the key questions surrounding learning theory: what are the conditions that produce learning', what is the content of that learning', and how is that learning expressed in performance' He gave us beautifully sophisticated experimental designs that tackled deep theoretical problems in experimentally clever and elegant ways. And he left us with a collection of work that fundamentally altered the way we as a field think about basic learning processes. Few scientists have impacted their field in the way that Rescorla impacted animal learning theory. In this paper, we introduce this special issue (Developments in Associative Theory: A Tribute to Robert A. Rescorla) by considering some of the many ways in which Rescorla’s empirical and theoretical contributions impacted learning theory over his almost 50-year career. We conclude by identifying multiple fundamental issues we think he would have found especially fruitful to pursue as we continue to move forward. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 20 Oct 2022 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • On the importance of feedback for categorization: Revisiting category
           learning experiments using an adaptive filter model.

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      Abstract: Associative accounts of category learning have been, for the most part, abandoned in favor of cognitive explanations (e.g., similarity, explicit rules). In the current work, we implement an Adaptive Linear Filter (ALF) closely related to the Rescorla and Wagner learning rule, and use it to tackle three learning tasks that pose challenges to an associative view of category learning. Across three computational simulations, we show that the ALF is in fact able to make the predictions that seemed problematic. Notably, in our simulations we use exactly the same model and specifications, attesting to the generality of our account. We discuss the consequences of our findings for the category learning literature. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 20 Oct 2022 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • Reinforcement rate and the balance between excitatory and inhibitory
           learning: Insights from deletion of the GluA1 AMPA receptor subunit.

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      Abstract: Conditioned responding is sensitive to reinforcement rate. This rate-sensitivity is impaired in genetically modified mice that lack the GluA1 subunit of the AMPA receptor. A time-dependent application of the Rescorla–Wagner learning rule can be used to derive an account of rate-sensitivity by reflecting the balance of excitatory and inhibitory associative strength over time. By applying this analysis, the impairment in GluA1 knockout mice may be explained by reduced sensitivity to negative prediction error and thus, impaired inhibitory learning, such that excitatory associative strength is not reduced during the nonreinforced periods of a conditioned stimulus. The article describes a test of the role of GluA1 in inhibitory learning that requires summing of the associative strengths of cues presented in compound. Mice were trained on a feature negative discrimination of the form A+/AX–. GluA1 knockout mice acquired the discrimination to a similar extent as controls. The inhibitory properties of cue X were verified in a summation test that included a control for nonassociative, external inhibition. The performance of GluA1 knockout mice was similar to that of controls. However, in line with previous findings, GluA1 deletion impaired the precision of timing of conditioned responding. These results provide further evidence that impaired sensitivity to reinforcement rate is not a consequence of impaired inhibitory learning. The results may more readily fit with accounts of rate sensitivity that propose that it reflects encoding of temporal and numeric information rather than being a consequence of changes in associative strength over time. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 20 Oct 2022 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • Assessing complex odor discrimination in mice using a novel instrumental
           patterning task.

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      Abstract: Negative patterning tasks are a key tool to unveil the mechanisms by which stimulus representations are acquired—a central concern in Robert Rescorla’s research. In these tasks, target stimuli are reinforced when presented individually (A+/B+) but not when presented in compound (AB−). The discrimination of single stimuli from their compound presentation is a challenge for theories of associative learning, because it cannot be explained by the simple accrual of associative strength. The present study examined the conditions under which mice learn this part–whole discrimination in olfactory stimuli using a novel instrumental methodology. In two experiments, reinforcement was contingent on distinct responses depending on whether a set of odor mixtures were presented in isolation or as a compound. Using C57BL/6 mice, Experiment 1 showed a mutual interference between learning a response to individual odors and learning a different response to those odors presented in compound. Using wild-type APP/PS1 mice (a control strain for a murine model of Alzheimer’s disease), Experiment 2 replicated this interference and showed that it is stimulus-specific. These experiments show that the instrumental patterning task may not only complement Pavlovian negative patterning tasks but may also motivate its own questions on the representation of complex stimuli. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 20 Oct 2022 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • Hierarchical and configural control in conditional discrimination
           learning.

