Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Reversal Learning

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_800-1

Introduction

Reversal learning has been a widely used procedural paradigm in the field of animal behavior and comparative cognition since its inception in the early twentieth century (Williams 1942). This is, in part, due to reversal learning’s relatively simple procedural design, which allows it to be implemented in almost any context, using a variety of apparatuses, and with a potentially limitless array of stimuli. In terms of its efficacy as a research tool, it can be used to measure differences, both within and across species, in the “…adaptation of behavior according to changes in stimulus–reward contingencies” (Clark et al. 2004). This type of overt behavioral change that is evoked by environmental feedback is called behavioral flexibility, which appears to be closely tied to, or an outward expression of, internal levels of cognitive flexibility (Gonzalez et al. 1966). Cognitive flexibility is the ability to shift attention to relevant discriminative stimuli, depending on their...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Georgia Southern University – Armstrong CampusSavannahUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyArmstrong State UniversitySavannahUSA

Section editors and affiliations

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