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dc.contributor.authorSzabo, Birgit
dc.contributor.authorNoble, Daniel W.A.
dc.contributor.authorByrne, Richard W.
dc.contributor.authorTait, David S.
dc.contributor.authorWhiting, Martin J.
dc.identifier.citationSzabo , B , Noble , D W A , Byrne , R W , Tait , D S & Whiting , M J 2018 , ' Subproblem learning and reversal of a multidimensional visual cue in a lizard : evidence for behavioural flexibility? ' , Animal Behaviour , vol. 144 , pp. 17-26 .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 255900236
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: ca3427dd-4b13-4988-a50b-0758fa5ae368
dc.identifier.otherRIS: urn:4ED8B88A4A187FD5051650B2B75271ED
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 85052971550
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0001-5310-7731/work/60195428
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0001-9862-9373/work/60630529
dc.identifier.otherWOS: 000446232300004
dc.descriptionThis project was funded by an ARC Discovery grant (DP130102998) to Martin Whiting and Richard Byrne and by Macquarie University.en
dc.description.abstractBehavioural flexibility, the ability to adjust behaviour to environmental change by adapting existing skills to novel situations, is key to coping with, for example, complex social interactions, seasonal changes in food availability or detecting predators. We tested the tree skink, Egernia striolata, a family-living skink from eastern Australia, in a set-shifting paradigm of eight colour/shape discriminations including reversals, an intradimensional acquisition of a new colour/shape and extradimensional shift from colour to shape (and vice versa). Skinks could learn to discriminate between colour/shape pairs and reverse this initial stimulus–reward association; however, they showed no significant decrease in the probability of making a correct choice in the extradimensional shift suggesting that they did not form an attentional set. Subjects appear to have learnt each stage as a new problem instead of generalizing stimuli into specific dimensions (set formation). In conclusion, tree skinks solved a discrimination reversal by focusing their attention towards visual stimuli and flexibly adjusting their choice behaviour accordingly. These lizards learned to use multidimensional visual stimuli to find a food reward but did not generalize stimuli into dimensions. Furthermore, this study is the first to test for set shifting in a lizard species and thereby allows us to extend set-shifting theory to a new taxon for comparison with primates, rodents, a bird and a turtle.
dc.relation.ispartofAnimal Behaviouren
dc.rights© 2018 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created accepted version manuscript following peer review and as such may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at
dc.subjectDiscrimination learningen
dc.subjectID/ED tasken
dc.subjectSet shiftingen
dc.subjectBF Psychologyen
dc.subjectQH301 Biologyen
dc.titleSubproblem learning and reversal of a multidimensional visual cue in a lizard : evidence for behavioural flexibility?en
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.School of Psychology and Neuroscienceen
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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