Context-specific response inhibition and differential impact of a learning bias in a lizard

Szabo, Birgit; Noble, Daniel W. A.; Whiting, Martin J. (2019). Context-specific response inhibition and differential impact of a learning bias in a lizard. Animal Cognition, 22(3), pp. 317-329. Springer 10.1007/s10071-019-01245-6

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Response inhibition (inhibiting prepotent responses) is needed for reaching a more favourable goal in situations where reacting automatically would be detrimental. Inhibiting prepotent responses to resist the temptation of a stimulus in certain situations, such as a novel food item, can directly affect an animal’s survival. In humans and dogs, response inhibition varies between contexts and between individuals. We used two contextually different experiments to investigate response inhibition in the eastern water skink (Eulamprus quoyii): reversal of a visual two-choice discrimination and a cylinder detour task. During the two-choice task, half of our lizards were able to reach an initial learning criterion, but, thereafter, did not show consistent performance. Only two individuals reached a more stringent criterion, but subsequently failed during reversals. Furthermore, half of our animals were not able to inhibit a pre-existing side preference which affected their ability to learn during the two-choice task. Skinks were, however, able to achieve a detour around a cylinder performing at levels comparable to brown lemurs, marmosets, and some parrot species. A comparison between the tasks showed that reaching the initial criterion was associated with low success during the detour task, indicating that response inhibition could be context-specific in the water skink. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to examine inhibitory control and motor self-regulation in a lizard species.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Behavioural Ecology

UniBE Contributor:

Szabo, Birgit

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)

ISSN:

1435-9448

Publisher:

Springer

Funders:

[UNSPECIFIED] Macquarie University

Language:

English

Submitter:

Birgit Szabo

Date Deposited:

24 Nov 2020 09:25

Last Modified:

24 Nov 2020 09:25

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/s10071-019-01245-6

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.147983

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/147983

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