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Behavioral strategies in multiple temporal discriminations in rats

Grant number: 14/22918-2
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2015
Effective date (End): September 30, 2016
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Experimental Psychology
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal researcher:Marcelo Salvador Caetano
Grantee:Estela Braga Nepomoceno
Home Institution: Centro de Matemática, Computação e Cognição (CMCC). Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC). Ministério da Educação (Brasil). Santo André , SP, Brazil


Rats can learn to discriminate multiple time intervals when the different intervals are signaled by different stimuli. After many sessions of training, the discriminative stimuli control temporal performance. This is illustrated by an increase in response rate which occurs earlier when the stimulus associated with the shorter interval is presented as opposed to when the stimulus associated with a longer interval is presented (i.e., rats learn to use the stimulus as a cue to the time interval in effect). The order in which the different pairs of stimuli-intervals are trained - in successive blocks of many trials per pair vs. intermixing the different pairs within each training session - plays a crucial role in determining the strategy adopted by rats to learn the different temporal intervals and predict when food will be available. When trained with intermixed trials, the different stimuli control temporal performance; when trained in blocks of many consecutive trials of the same stimulus-interval pair, one pair per session, rats adjust the timing of their responses quickly after each change, which suggests that the discriminative stimuli do not acquire control over temporal performance. This project aims to describe the conditions of training under which the stimuli assume control over temporal performance in rats. More precisely, the goal is to evaluate the importance of the number of stimulus-interval pairs trained (Experiment I), the number of trials per block (Experiment II) and the discrimination difficulty between the different stimuli (Experiment III) for the acquisition of temporal control by the stimuli. As some of these questions have been explored with human participants as well, this project will contribute to the understanding of learning strategies that can be applied to human behavior. (AU)

Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
NEPOMOCENO, ESTELA B.; CRAVO, ANDRE M.; REYES, MARCELO B.; CAETANO, MARCELO S. Temporal regularity and stimulus control in multiple fixed interval schedules. Behavioural Processes, v. 171, FEB 2020. Web of Science Citations: 0.

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