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Cross-modal Transfer of Intensity Discrimination by Rats


CROSS-MODAL transfer of the effects of discrimination training has frequently been obtained with humans1,2 but not lower animals. Several studies have shown that monkeys trained to differentiate geometrical forms by touch learn little3 or nothing4,5relevant to the visual solution of the same problem. Several factors may limit transfer in these conditions. Tactile and visual versions of what is ostensibly the same problem could emphasize dissimilar stimulus features so that animals attend to different properties when learning in the two modalities3. The marked change in experimental conditions from dark to light may also disrupt performance. These difficulties can be overcome by using as discriminanda diffuse stimuli which vary along a single stimulus dimension such as intensity, and by studying visual–auditory transfer.

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OVER, R., MACKINTOSH, N. Cross-modal Transfer of Intensity Discrimination by Rats. Nature 224, 918–919 (1969).

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