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      Abstract: Considerable discussion has concerned the role of context in conditional discrimination learning. Some authors have proposed that contexts might operate hierarchically on CS–US associations, whereas others have proposed that the context plus the CS might be processed configurally. In the present article, we report the results of two experiments that assessed the role of context on pigeons’ conditional discrimination learning. In Experiment 1, we found that our pigeons’ responding was inconsistent with hierarchical processing; instead, they may have either relied on local features or on configural compounds comprising the context and the discriminative stimulus presented on each trial. In Experiment 2, we precluded the possibility of using local features by requiring the pigeons to attend to both of the compounds that were simultaneously presented on each trial to solve the task. Methodological and theoretical issues are discussed in light of this work. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 20 Oct 2022 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • Response-independent outcome presentations weaken the instrumental
           response-outcome association.

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      Abstract: The present article explored the fate of previously formed response-outcome associations when the relation between R and O was disrupted by arranging for O to occur independently of R. In each of three experiments response independent outcome delivery selectively reduced the R earning that O. Nevertheless, in Experiments 1 and 2, the R continued to show sensitivity to outcome devaluation, suggesting that the strength of the R-O association was undiminished by this treatment. These experiments used a two-lever, two-outcome design introducing the possibility that devaluation reflected the influence of specific Pavlovian lever-outcome associations. In an attempt to nullify the influence of these incidental Pavlovian cues Experiment 3 used a single bidirectional vertical lever that rats could press left or right for different outcomes. Again, response-independent outcome presentations selectively depressed the performance of the R that delivered the response-independent O. However, in this situation, the response independent O also reduced the sensitivity of R to outcome devaluation; whereas the nondegraded R was sensitive to devaluation, the degraded R was not. We conclude that selective degradation of the instrumental contingency can weaken a specific R-O association while leaving other R-O associations intact. Furthermore, the use of a bidirectional vertical lever in Experiment 3 revealed that unidirectional and spatially separated instrumental manipulanda, such as levers or chains, may produce Pavlovian cues capable of forming incidental associations with the instrumental outcome that can obscure the relative influence of R-O associations after various manipulations. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 20 Oct 2022 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • Inhibition in discriminated operant learning: Tests of
           response-specificity after feature-negative and extinction learning.

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      Abstract: Six experiments with rats examined the nature of inhibition learned in an operant feature-negative (FN) discrimination. The results of prior experiments that examined instrumental extinction rather than FN learning suggest that inhibition can be very specific to the inhibited response. In Experiment 1, we trained lever-press and chain-pull responses in separate but parallel FN discriminations (AR1+, ABR1−, CR2+, and CDR2−) and then tested both inhibitors (B and D) with both responses. Of primary interest was the extent to which the inhibitors suppressed the response they were trained with (same-response inhibition) versus the other response (cross-response inhibition). We found that cross-response inhibition was robust and essentially equal to same-response inhibition. Experiment 2 replicated this result and confirmed stronger inhibition after FN learning than after a differential inhibition procedure (AR1+, BR1−, CR2+, and DR2−). There was also little evidence that cross-response inhibition was due to a demonstrable competing response. Experiment 3 found that cross-response inhibition did not depend on having the two responses reinforced by a common outcome. Experiments 4 and 5 then found that cross-response inhibition depended substantially (though not completely) on the transfer target response having been trained in its own FN discrimination. However, Experiment 6 found that inhibition after instrumental extinction (as opposed to FN learning) was still highly response-specific when the transferred-to response had been trained in an FN discrimination. The overall results suggest that the characteristics of inhibition in instrumental extinction and FN learning differ and that transfer of FN inhibition across responses depends at least partly on previous “inhibitability” of the target response. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 20 Oct 2022 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • Behavioral studies of spinal conditioning: The spinal cord is smarter than
           you think it is.

