Visual discrimination learning and strategy behavior in the fat-tailed dunnart (Sminthopsis crassicaudata)

K. R. Bonney, Clive Wynne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Fat-tailed dunnarts (Sminthopsis crassicaudata) were trained on visual discrimination learning-set, reversal-set and spatial delayed-alternation tasks. The learning set involved 36 2-way black-and-white pattern discriminations and 5 probe reversals. Ten reversals of a black-and-white pattern discrimination were followed by 5 novel tasks. Spatial alternation was tested at delays up to 20 s. Learning-set and reversal-set formation, including 1-trial learning and spontaneous transfer from learning set to reversals and vice versa, was found. Learning-set-experienced dunnarts showed no retention of previously learned tasks 1 week after testing but demonstrated consistently high Trial 2 performance, indicating the retention of a response strategy. Delayed-alternation tasks were learned up to 10-s delays. These results provide the first evidence of a visually guided "win-stay, lose-shift" strategy in a marsupial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-62
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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