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Symmetry Evaluation by Comparing Acquisition of Conditional Relations in Successive (Go/No-Go) Matching-to-Sample Training

Abstract

The successive matching-to-sample (go/no-go) procedure has been shown to be an effective procedure for reducing stimulus-control digressions in conditional-relation training with nonhuman subjects. In addition, comparison of acquisition between symmetrical and nonsymmetrical conditional discriminations may be one effective way to evaluate the properties of equivalence relations. This study evaluated symmetry (one of the properties of equivalence relations) using both of these methods with two capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp.). The acquisition of symmetric (Condition A) and nonsymmetric (Condition B) conditional discriminations was compared. In both conditions, two forward (AB) and two backward (BA) relations were simultaneously trained. New stimuli were used in each condition. The data demonstrated that the method reported here was an efficient way to assess the property of symmetry, which was clearly present in the conditional relations learned by one of the subjects (Conditions A1 and A2) and possibly absent in the conditional relations learned by the other (Condition A1). The present study supports the argument that the comparison of the acquisition of forward and backward relations, that are trained simultaneously, is a promising procedure for evaluating the properties of equivalence relations in nonhuman subjects.

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Acknowledgments

This research was supported by grants from the Brazilian Coordination for Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) to the first author and from the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technologic Development (CNPq) to the second author. Additional support was provided by the Research Support Foundation of São Paulo State (FAPESP 08/57705-8) to the National Institute of Science and Technology on Behavior, Cognition and Education (INCT-ECCE).

Concerning our animals, readers of past articles from our laboratory may wonder why we have not mentioned the capuchin species Cebus apella in this text. Until recently, capuchins were broadly termed Cebus monkeys. Now, they are divided into two genera (cf. Alfaro et al. 2012): Sapajus (tufted) and Cebus (untufted). Our monkeys are of the former genus.

We thank Klena Sarges for medical-veterinarian assistance and Edilson F. Pastana for managing the animals. We also thank Olavo Galvão for sharing laboratory facilities, Gerson Tomanari for discussing the data with us, and Karen Lionello-DeNolf for reviewing previous version of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Carlos R. F. Picanço.

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Picanço, C.R.F., Barros, R.S. Symmetry Evaluation by Comparing Acquisition of Conditional Relations in Successive (Go/No-Go) Matching-to-Sample Training. Psychol Rec 65, 131–139 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40732-014-0096-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40732-014-0096-x

Keywords

  • Equivalence classes
  • Symmetry
  • Go/no-go
  • Sapajus spp