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ERIC Number: EJ902391
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Nov
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0023-9690
Concurrent Cognitive Processes in Rat Serial Pattern Learning: Item Memory, Serial Position, and Pattern Structure
Muller, Melissa D.; Fountain, Stephen B.
Learning and Motivation, v41 n4 p252-272 Nov 2010
Three experiments examined the processes mediating rat serial pattern learning for rule-consistent versus rule-violating pattern elements ("violation elements"). In all three experiments, rats were trained to press retractable levers in a circular array in a specific sequence for brain-stimulation reward (BSR). Experiment 1 examined the role of lever location (L) and element serial position (SP) cues in rats' ability to learn to anticipate a violation element positioned at the end of a 24-element serial pattern. Rats with L cues either alone or in combination with SP cues learned to anticipate the violation element, whereas those with SP cues alone did not. Rats in groups L and L + SP underwent a series of transfers designed to remove various cues that might have controlled their performance on the violation element. Results indicated that intra-chamber lever location cues mediated performance on the violation element whereas performance on rule-consistent elements within pattern chunks was mediated by an internal mnemonic representation that was insensitive to changes in lever location cues. Experiment 2 examined whether rats could learn to use SP cues alone to anticipate a violation element if it was positioned earlier in a serial pattern. Rats learned to anticipate the violation element based on SP cues alone when it was located in SP6 in a 24-element pattern, but not when it was in SP12. Experiment 3 examined whether or not rats spontaneously encode information about chunk length and the serial position of phrasing cues in serial patterns. Rats were trained to a high criterion on the serial pattern used in Experiment 1, then were challenged with three probe patterns that manipulated both chunk length and overall pattern length. Results indicated that rats spontaneously encoded information regarding the serial position of phrasing cues in relation to chunk length. Thus, rats appear to use at least three cognitive processes concurrently in serial pattern learning tasks, namely, item memory involving external discriminative cues, counting- or timing-like processes for encoding serial position, and rule abstraction for encoding an internal representation of pattern structure. (Contains 6 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A