Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Place Versus Response Learning

  • Chad RuprechtEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_743-1


Place learning

A form of spatial learning reflecting the acquisition and knowledge of an object/location’s actual position in space, relative to a constellation of other visual cues.

Response learning

A form of spatial learning reflecting the acquisition of a habitual response used to navigate to a location that does not reflect knowledge of a place based on surrounding cues.


Animals use a remarkable variety of methods to navigate their environments. Experimental psychologists have traditionally focused on how spatial relations between visual cues in the environment (landmarks, beacons, etc.) are acquired and whether these relations integrate together or compete for control over an animal’s navigation. Early experiments trained animals to navigate a variety of mazes often aided by visual cues that bore a consistent spatial relationship to the goal (i.e., the end of the maze, often baited with food). By varying the position of visual cues surrounding the animal...


Acquisition Operant conditioning Pavlovian conditioning Reinforcement Hippocampus Sign tracking 
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Annett, L. E., McGregor, A., & Robbins, T. W. (1989). The effects of ibotenic acid lesions of the nucleus accumbens on spatial learning and extinction in the rat. Behavioural Brain Research, 31(3), 231–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Dudchenko, P. A., Goodridge, J. P., Seiterle, D. A., & Taube, J. S. (1997). Effects of repeated disorientation on the acquisition of spatial tasks in rats: dissociation between the appetitive radial arm maze and aversive water maze. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 23(2), 194.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Hamilton, D. A., Akers, K. G., Johnson, T. E., Rice, J. P., Candelaria, F. T., & Redhead, E. S. (2009). Evidence for a shift from place navigation to directional responding in one variant of the Morris water task. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 35(2), 271.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Olton, D. S., & Samuelson, R. J. (1976). Remembrance of places passed: spatial memory in rats. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 2(2), 97.Google Scholar
  5. Packard, M. G., & McGaugh, J. L. (1996). Inactivation of hippocampus or caudate nucleus with lidocaine differentially affects expression of place and response learning. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 65(1), 65–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Pavlov, I. P. (1927). Conditional reflexes: an investigation of the physiological activity of the cerebral cortex. London: H. Milford.Google Scholar
  7. Rodrigo, T., Chamizo, V. D., McLaren, I. P. L., & Mackintosh, N. J. (1997). Blocking in the spatial domain. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 23, 10–118.Google Scholar
  8. Ruprecht, C. M., Taylor, C. D., Wolf, J. E., & Leising, K. J. (2014). Task complexity modifies the search strategy of rats. Behavioural Brain Research, 258, 208–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Skinner, D. M., Etchegary, C. M., Ekert-Maret, E. C., Baker, C. J., Harley, C. W., Evans, J. H., et al. (2003). An analysis of response, direction, and place learning in an open field and T maze. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 29, 3–13.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Stringer, K. G., Martin, G. M., & Skinner, D. A. (2005). The effects of hippocampal lesions on response, direction, and place learning in rats. Behavioral Neuroscience, 119, 946–952.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Thorndike, E. L. (1898). Review of animal intelligence: an experimental study of the associative processes in animals.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Tolman, E. C., & Gleitman, H. (1949). Studies in learning and motivation: I. Equal reinforcements in both end-boxes, followed by shock in one end-box. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 39(6), 810–819.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Tolman, E. C., Ritchie, B. F., & Kalish, D. (1946). Studies in spatial learning. II. Place learning versus response learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 36(3), 221–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Microsoft CorporationRedmondUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kenneth Leising
    • 1
  1. 1.Texas Christian UniversityForth WorthUSA