PS261 Chapter Notes - Chapter 11: Morris Water Navigation Task, Procedural Memory, Spatial Memory
37 views12 pages
- Exploring cognitive skills of animals tells us about the uniqueness of various human
What is Comparative Cognition?
- Commonly referred to as through processes
- Thinking is regarded as voluntary, deliberate and conscious reflection on some topic, usually
- Comparative cognition can lead to actions that cannot be explained on the basis of the
- Cognitive Ethology: claim that animals are capable of conscious thought and intentionality.
- The claim that nonhuman animals are capable of consciousness and intentionality is based on
the complexity, flexibility, and cleverness of various examples of animal behaviour.
- Comparative cognition does not imply anything about awareness, consciousness, or verbal
reasoning, rather it refers to the theoretical constructions and models used to explain aspects
of behaviour that cannot be readily characterized in terms of simple S-R or reflex
- Cognitive mechanisms: involve an internal representation or “mental” record of something,
and rules for manipulating that mental record.
o Internal representations may encode various types of information, such as particular
features of stimuli or relations between stimuli.
o They cannot however be investigated directly by looking into the brain.
Animal Memory Paradigms:
- Memory: is commonly used to refer to the ability to respond on the basis of information that
was acquired earlier.
o Memory is existent in animals as identified by the fact that their current behaviour is
based on some aspect of their earlier experiences.
- Evidence of learning is also identified on the bass of changes in behaviour due to earlier
- Phases of Learning and Memory
1. Acquisition: exposure to a certain kind of stimuli or information.
a. Learning: the study is primarily on the acquisition phase.
i. They involve manipulations of the conditions of acquisition.
b. Memory: study acquisition only to the extent that it is relevant to
retention and retrieval.
2. Retention Interval: the information that was acquired is then retained for some
a. Learning: retention interval is typically not varied and is always fairly
long (short-term changes in behaviour are not considered to be learning)
b. Memory: interval is often varied to determine how the availability of the
acquired information changes with time.
3. Retrieval: reactivation of the information that is encountered during acquisition.
a. Learning: conditions of retrieval are kept constant.
b. Memory: testing on circumstances of retrieval.
i. Different conditions of retrieval.
- Learning tests on acquisition whereas memory tests are more focused on retention interval
- Memory Mechanisms have been classified in various ways depending on what is
remembered, and how long the memory lasts, and the mechanisms involved in the memory.
- Schachter and Tulving: Five types of Memory
1. Procedural Memory
2. Perceptual Memory
3. Semantic Memory
4. Primary or Working Memory
5. Episodic or Declarative Memory
- Research on classical or instrumental conditions involve procedural memory
o Procedural memory: reflects knowledge about relationships among features of the
environment and mediates the learning of behaviour and cognitive skills that are
- Studies of comparative cognition have examined episodic memory
o Episodic memory: is memory for specific events.
Working and Reference Memory
- Study: Hunter;
o Simple memory task
o Phase one:
Placed rats into an apparatus consisting of a start area from which the animals
could enter into one of three goal boxes
Only one goal box had food in it on each trial and the goal box with the food
was marked by turning on the light above it at the start of the trial.
Animals learned to choose goal box with light.
o Second phase:
Light on top of the goal box remained on for very short period of time, then
turn off while animals were detained in start area for various lengths.
This forced the animals to remember which goal box was light up in order to
find the food.
o The longer the animals were delayed, the more likely they were to make a mistake.
o Problem: once the trial was finished the information they learned in this procedure
was no longer useful in the next trial because the food could be in any one of the goal
boxes – this tests for working memory.
- Working Memory: is operative when information has to be retained only long enough t
complete a particular task, after which the information is best discarded because it is not
needed or may interfere with successful completion of the next trial.
o It is often short lasting
o E.g. of working memory is the retention, for a limited duration, of recently acquired
- Reference Memory: is long-term retention of information necessary for the successful use of
incoming and recently acquired information.
o Information about the relation between the light and the food had to be remember on
all trials which was using reference memory.
- Delayed-matching-to-sample: which is a laboratory procedure that was developed with
much regard for the behavioural pre-dispositions of animals and can be adapted to the study
of how animals remember a variety of different events.
- Species-specific-behavioural-specialization: test spatial memory, or memory for particular
Delayed Matching to Sample (DMTS)
- refinement of Hunters original procedure.
- Tests on participants with schizophrenia.
o Phase One:
Participants are exposed to a cue that identifies the correct response on a
Stimuli is removed before the participant can perform the behaviour.
Stimuli consisted of dark and light voxels and were presented for 500
milliseconds, followed by the choice alternatives.
Responding to the choice stimulus that was the same as the sample was the
The location of the alternative could not be used as a basis for making the
The test stimuli appeared right after the sample and remained available until
the subject made a choice.
o Phase Two:
Once the subject learned to make the correct choice 80% of the time a four or
eight-second delay was introduced.
The two groups preformed very well when matching did not include a delay
however, participants showed a deficit in performance when trials included
When there was a delay participants showed a deficit in performed indicting a
problem with working memory.
- This procedure was adapted to investigate how animals remember a variety of stimuli,
including visual shapes, numbers of responses performed, presence or absence of reward etc.
- Matching to sample is also useful to address questions that extend beyond memory
mechanism into nonverbal ways of communication.
Procedural Determinants of DMTS
- Critical aspects to determining the accuracy f performance
1. Natural of the stimulus that serves as the sample
2. Duration of exposure to the sample at the start of the trial
3. Delay interval after the sample.
- tested pigeons in a skinner box that had three pecking keys in a row on one wall above the
- The keys were colours, which could be projected on the pecking keys.
- At the start of each trial they center key was illuminated with a white light
- The pigeon was required to peck the white light to make sure it was facing the response keys.
Exploring cognitive skills of animals tells us about the uniqueness of various human cognitive skills. Thinking is regarded as voluntary, deliberate and conscious reflection on some topic, usually involving language. Comparative cognition can lead to actions that cannot be explained on the basis of the external stimuli. Cognitive ethology: claim that animals are capable of conscious thought and intentionality. The claim that nonhuman animals are capable of consciousness and intentionality is based on the complexity, flexibility, and cleverness of various examples of animal behaviour. Cognitive mechanisms: involve an internal representation or mental record of something, and rules for manipulating that mental record. Internal representations may encode various types of information, such as particular features of stimuli or relations between stimuli: they cannot however be investigated directly by looking into the brain. Evidence of learning is also identified on the bass of changes in behaviour due to earlier experiences.