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J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Process. 1997 Apr;23(2):232-47.

Rats use an ordinal timer in a daily time-place learning task.

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Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Rats received 2 daily sessions in a large clear chamber. A lever was mounted on each of the 4 chamber walls. For each rat, a different lever provided food during 0930 and 1530 sessions. The rats learned which lever would provide food at 0930 and 1530. Probe tests suggested that the rats learned to press 1 lever during their 1st session of each day and to then press a 2nd lever during their 2nd session of each day. We propose that this knowledge of the order of a set of events within a period of time constitutes ordinal timing. We contrast the temporal information provided by ordinal, phase, and interval timing and consider why multiple timing systems have evolved in animals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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