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Texture Discrimination Training

F. Frank LeFever flefever at ix.netcom.com
Thu Feb 12 22:47:41 EST 1998

Have you considered lever pressing or variants thereof? (e.g. nose
pushing against something or through a photoelectric beam, etc.)

How many textures must the rat discriminate among?

Incidentally, even if it is only two textures, there may be merit in
pretraining with several other textures other than the two you will
eventually use: this may reduce the possibility that the rat
discriminates on the basis of some extraneous aspect of the texture
stimuli not of theoretical interest--i.e. may focus the rat's attention
on the texture dimension of interest.

Don't know how you intend to present the textures, but if it requires
the rat to hold its head in a particular position or location, you will
want to shape this aspect first, i.e. rewarding the rat's putting  its
head in position.

In my own work, LONG ago (with counting and timing tasks which required
MANY responses ove LONG periods), I used small drops of water on the
end of a dipper as the reiforcer.  Rat cannot dally over it as it can
over a food pellet; also, thirsty rats are less likely to bite than
hungry rats!

Frank LeFever
New Yoork Neuropsychology Group (NYNG)

In <6bqji2$3f3 at peabody.colorado.edu> msjones at rintintin.Colorado.EDU
>I was wondering if anyone could pass along pointers for training
>rats to do texture discrimination (with the vibrissae). We are
>looking for a task that is NOT maze-based (like platform jumping,
>etc), as our instrumentation necessarily limits the animal's range
>of movement.  
>Michael S. Jones
>msjones at colorado.edu

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