Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The nature of cognitive chunking processes in rat serial pattern learning
by Doyle, Karen E., Ph.D., Kent State University, 2013, 125; 3618899
Abstract (Summary)

Rats appear to use a cognitive chunking strategy during the presentation of an interleaved pattern where two distinct subpatterns are interleaved within one another (Fountain, Rowan, & Benson, 1999) . However, it is unclear how these distinct subpatterns are cognitively represented. Experiment 1 was designed to determine the extent to which rats may be chunking the subpatterns in an interleaved pattern. Groups were presented with a target subpattern (123456) akin to the second experiment of Fountain et al. (1999), and an interleaved subpattern (787878) which was manipulated between groups. Following acquisition, groups were transferred to a new interleaved subpattern (878787). Results from both initial acquisition and transfer conditions indicate that although the presence of pattern structure and cueing did improve initial pattern acquisition, rats did not solely employ a chunking strategy. Experiment 2 was designed to replicate Experiment 1 and to further explore possible interleaved pattern learning strategies. Rats were presented a target subpattern (123456) and a manipulated interleaved subpattern. Subpattern manipulations included changes in structure, cueing, and complexity of the interleaved subpattern. A transfer presented rats with the same interleaved pattern in a novel context. Results replicated Experiment 1 as structure and cueing manipulations affected interleaved pattern acquisition. Complexity of the subpattern did not show a consistent effect. Pattern performance was also affected during transfer to a novel context. The results from these experiments indicate that rats may be using a complex cognitive strategy to acquire and produce interleaved patterns. Rats may be combining several strategies including ordinal position, conditional discrimination learning, rule abstraction and chunking in order to complete this difficult task.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fountain, Stephen B.
Commitee: Crowther, Janis, Fountain, Stephen, Mintz, Eric, Norconk, Marilyn, Riccio, David
School: Kent State University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-B 75/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Behavioral Sciences, Cognitive psychology
Keywords: Chunking, Conditional discrimination, Interleaved patterns, Ordinal position learning, Serial pattern learning
Publication Number: 3618899
ISBN: 9781303874475
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