Associative Change in Connectionist Networks: An Addendum.

School of Psychology, Cardiff University, UK.
Journal of Experimental Psychology Animal Behavior Processes (Impact Factor: 1.95). 07/2005; 31(3):363-7. DOI: 10.1037/0097-7403.31.3.363
Source: PubMed


The results of a recent study have provided direct support for the suggestion that conditional learning in rats is best characterized by a 3-layer connectionist network (M. J. Allman, J. Ward-Robinson, & R. C. Honey, 2004). In the 2 experiments reported here, rats were used to investigate the nature of the changes that occur when a stimulus compound is presented, whose components activate hidden units associated with food and no food, and either food or no food is presented. The results of both experiments, while controlling for the possible contribution of associations between these hidden units (within-layer links), provide evidence that the distribution of associative change between units in the hidden layer that are activated by the stimulus compound and those in the output layer (between-layer links) are unequal. They also indicate that associative change is more marked on trials on which no food was presented than on trials on which food was presented.

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    ABSTRACT: In 2 experiments, rats received preexposure to 2 compound contexts: AB and CD for the congruent group and AC and BD for the incongruent group. Subsequently, all rats received a configural discrimination in which separate placement in contexts A or B indicated that presentations of stimulus X would be followed by food and presentations of Y would not, and separate placement in contexts C and D indicated that Y would be followed by food and X would not. In both experiments, rats in the congruent group acquired the conditional discrimination more rapidly than those in the incongruent group. These results are inconsistent with conventional associative accounts of either stimulus preexposure effects or configural learning and instead provide support for a connectionist account.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2006 · Journal of Experimental Psychology Animal Behavior Processes