By Stephen Walker
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Additional info for Animal Learning: An Introduction
This result has recently been reported by Carew et al. (1981, 1983). As is the case with most artificial systems, in Aplysia the conditioned stimulus tested already had a connection to the conditioned response wired in: the 67 conditioned stimulus was a light tactile stimulation of the siphon of the animal (see chapter 2, pp. 47—8) which normally produces a weak withdrawal reflex of the siphon and gill. The unconditioned stimulus was an electric shock to the tail, of sufficient strength to produce a very vigorous withdrawal reflex including the siphon and gill Thus, if the siphon is weakly stimulated just before the strong electric shock is applied, 15 times, at 5—minute intervals, then 30 minutes later a much longer than usual withdrawal response is given to the tactile stimulus to the siphon (delivered with a nylon brush) tested by itself.
To show that sensory adaptation is not responsible for a reduced response, a number of tests can be made. For instance, the response decline may be shown to survive a change in sense organ — Dethier (1963) showed that reduced response in blowflies to a certain sugar solution detected by receptors on the left leg was retained when the solution was detected by the right leg. (ii) Response fatigue Similarly, fatigue in muscle systems could obviously cause reduced response to a repeated stimulus, without qualifying as a process of learning, and response fatigue is often distinguished from habituation.
Synthesis was the process ‘by means of which individual units can be integrated into an excitatory complex’, something which would more likely be referred to now as cross-modal perception, object perception, or the formation of schemata, representations, or internal descriptions (Walker, I 983a) . Pavlov’s constant reference to analysis and synthesis may merely be a consequence of the fact that as a young man his favourite author was Herbert Spencer, who also used these terms frequently, but the experimental facts of discrimination learning, no less now than then, require some roughly similar theoretical attempt to account for attention and pattern recognition (Sutherland and Mackintosh, 1971; Sutherland, 1960).