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      Abstract: In 1988 Robert Rescorla published an article in the Annual Review of Neuroscience that addressed the circumstances under which learning occurs, some key methodological issues, and what constitutes an example of learning. The article has inspired a generation of neuroscientists, opening the door to a wider range of learning phenomena. After reviewing the historical context for his article, its key points are briefly reviewed. The perspective outlined enabled the study of learning in simpler preparations, such as the spinal cord. The period after 1988 revealed that pain (nociceptive) stimuli can induce a lasting sensitization of spinal cord circuits, laying down a kind of memory mediated by signal pathways analogous to those implicated in brain dependent learning and memory. Evidence suggests that the spinal cord is sensitive to instrumental response-outcome (R-O) relations, that learning can induce a peripheral modification (muscle memory) that helps maintain the learned response, and that learning can promote adaptive plasticity (a form of metaplasticity). Conversely, exposure to uncontrollable stimulation disables the capacity to learn. Spinal cord neurons can also abstract that stimuli occur in a regular (predictable) manner, a capacity that appears linked to a neural oscillator (central pattern generator). Disrupting communication with the brain has been shown to transform how GABA affects neuronal function (an example of ionic plasticity), releasing a brake that enables plasticity. We conclude by presenting a framework for understanding these findings and the implications for the broader study of learning. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 28 Jul 2022 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • The learning curve, revisited.

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      Abstract: The nature of the operations that support learning should be evident in the form or shape of the learning curve. For example, models that describe learning as an iterative error-correction process expect that the amount learned on each trial follows a decelerating (negatively inflected) function. That prediction is broadly consistent with the shape of the acquisition and extinction curves derived from mean measures of response strength. However, such evidence can be flawed because group means may not accurately portray the response curves of individual subjects in a conditioning experiment. Moreover, such evidence relies on strong assumptions about the way that what has been learned is expressed in responding. The current work presents a new analytical approach to reveal the rate of change in responding across the course of conditioning in individual animals. When applied to the conditioning and extinction data from a large sample of rats, this analysis confirms that responses are acquired and extinguish gradually and, in both cases, follow a decelerating learning curve. That is, changes in responding are largest at the start of conditioning or extinction and get progressively smaller as responding approaches an asymptote. However, rather than conforming to the specific shape predicted by an error-correction process, the results suggest that the amount learned increases according to a logarithmic function such that responding during conditioning and extinction is proportional to the log of the number of trials. The implications of these findings for models of associative learning are discussed. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 30 Jun 2022 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • Using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to influence decision
           criterion in a target detection paradigm.

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      Abstract: In this article we investigate how a psychological theory used to model perceptual learning and face recognition can be used to predict that anodal tDCS delivered over the DLPFC at Fp3 site (for 10 mins duration at 1.5 mA intensity) modulates the decision criterion, C, (and not d-prime [d′]) in a target detection task. In two between-subjects and double-blind experiments (n = 112) we examined the tDCS effects on C when subjects were engaged in a target detection task, in the first instance involving artificial checkerboard stimuli (Experiment 1a), and subsequently face stimuli (Experiment 1b). The results from both experiments revealed that in the sham/control groups a significantly higher C was used when detecting a target pattern (Experiment 1a) or face (Experiment 1b) presented on a familiar rather than a random background. Importantly, anodal tDCS significantly reduced/reversed this difference between C adopted for familiar and random backgrounds in both Experiment 1a and 1b without affecting d′. These results contribute to advance our understanding of the tDCS-induced effects on stimulus representation and to the literature regarding the modulation of C. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 23 Jun 2022 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • Reversal of inhibition by no-modulation training but not by extinction in
           human causal learning.

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      Abstract: One of the many strengths of the Rescorla and Wagner (1972) model is that it accounts for both excitatory and inhibitory learning using a single error-correction mechanism. However, it makes the counterintuitive prediction that nonreinforced presentations of an inhibitory stimulus will lead to extinction of its inhibitory properties. Zimmer-Hart and Rescorla (1974) provided the first of several animal conditioning studies that contradicted this prediction. However, the human data are more mixed. Accordingly, we set out to test whether extinction of an inhibitor occurs in human causal learning after simultaneous feature negative training with a conventional unidirectional outcome. In 2 experiments with substantial sample sizes, we found no evidence of extinction after presentations of the inhibitory stimulus alone in either a summation test or causal ratings. By contrast, 2 “no-modulation” procedures that contradicted the original training contingencies successfully reversed inhibition. These results did not differ substantially as a function of participants’ self-reported causal structures (configural/modulation/prevention). We hypothesize that inhibitory learning may be intrinsically modulatory, analogous to negative occasion-setting, even with simultaneous training. This hypothesis would explain why inhibition is reversed by manipulations that contradict modulation but not by simple extinction, as well as other properties of inhibitory learning such as imperfect transfer to another excitor. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 02 Jun 2022 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • Extinction of conditioned flavor preferences.

