Asymmetrical generalization of length in the rat

Yutaka Kosaki*, John M. Pearce

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Two groups of rats in Experiment 1 were required to escape from a square pool by swimming to 1 of 2 submerged platforms that were situated beside the centers of 2 opposite walls. To help rats find a platform, black panels of equal width were pasted to the middle of the walls that were adjacent to the platforms. The width of the 2 panels was 50 cm for Group 50, and 100 cm for Group 100. Test trials were then conducted in the same pool, but with the platforms removed and with a 50-cm panel on 1 wall and a 100-cm panel on the opposite wall. Group 50 expressed a stronger preference for the 100-cm than the 50-cm panel during the test, whereas Group 100 expressed a similar preference for both panels. Thus the degree of generalization from the short to the long panel was greater than from the long to the short panel. Experiments 2 and 3 pointed to the same conclusion. They were of a similar design to Experiment 1, except that the lengths of the panels for the 2 groups were 25 and 50 cm in Experiment 2, and 25 and 100 cm in Experiment 3. The results are explained by assuming the original training results in the walls without black panels entering into inhibitory associations. This inhibition is then assumed to generalize more to the short than the long test panels and thereby result in an asymmetry in the gradients of generalization between the different lengths.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-276
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jul
Externally publishedYes


  • Discrimination of length
  • Generalization of magnitude
  • Spatial learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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