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Chapter 12

Intro to Learning - Chapter 12

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Anneke Olthof

Learning – Chapter 12  Food Caching and Recovery o Avian and mammalian species store food in various places during times of plenty, and caches later to recover stored food items o Caching varies among species, within different populations of the same population and related to ecological factors o Food caching and recovery potentially involves many different factors  What food items to store  Perishables must be recovered in a timely manner  Where to store  Only useful if competitor cannot get your food o Caching and recovery is a rich source of information about comparative cognition o Spatial memory in food caching and recovery  Numerous studies focused on questions related to spatial memory and spatial learning and memory that is involved o Before conclusion that memory for specific spatial location involvement can be accepted, other possibilities have to be ruled out  Birds may find caches by searching randomly among possible cache sites  Store food in particular types of location  Mark food storage sites somehow, then look for these marks  Able to smell or see stored food o Balda and Kamil (1992)  Nutcrackers used spatial memory to find cache spots, can last as long as 285 days o Episodic memory in food caching and recovery  Episodic memory – memory for a specific event or episode, rather than facts or ways of doing things  Can be rich in detail  What happened, where it happened, and when it happened o Like reliving the past  Argued that episodic memory in nonhuman species has to have certain content  What happened, when it happened and where it happened o Has to be integrated into a coherent representation rather than independent bits  Available for flexible use in dealing with new problems  Western scrub jay ideal species for studying episodic memory  Caches perishable and non-perishable food o All year round  Tested for searching for peanuts and worms o 4 hours or 124 hours  4 hours – searched for worms more  124 hours – searched for peanuts  They have a preference for worms, compared to peanuts  Remembered which foods went in each area, and when it was stored  Timing o Cache recovery highly specialized type of behaviour o Timing is universally relevant, everything occurs across time o Behavioural and cognitive mechanisms responsible for temporal control of behaviour subject of research in the past 35 years o Time intervals significant for biological systems vary great deal in scale  Interval timing - intervals in range of seconds important for conditioning procedures o Must make sure that passage of time not correlated with external stimulus Brian Kwok 1 Learning – Chapter 12 o Techniques for studying the temporal control of behaviour  Duration estimation – discrimination procedure where discriminative stimulus is the duration of the event  Fetterman 1995 o Employed modified matching-to-sample procedure o Pigeons trained in experimental chamber that had 3 pecking keys  Red, amber or green key o Amber light was either 2 seconds or 10 seconds  Short reinforces red light  Long reinforces green o Once temporal discrimination established, can examine limits of discrimination by testing subjects with sample durations similar to training durations  Peak procedure – involves duration production instead of duration estimation  Begins with presentation of discriminative stimulus, after specified time interval, reward ready for delivery  Subject can then perform designated response to receive reward  Discrete-trial variation of fixed-interval schedule  Roberts 1981 o Animals tested in standard lever-press chamber o Some trials began with light, others with noise  Light – food presented after 20 seconds  Noise – after 40 seconds o Most trials ended when rats responded and obtained food  Some had extra long, continued for 80 seconds + o Results showed peak performances were near times when food was available o Properties of temporally controlled behaviour  Do organisms respond to time intervals in term of their absolute or relative durations?  Absolute – distinguishing between 3 and 9 seconds, consider than 9 is 6 seconds longer than 3  Relative – consider 9s to be 3x as long as 3s o Scalar invariance – units of time scale are invariant, as long as they have the same proportion  Does timing process continue during interruption or is it also interrupted?  Roberts 1981 o Dark experimental chamber  Started with presentation of light  Food set up 40s after start  Special trials without food reinforcement  Light turned off for 10 seconds after start  Timing process interrupted when break was introduced, but after the break, trial continues where it left off o Models of timing  What mechanisms are involved that permit organisms to respond on the basis of temporal information  Time is not a physical reality  Human invention  If time is a conceptual abstraction, models of timing tend to be fairly abstract  Scalar Expectancy Theory (SET) Brian Kwok 2 Learning – Chapter 12  First and most influential account of timing, proposed by Gibbon and Chrch  Similar to an hourglass  Result of three independent processes o Clock process  Key component – pacemaker that generates pulses at certain rte  Fed to a switch, which is opened at start of interval to be timed  Allows pulses to go to accumulator that counts number of pulses that come through  Accumulated pulses – greater the number, longer the interval o Memory process  Number of accumulated pulses relayed to memory process  Information is stored in working memory  Contents in working and reference memory are then compared o Decision process  If not matching enough, then no response  If similar, then response occurs Clock Process Pacemaker -> Switch -> Accumulator Memory Process Working Memory - - -> Reference Memory Decision Process ->Comparator R If no -> no R  Behavioural theory of timing (BET)  Follows Gibbon-Church model in postulating existence of pacemaker o Role of pacemaker in BET is quite different  Based on observation that systematic time-related behaviours emerge in situations where primary basis for reinforcer delivery is the passage of time  Adjunctive behaviours – activities akin to pacing or finger tapping that people engage in during periods of forced waiting o Not required to pass time  Focuses on successive behavioural states activated by periodic presentations of food o Adjunctive responses assumed to reflect a pacemaker  Read their adjunctive behaviour to tell time  Oscillators instead of pacemakers  Another approach is that it is mediated by oscillators rather than pacemakers o Pendulum rather than an hourglass  Goes through predictable sequence of events o Repeated cycles with fixed periods  Can operate over short period, or long period  Most species show daily variations in activity and body temperature (circadian rhythm) o Humans are diurnal (active during the day) o Rats are nocturnal (active at night)  Circadian rhythms persist even if individuals are put in a constant light environment  Serial list learning o Stimuli may occur randomly or independently of each other  May also involve orderly sequence of events o Interested in whether animals can learn order of stimuli series, how they form representations of serial order, how they use those representations Brian Kwok 3 Learning – Chapter 12 o Possible bases of serial list behaviour  Several ways to respond to a series of stimuli  Learning which response goes with which stimulus o Response chain – each response produces the stimulus for the next
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