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Formation of chained instrumental skills in rats with different history of the preceding learning

Keywords:

E.A. Kuzina – Junior Research Scientist, Institute of Psychology RAS, Laboratory of Psychophysiology n.a. V.B. Schyrkov (Moscow)
E-mail: ehofir@mail.ru


The task of the present study was to compare behavioral performance during learning a two-pedal chained sequence in two group of Long-Evans rats (6 males and 6 females, 7-15 months) that had previously acquired a different number of simple (not chained) skills: one group of rats (n=7) had learned two similar one-pedal operant behaviors on the opposite sides of the experimental cage, and a second group (n=5) – only one of simple skills. The two-pedal sequence in both groups always began with the pedal that was the first in the history of learning, and a second pedal was located in the middle of the cage. We found that both groups of rats learned the very first one-pedal skill significantly faster than two-pedal chain, though the first group performed more slowly during the first one-pedal learning than during training in the two-pedal task, in contrast to the second group that had the opposite proportion of durations on these tasks. It appeared that significant decrease of a mean cycle duration in the first group occurred during learning a second one-pedal skill. When comparing the performance of two groups of rats in the course of four days’ training on the two-pedal sequence we found that the first group had significantly more “test” cycles per minute. It can be supposed that shorter mean cycle duration and larger overall proportions of effective and “test” cycles in rats that had learned two similar one-pedal skills, can be related to the possibility of a simultaneous actualization of components of experience in this domain that emerged during learning a second simple behaviour, while the development of relevant components and their interrelations in a second group began with the start of the two-pedal sequence learning.
This work was supported by Russian Science Foundation grants №14-28-00229.

References:
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