Four experiments examined the ability of quokkas (Setonix brachyurus) and fat-tailed dunnarts (Sminthopsis crassicaudata) to solve 2 configural tasks: transverse and negative patterning. Transverse patterning requires the simultaneous solution of 3 overlapping discrimination problems (A+ B-, B+ C-, C+ A-). Both species could solve the nonoverlapping (elemental) version of this task (U+ V-, W+ X-, Y+ Z-), but only dunnarts solved the transverse patterning task. Negative patterning requires conditioned responses to 2 stimuli when presented separately but not together (A+, B+, AB-). Both species formed a selective conditioned response to A+ and B+ stimuli and inhibited responding to a simple nonreinforced stimulus (C-), but only dunnarts successfully inhibited responding to the AB- compound to solve the negative patterning task. These experiments are the first to demonstrate configural learning in a marsupial.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Psychology (miscellaneous)