Asymmetry in the discrimination of length during spatial learning

Yutaka Kosaki*, Peter M. Jones, John M. Pearce

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The ability of rats to solve a discrimination between two objects that differ in length was investigated in five experiments. Using a rectangular swimming pool, Experiment 1 revealed it is easier to locate a submerged platform when it is near the center of a long rather than a short wall. For Experiments 2-4, the objects were black or white panels pasted onto the gray walls of a square pool, with two long panels pasted to two opposing walls and two short panels pasted to the remaining walls. The platform was easier to locate when it was placed near the middle of a long rather than a short panel. This effect was found when the long panels were twice (Experiments 2-4) or four times the length of the short panels (Experiment 4). Experiment 5 demonstrated that rats can solve a discrimination between panels of length 15 and 45 cm more readily than when they are 70 and 100 cm. The results are consistent with the claim that generalization gradients based on stimulus magnitude are steeper for stimuli that are weaker rather than stronger than the stimulus used for the original training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-356
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Oct
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive map
  • Generalization of intensity
  • Magnitude discrimination
  • Spatial learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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