Year of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Department or School/College
Department of Psychology
Allen Szalda-Petree, Nabil Haddad, Stuart Hall, Irene Appelbaum
duration discrimination, metacognition, rats, tones, uncertainty monitoring
University of Montana
Comparative psychologists have explored the metacognitive capabilities of rhesus monkeys, a capuchin monkey, an orangutan, a dolphin, pigeons, and rats. Previous research with rats has demonstrated inconsistent results (Foote & Crystal, 2007; Smith & Schull, 1989). In the current study, two Sprague-Dawley rats were tested in a tone-length discrimination task in which they were prompted to press one of two levers indicating "short" or "long" depending on the duration of a tone. They also had the option to opt out of some trials. If the subjects knew when they did not know the answer to the task, they were expected to opt-out more frequently as the difficulty of the task increased. They were also expected to demonstrate differences in accuracy for trials during which they could opt-out and trials in which they could not opt-out. Higher accuracies were expected on trials during which they could opt-out. One subject did not select the opt-out option during testing. The other subject did not use the opt-out option adaptively by opting out more as the difficulty of the stimulus discrimination increased. However, when comparing trials in which the subjects could not opt-out and those in which the subjects could opt-out, this subject demonstrated higher accuracies on trials in which he could opt-out. This provides some evidence that at least one rat knows when he does not know the answer to a duration-discrimination task. This experiment imparts clarification to previous research and provides further evidence for uncertainty monitoring among rats, lending greater understanding to the evolutionary development of uncertainty monitoring.
Angel, Leslie Anne, "Uncertainty Monitoring in Sprague-Dawley Rats (Rattus norvegicus)" (2010). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 1142.
© Copyright 2010 Leslie Anne Angel