Qualitative versus Directional Cues in Two Forms of Differentiation

Science  01 Jul 1966:
Vol. 153, Issue 3731, pp. 87-89
DOI: 10.1126/science.153.3731.87


Dogs given opportunities to base their instrumental conditioned responses in differentiation learning on either the quality of the auditory conditioned stimulus (for example, metronome versus buzzer) or the direction of its source (in front or behind) choose different cues in different tasks. In S1→ R1, S2→R2 (left leg-right leg) differentiation they exclusively use directional cues and are almost unable to learn this task when only quality cues are available. When confronted with Pavlovian S +→ R, S -→ no R (go-no go) differentiation, however, they generally learn on the basis of quality cues, although some animals also attend to the directional cues. Thus an animal's success or failure in a given differentiation procedure depends not only on its ability to discriminate the stimuli but also on the task with which it is confronted.