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Interference in Learning in Octopus Vulgaris

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1) Octopuses were trained to make two different visual discriminations, the one following the other. They were then re-trained on the first discrimination. 2) The shapes to be discriminated were chosen with regard to the ratio of their horizontal to vertical extents. For the first group of animals this ratio was greater than one for the positive figure and less than one for the negative figure in both discriminations. For the second group of animals this ratio was greater than one for the positive figure and les than one for the negative figure in the f i r s t discrimination and less than one for the positive figure, greater than one for the negative figure, in the s e c o n d discrimination. 3) The first group of animals showed improved scores during the re-learning of the first discrimination. The second group showed lower scores. The first group also learned the second discrimination better, and the second group worse, than a control group of animals trained under normal conditions. 4) These findings are discussed in relation to YOUNG'S histological description ot dendritic orientation in the optic lobe and SUTHERLAND'S theory of shape discrimination.

Affiliations: 1: (Department of Anatomy, University College, London, U.K.


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