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Revaluation of geometric cues reduces landmark discrimination via within-compound associations.

Austen, J. M. and McGregor, A. (2014) 'Revaluation of geometric cues reduces landmark discrimination via within-compound associations.', Learning and behavior., 42 (4). pp. 330-336.


Rats were trained in a triangular water maze in which a compound of geometric and landmark cues indicated the position of a submerged platform. Rats that then underwent revaluation of the geometric cues in the absence of the landmarks subsequently failed to discriminate between the landmarks. In contrast, those animals that received geometry training consistent with their previous experience of the geometry–landmark compound continued to discriminate the landmark cues. The experiment showed that within-compound associations had formed between the geometry and landmarks, and that representations of absent geometric cues could be evoked via presentation of the landmark cues alone. We argue that these evoked representations of the absent geometry cues can counteract any overshadowing of the landmark by geometry cues, and may sometimes result in potentiation. The results of this study do not support theories of cue-competition failure based on independent cue processing, but remain readily explicable by appeal to an account based on within-compound associations.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Cue competition, Spatial learning, Within-compound association, Water maze, Geometry.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:The final publication is available at Springer via
Date accepted:21 July 2014
Date deposited:18 February 2015
Date of first online publication:15 August 2014
Date first made open access:No date available

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