Reversal Learning and Forgetting in Bird and Fish

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Science  27 Oct 1967:
Vol. 158, Issue 3800, pp. 519-521
DOI: 10.1126/science.158.3800.519


Pigeons and goldfish were trained in red-green discrimination in daily sessions, with the rewarded color changed every 2 days. Improvement in the performance of the pigeons could be traced to decrements in retention from each day to the next. The goldfish showed no improvement and no decrements in retention. The results suggest that progressive improvement in habit reversal is a product of proactive interference, and that the absence of improvement in the fish is due, not to the lack of some higher-order process which operates to produce improvement in higher vertebrates, but to a difference in learning-retention mechanisms.