Subproblem learning and reversal of a multidimensional visual cue in a lizard: evidence for behavioural flexibility?

Szabo, Birgit; Noble, Daniel W.A.; Byrne, Richard W.; Tait, David S.; Whiting, Martin J. (2018). Subproblem learning and reversal of a multidimensional visual cue in a lizard: evidence for behavioural flexibility? Animal behaviour, 144, pp. 17-26. Elsevier Ltd. 10.1016/j.anbehav.2018.07.018

[img] Text
1-s2.0-S0003347218302422-main.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (698kB) | Request a copy

Behavioural flexibility, the ability to adjust behaviour to environmental change by adapting existing skills to novel situations, is key to coping with, for example, complex social interactions, seasonal changes in food availability or detecting predators. We tested the tree skink, Egernia striolata, a family-living skink
from eastern Australia, in a set-shifting paradigm of eight colour/shape discriminations including reversals, an intradimensional acquisition of a new colour/shape and extradimensional shift from colour to shape (and vice versa). Skinks could learn to discriminate between colour/shape pairs and reverse this initial stimulusereward association; however, they showed no significant decrease in the probability of making a correct choice in the extradimensional shift suggesting that they did not form an attentional set. Subjects appear to have learnt each stage as a new problem instead of generalizing stimuli into specific dimensions (set formation). In conclusion, tree skinks solved a discrimination reversal by focusing their attention towards visual stimuli and flexibly adjusting their choice behaviour accordingly. These lizards learned to use multidimensional visual stimuli to find a food reward but did not generalize stimuli into dimensions. Furthermore, this study is the first to test for set shifting in a lizard species and thereby allows us to extend set-shifting theory to a new taxon for comparison with primates, rodents, a bird and a turtle.

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:

0003-3472

Publisher:

Elsevier Ltd.

Funders:

Organisations 0 not found.; [UNSPECIFIED] Macquarie University

Language:

English

Submitter:

Birgit Szabo

Date Deposited:

24 Nov 2020 09:50

Last Modified:

24 Nov 2020 09:50

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.anbehav.2018.07.018

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.147984

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/147984

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback