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J Exp Anal Behav. 1989 Nov;52(3):237-48.

Relational and absolute stimulus learning by monkeys in a memory task.

Author information

1
University of Texas Health Science Center, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Houston.

Abstract

Three experiments showed stimulus control by either the absolute properties of probe stimuli, relational properties of the probe-list relationship, or both in a serial probe recognition memory task in which a four-item memory list was followed by a single probe (test) item. In Experiment 1, 3 rhesus monkeys received 39 to 75 repetitions of the same 24-trial stimulus sequence. Special tests showed stimulus control by the absolute properties of the probe stimuli. Retention of previous relational control was demonstrated by the good transfer (83%) to novel list and probe stimuli at the beginning of Experiment 2. During Experiment 2, control by absolute properties of the probe stimuli gradually reoccurred. Only a small measure of control by list stimuli could be detected or promoted. In Experiment 3, 4 monkeys were shown to have largely lost their ability to perform on the basis of the list-probe relationship, and were performing primarily on the basis of the absolute properties of the probe stimuli. Over the next 15 weeks, these monkeys were transferred to new stimuli at the beginning of each week. Control by the relational aspects of the task gradually returned. As transfer performance increased, control by the absolute properties of the probe stimuli was eliminated. The results are discussed in terms of stimulus control and performance strategies used by the monkeys.

PMID:
2584915
PMCID:
PMC1339178
DOI:
10.1901/jeab.1989.52-237
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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