Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Cylinder Task

  • Juan F. DuqueEmail author
  • Jeffrey R. Stevens
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1608-1



A task that measures inhibitory control – the ability to inhibit inappropriate or disadvantageous responses – using a reward placed within a transparent cylinder. Subjects must inhibit moving directly toward visible reward and instead reach through one of the cylinder openings at either end.


A lioness spots a gazelle several meters away on a hill, but a line of tall savannah grass separates her from her prey. She can proceed directly toward the gazelle, but crashing through the grass would alert the prey to her presence. Alternatively, she could inhibit the impulse to run straight toward the prey and detour around the tall grass to a better location from which to launch her attack. Similarly, a subordinate chimpanzee may inhibit its desire to mate or forage when in view of a dominant conspecific but seek those opportunities when out-of-view behind a barrier. Animals face many problems that require them to inhibit an...

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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  2. 2.Center for Brain, Biology and BehaviorUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA