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“Artificial grammar learning” in pigeons: A preliminary analysis

Authors
  • Herbranson, Walter T.1
  • Shimp, Charles P.2
  • 1 Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington , Walla Walla
  • 2 University of Utah, Department of Psychology, 380 S. 1530 E., Rm 502, Salt Lake City, UT, 84112-0251 , Salt Lake City
Type
Published Article
Journal
Learning & Behavior
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2003
Volume
31
Issue
1
Pages
98–106
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3758/BF03195973
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
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Abstract

An avian analogue to humanartificial orsynthetic grammar learning (Reber, 1967) was developed. Pigeons viewed horizontal strings of three to eight colored letters. These strings either conformed to Reber’s artificial grammar or violated it in one or two locations. Pigeons categorized the letter strings asgrammatical (left keypeck) ornongrammatical (right keypeck). Overall accuracy of categorization was above chance to both familiar training strings and to novel transfer strings, thereby satisfying a conventional criterion for learning anabstract concept. The results support amultiple mechanisms point of view according to which pigeons, like humans, learn both abstract concepts and specific strings, or specific parts of strings, in artificial grammar learning tasks.

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