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2005 | 65 | 1 | 39-49

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Ranking of memories and behavioral strategies in the radial maze


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New features of actual choice behavior and effortful information processing in rats were demonstrated in an eight-arm radial maze through modifications of a matching-to-sample task. Two attempts were allowed for a squad of hooded Sprague-Dawley rats (n=7) for finding a reward in a testing phase of the task. The results showed flexibility and sooner learning to matching rule on the second testing attempt that was only later followed by an improvement of choice accuracy on the first attempt. 'Hidden learning' on the second attempt could reflect memories and behavioral strategy, which were present, but not expressed on the first choice. The hypothesis was advanced that learning expressed on the second attempt reflects encoding of a matching rule, whereas improvement on the first choice reflects changes in the rank of acquired memories and behavioral strategy. A second experiment on the same squad of rats tested the ability of trained animals to rank already acquired memories. Following the introduction of the second sample to the study phase of the task, the rats learned to prefer to match the first sample in the testing phase, rearranging ranks of stored memories under the internal control of win?stay strategy. Alternative explanations of interference, trace decay and ranking were compared in order to account for the present results.




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Alex Stolberg, Mahshov Research Center R. Israeli Ltd., Alpha Building 13, Tel Aviv, 61571, Israel


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