Inferential learning in rats: The problem-solving assembly of behavior segments

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40 pied rats were run in an enclosed maze consisting of 3 goal boxes and a starting box, each box different in color, shape, flooring, and construction, connected by 3 enclosed pathways. “ … each rat was given a series of reinforced trials over each segment. Two habits led to subgoals, while the third habit led to the major goal. The criterion of inferential behavior was defined as a significant proportion of rats choosing the path leading to the major goal on the first test trial.” The results failed to support the hypothesis that rats could combine 2 habits in sequence to reach a major goal. “Learning to solve problems inferentially was assumed to be the result of the combined effects of trial-and-error practice and inferential learning as mediated by r-sub(g)s. In the present study the learning that was observed to occur was interpreted as simple trial and error; there was no evidence that learning occurred when theoretically only the r-sub(g)s were involved.” From Psyc Abstracts 36:01:1EN31K. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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