Transitive Inference in Pigeons: Control for Differential Value Transfer

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Psychonomic Bulletin and Review




Transitive inference (TI) effects have been demonstrated in several nonhuman species using a nonverbal version of the task in which A is better than B is represented in a simple simultaneous discrimination, A+B-. Following five-term training (e.g., A+B-, B+C-, C+D-, D+E-), the choice of B over D on test trials is taken as evidence of TI. Recently, differential value transfer from the S+ to the S- in a simultaneous discrimination has been proposed as a noncognitive basis for these effects. Two experiments were conducted to control for differential value transfer. The results suggest that differential value transfer is not the only basis for nonhuman TI performance. An alternative account based on spatial mapping is discussed.