Article: article from journal or magazin.
Spatial learning by rats across visually disconnected environments
Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. B, Comparative and Physiological Psychology
Comparative Study Journal Article --- Old month value: Feb
Two spatial tasks were designed to test specific properties of spatial representation in rats. In the first task, rats were trained to locate an escape hole at a fixed position in a visually homogeneous arena. This arena was connected with a periphery where a full view of the room environment existed. Therefore, rats were dependent on their memory trace of the previous position in the periphery to discriminate a position within the central region. Under these experimental conditions, the test animals showed a significant discrimination of the training position without a specific local view. In the second task, rats were trained in a radial maze consisting of tunnels that were transparent at their distal ends only. Because the central part of the maze was non-transparent, rats had to plan and execute appropriate trajectories without specific visual feedback from the environment. This situation was intended to encourage the reliance on prospective memory of the non-visited arms in selecting the following move. Our results show that acquisition performance was only slightly decreased compared to that shown in a completely transparent maze and considerably higher than in a translucent maze or in darkness. These two series of experiments indicate (1) that rats can learn about the relative position of different places with no common visual panorama, and (2) that they are able to plan and execute a sequence of visits to several places without direct visual feed-back about their relative position.
Animals Behavior, Animal *Discrimination Learning Feedback Male Maze Learning *Memory *Orientation Rats *Space Perception
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