Letter | Published:

Learning in Two Sense-modalities

Naturevolume 191page308 (1961) | Download Citation



IN previous investigations1,2 monkeys were taught to discriminate between shapes or rates of intermittence exclusively in one sensory modality (say visual) and were afterwards tested with the same shapes or rates exclusively in another modality (say tactile for shapes or auditory for rates). There was no evidence of cross-modal transfer of training. A variation of this procedure was also briefly described1. Four animals first learnt to discriminate between two test objects exclusively by touch (in the dark) and were afterwards tested for 30 trials with the same objects (in the light) under conditions where the objects could be discriminated either by touch or by vision. Only one animal performed significantly better than chance in the light. It was concluded that “even when monkeys are constrained to touch the very cues which served as the basis for successful somato-sensory discrimination of shape or size on the preceding day, there is still no clear indication of positive transfer on visual testing” (p. 62). In the present investigation the converse procedure was used : animals were first trained to discriminate between test objects by vision and/or touch (in the light) and were afterwards tested with the same objects for discrimination by touch alone (in the dark).

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  1. 1

    Ettlinger, G., Behaviour, 16, 56 (1960).

  2. 2

    Burton, D., and Ettlinger, G., Nature, 186, 1071 (1960).

  3. 3

    Chorover, S. L., and Cole, M., J. Physiol., 156, 35P (1961).

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  1. Psychological Laboratory, Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London, W.C.1



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