Pigeons perform poorly on a midsession reversal task without rigid temporal regularity

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Animals make surprising anticipatory and perseverative errors when faced with a midsession reversal of
    reinforcer contingencies on a choice task with highly predictable stimulus–time relationships. In the current study,
    we asked whether pigeons would anticipate changes in
    reinforcement when the reinforcer contingencies for each
    stimulus were not fixed in time. We compared the
    responses of pigeons on a simultaneous choice task when
    the initially correct stimulus was randomized or alternated
    across sessions. Pigeons showed more errors overall compared with the typical results of a standard midsession
    reversal procedure, and they did not show the typical
    anticipatory errors prior to the contingency reversal. Probe
    tests that manipulated the spacing between trials also
    suggested that timing of the session exerted little control of
    pigeons’ behavior. The temporal structure of the experimental session thus appears to be an important determinant
    for animals’ use of time in midsession reversal procedures.

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  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
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  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International