EVALUATING MATCHING AND ODDITY-TO-SAMPLE LEARNING IN HOUSE CRICKETS**
Matching-to-Sample (MTS) and Oddity-to-Sample (OTS) are behavioral tasks often used in research focusing on animal cognition in vertebrate species. These tasks require a subject to perceive a sample stimulus and then direct their attention to two choice stimuli. We began exploring these tasks using House crickets in a Grice box maze that has a start box which widens slightly to allow for two parallel alleys and goal boxes at their ends. We tested crickets using three configurations of the maze and two sets of stimuli. The first configuration was flat on a table using 60 grit and 220 grit sandpaper as our stimuli. We had two out of seven crickets meet criterion on their assigned association. Our second configuration shifted the maze into a 30-degree angle taking advantage of crickets’ tendency toward negative geotaxis and hoping the differences in grit count would be more salient, but only three out of 12 crickets met criterion. Finally, we laid the maze flat and replaced the sandpaper stimuli with Green and Ultraviolet LEDs while again suspecting stimulus saliency may be a factor. This final configuration resulted in four out of eight crickets meeting criterion. A chi-square test comparing the number of crickets that made criterion on each configuration for MTS versus OTS yielded a significant outcome (χ2(2) = 10.96, p < .01) indicating there are differences between subjects due to their treatments. When subjects met criterion, they were switched to the opposite task. Reversals challenged the crickets’ behavioral flexibility. Initial trials typically reflected previous learning and often resulted in the crickets not moving beyond the choice point in the maze while vacillating between the two choices after their early choices were not reinforced. We are continuing our research using LEDs as the stimuli.
Guerra*, Zachary T. and Isaac, Walter L.
"EVALUATING MATCHING AND ODDITY-TO-SAMPLE LEARNING IN HOUSE CRICKETS**,"
Georgia Journal of Science, Vol. 81, No. 1, Article 135.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.gaacademy.org/gjs/vol81/iss1/135