Simple questions on simple associations: Regularity extraction in Papio papio


While associative learning has been studied for decades, the focus has tended to be on longer sequences. In this work, we conducted a series of experiments using a serial response time (RT) task with a group of Guinea baboons. We focused specifically on simple two-element AB regularities in a noisy sequence. We asked whether positioning within the sequence might impact learning rate. AB regularities were embedded in fixed positions (Exp. 1; beginning, middle, or end) or variable position (Exp. 2) within a four-element sequence. RT from A to B was measured during each 500-trial block. The slope of the line fit to these RTs was taken for each condition. While the slope of all of our experimental conditions differed significantly from our random (no regularity) baseline condition, we found strong evidence that the learning rate did not differ between the AB conditions. These results indicate that learning is not impacted by position in sequence, even when that position is variable.

Nov 4, 2021 — Nov 7, 2021