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Group (reversal) learning is associated with exploration levels in three-spined sticklebacks.

Wit, L. de and Jolles, J.W. (2017) Group (reversal) learning is associated with exploration levels in three-spined sticklebacks. Master's Thesis / Essay, Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences.

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An individual`s exploration tendency is related to the willingness to expose oneself to potentially dangerous situations in exchange for potential gain. Recently, researchers have linked personality traits to cognitive abilities suggesting that, high exploratory individuals learn faster but are less flexible in learning new cues compared to low exploratory individuals. So far research has focused on individual learning capacity related to personality, however individuals often live in social group and therefore here we studied the effects of group composition on group performance in a foraging task. We screened individual three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) for exploration and subsequently assigned them to low, mixed or high exploration groups. These groups were then subjected to a Y-maze learning task, where they learned the location of a food patch. The baited arm was switched after 12 initial learning trials to study reversal learning. We found that, the high exploration groups were faster in finding the baited arm, but were not more correct in their initial choice to enter the baited arm. During reversal learning all groups were slower in finding the baited arm and worse in their initial choice. Especially the high exploratory groups showed a significantly larger increase in the latency to find the baited arm compared to the low and mixed group. Together these results show that high exploratory groups are faster to forage but were relatively worse during reversal learning. This studies highlight the effects on group composition on foraging speed and routine-like behaviour.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Degree programme: Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 08:31
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 08:31

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