Testing Analogical Transfer in Pigeons (Columba livia) and Humans (Homo sapiens)
Abstract: Categorization allows organisms to behave appropriately to novelty.
In a recent method, categorization has been investigated with stimuli that vary
parametrically in their features. Previous research has found that primates can approach
this task using rules, whereas pigeons only use associative processing. Furthermore, using
these stimuli, analogical transfer has been demonstrated i... read moren primates by testing stimuli in
a new region of the feature space after restricted training. However, the fundamental
dimensionality of the task seems to generate such "analogical transfer," regardless of
rule-based processing mechanisms. Here, seven pigeons were successfully trained and tested
with that original task to determine whether they show effects of analogical transfer. The
pigeons were then further tested to determine the generality of their solution to the
discrimination task. To explain their results, an association-based model of the task is
developed using neural networks with a stimulus representation that is configural or
dimensional. A method was developed to determine the likelihood of this association-based
responding and evaluated against the pigeons' data. Finally, comparable human data was
collected and the performance was analyzed to determine whether human procedural learning
conforms to this unbound, dimensional stimulus representation. The impact of this shift in
fundamental representation on our understanding of human cognition and categorization
behavior more broadly is discussed.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2017.
Submitted to the Dept. of Psychology.
Advisors: Robert Cook, and Matthias Scheutz.
Committee: Holly Taylor, and F. Greg Ashby.
Keywords: Cognitive psychology, and Computer science.read less