Animal Cognition

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 177–186

Cue competition effects in the planarian

Authors

    • School of PsychologyUniversity of Leicester
  • Beatriz Alvarez
    • School of PsychologyUniversity of Leicester
    • Facultad de PsicologíaUniversidad de Oviedo
  • Joanna Howarth
    • School of PsychologyUniversity of Leicester
  • Katharine Stewart
    • School of PsychologyUniversity of Leicester
  • Claire L. Gibson
    • School of PsychologyUniversity of Leicester
  • Claire V. Hutchinson
    • School of PsychologyUniversity of Leicester
  • Andrew M. J. Young
    • School of PsychologyUniversity of Leicester
  • Colin Davidson
    • Basic Medical SciencesSt George’s University of London
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10071-012-0561-3

Cite this article as:
Prados, J., Alvarez, B., Howarth, J. et al. Anim Cogn (2013) 16: 177. doi:10.1007/s10071-012-0561-3

Abstract

The learning abilities of planarian worms (Dugesia tigrina) were assessed by using a number of Pavlovian conditioning paradigms. Experiment 1 showed that planaria were susceptible to basic conditioning in that they readily developed a conditioned response to a change in ambient luminance when it was consistently paired with an electric shock over a number of trials. In Experiment 2, the change in luminance was presented in a compound with a vibration stimulus during conditioning. Subsequent tests revealed poor conditioning of the elements compared with control groups in which the animals were conditioned in the presence of the elements alone, an instance of overshadowing. In Experiment 3, pre-training of one of the elements before compound conditioning resulted in blocking of learning about the other element. These results add to other studies that have reported cue competition effects in animal species belonging to different phyla (chordate, mollusk, arthropod), suggesting that learning in these phyla could be ruled by similar principles. The results are discussed adopting an evolutionary-comparative approach.

Keywords

Invertebrate learningPavlovian conditioningOvershadowingBlocking

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012