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Title: The dynamics of stimulus representation during filial imprinting : behavioural analysis and modelling
Author: Griffiths, D. P.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1998
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The aim of this study was to test behavioural predictions made by a neural network model of filial importing formulated by Bateson and Horn (1994), namely those involving the phenomena of generalisation, classification together and reversibility in the context of filial importing. The experiments were designed in such a fashion as to stand on their own in providing insights into these aspects of imprinting whilst allowing model predictions to be tested. The results obtained were interpreted in terms of the model, highlighting accurate predictions and suggesting amendments to the model. An initial series of experiments attempted to eliminate the classification together of two stimuli, a red triangle and a purple circle, that resulted from sequential exposure to those stimuli in close temporal contiguity termed mixed exposure by Honey et al. (1994). The results of these experiments suggested that there was a predisposed preference bias for the purple circle over the red triangle, and that exposure to a jungle flow stimulus after mixed exposure reduced this bias. It was also found that exposure to the novel stimulus reduced the bias for purple circle that was presented in naive chicks. This effect was observed in both a heat-reinforced discrimination between the purple circle and the red triangle and a simple sequential preference test between the stimuli. A second set of experiments examined whether the reversal of preference from one stimulus to another proceeds as the neural net model predicts. The results showed that a trained preference for the red triangle could be overturned by subsequent exposure to the purple circle. It took a greater amount of exposure to the purple circle to reverse the preference for the red triangle than it took to initially establish the preference for the red triangle. Furthermore, the preference for the red triangle did not change significantly after exposure to the purple circle when tested against a novel stimulus, a blue cylinder. Both of these results were consistent with the predictions of the model.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available