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      Abstract: Although noted as a proponent of associative learning theory, Bob Rescorla acknowledged that other mechanisms might be responsible for the within-event learning produced when two stimuli co-occur. To investigate this possibility, he conducted experiments in which rats experienced a compound of a novel flavor and a palatable nutrient, and demonstrated that a preference for the flavor established by this training did not show the pattern of extinction that might be expected of a preference based on a flavor-nutrient association. A review is presented of subsequent work on the extinction of such conditioned flavor preferences in rats. The results are found to depend on the motivational state of the rat in training and on test, on the match between the procedures on training and test, and on the details of the test procedure (the nature of the choice offered to the rat). When conditions are arranged appropriately, the extinction effect (a loss of the conditioned response) expected by standard associative theory can be obtained. What remains a problem for this theory is the observation (made originally by Rescorla himself) is that the effects of extinguishing a conditioned flavor preference are remarkably persistent. The failure to obtain recovery from the effects of the extinction procedure remains as a signal that this form of learning may involve processes other than the association formation used to explain many other forms of learning. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 19 May 2022 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • Associative change in Pavlovian conditioning: A reappraisal.

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      Abstract: Robert A. Rescorla changed how Pavlovian conditioning was studied and interpreted. His empirical contributions were fundamental and theoretically driven. One involved testing a central tenet of the model that he developed with Allan R. Wagner. The Rescorla-Wagner learning rule uses a pooled error term to determine changes in a directional association between the representations of the conditioned stimulus (CS) and unconditioned stimulus (US). This learning rule predicts that 2 equally salient CSs (A and B) will undergo equivalent associative change when they are conditioned in compound (i.e., AB→US). Rescorla’s results suggested that this was not the case (e.g., Rescorla, 2000). Here, we show that these results can be reconciled with a model that uses a learning rule with a pooled error term once that rule is applied equivalently to all of the stimuli presented on a given trial, and the resulting reciprocal associations (directly and indirectly) contribute to performance. This model, called HeiDI, integrates several features of Rescorla’s research and theorizing while addressing an issue that he recognized required further analysis: how learning is translated into performance. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 12 May 2022 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • The Rescorla-Wagner Model: The culmination of Hume’s theory of
           causation.

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      Abstract: The associative learning theory of Robert Rescorla and Allan Wagner has been duly celebrated for its 50-year reign as the predominant model in learning science. One special recognition is warranted: its close correspondence with David Hume’s associative theory of causality judgment. Hume’s rules by which causes come to suggest effects are not only embraced by the Rescorla-Wagner model, but their mechanistic account makes precise quantitative predictions that can be assessed by empirical evidence rather than by speculation and argumentation. Framed in this way, the Rescorla-Wagner model truly represents the scientific culmination of Hume’s philosophical theory of causation. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 12 May 2022 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • Delaying extinction weakens the partial reinforcement extinction effect.

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      Abstract: Conditioned responding that has been extinguished can spontaneously return when the conditioned stimulus (CS) is first presented after an extended delay. This spontaneous recovery of responding suggests that the memory of nonreinforced experience with the CS is impaired over the delay period. Rescorla (2007) provided evidence that this effect of time on nonreinforcement is not specific to extinction. He showed that a delay period can also reverse the reduction of responding established by a partial reinforcement schedule. Here we describe a series of experiments that attempted to confirm Rescorla’s finding and additionally assessed the impact of the delay on another well-known consequence of partial reinforcement—the partial reinforcement extinction effect (PREE). Like Rescorla, we used a Pavlovian conditioning procedure with rats, measuring magazine activity during a CS that signaled food. Unlike Rescorla, we did not find that responding acquired under partial reinforcement spontaneously increased after a delay; however, we did observe a significant reduction in the PREE after that delay. We conclude that the passage of time has a selective effect on the retrieval of memories of nonreinforcement. Therefore, time produces spontaneous recovery by impairing retrieval of extinction memories but also weakens the PREE by impairing retrieval of memories of nonreinforcement that were acquired during partial reinforcement. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 12 May 2022 00:00:00 GMT
       
 
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