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ERIC Number: EJ991430
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-May
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Metacognitive Monkeys or Associative Animals? Simple Reinforcement Learning Explains Uncertainty in Nonhuman Animals
Le Pelley, M. E.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v38 n3 p686-708 May 2012
Monkeys will selectively and adaptively learn to avoid the most difficult trials of a perceptual discrimination learning task. Couchman, Coutinho, Beran, and Smith (2010) have recently demonstrated that this pattern of responding does not depend on animals receiving trial-by-trial feedback for their responses; it also obtains if experience of the most difficult trials occurs only under conditions of deferred feedback. Couchman et al. argued that this ruled out accounts based on low-level processes of associative learning and instead required explanation in terms of metacognitive processes of decision monitoring. Contrary to this argument, a simple associative model of reinforcement learning is shown to account for the key findings of Couchman et al.'s empirical study, along with several other findings that have previously been claimed to challenge associative models. (Contains 12 figures and 9 footnotes.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A