Published On: 27/06/2014|Categories: 2013–2017, Vol.35 (2), Vol.35 (2014)|

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The extraction of abstract rules and their generalization to new items has been proposed to be at the heart of higher cognitive functions such as language. Research with animals has shown that various species can extract rather complex patterns from the input, as well as establish abstract same/different relations. However, much of these findings have been observed after extensive training procedures. Here, we tested rats’ capacity to discriminate and generalize tone triplets that entailed a repetition from triplets that followed an ordinal, non-repeating pattern following a relatively short discrimination training procedure in a water T-maze. Our findings demonstrate that, under this procedure and after only 12 sessions, rats can learn to discriminate both patterns when a reliable difference in pitch variations is present across them (Experiment 1). When differences in pitch are eliminated (Experiment 2), no discrimination between patterns is found. Results suggest a procedure based on a water T-maze might be used to explore discrimination of acoustic patterns in rodents.

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