Michael J. Beran, Ph.D.
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Last updated: 
September 1, 2021

 

 

Flemming, T. M., Beran, M. J., & Washburn, D. A. (2007). Disconnect in concept learning by rhesus monkeys: Judgment of relations and relations-between-relations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 33, 55-63.

We investigated the role that entropy measures, discriminative cues, and symbolic knowledge play for rhesus monkeys in the acquisition of the concepts of same and different for use in a computerized relational matching-to-sample (RMTS) task. After repeatedly failing to perceive relations between pairs of stimuli in a two-choice discrimination paradigm, monkeys rapidly learned to discriminate between 8-element arrays. Subsequent tests with smaller arrays, however, suggest that, although important for the initial acquisition of the concept, entropy is not a variable on which monkeys are dependent. Not only do monkeys choose a corresponding relational pair in the presence of a cue, but they also choose the cue itself in the presence of the relational pair--in essence, labeling those relations. Subsequent failure in the judgment of relations-between-relations, however, suggests that perhaps a qualitatively different cognitive component exists that prevents monkeys from behaving analogically.

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