Reinforcement accounts for transitive inference performance

  title={Reinforcement accounts for transitive inference performance},
  author={Clive D.L. Wynne},
  journal={Animal Learning \& Behavior},
  • C. Wynne
  • Published 1 June 1995
  • Biology, Psychology
  • Animal Learning & Behavior
Transitive inference is the ability, given thatA >B andB >C, to infer thatA >C. Pigeons, rats, chimpanzees, squirrel monkeys, and humans as young as 4 years have all been shown capable of this. In this paper, simple associative learning models are explored as accounts of nonverbal transitive inference performance. A Bush-Mosteller-based model can account for transitive inference under limited conditions. A Rescorla-Wagner-based model can account for transitive inference under all conditions in… 
Associative models fail to characterize transitive inference performance in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta).
The results support research indicating that associative strength does not adequately account for the behavior of primates in transitive inference tasks and suggest that transitive choices may result from different processes, or different weighting of multiple processes, across species.
Cognitive mechanisms for transitive inference performance in rhesus monkeys: measuring the influence of associative strength and inferred order.
Implied order better explains most TI choices in monkeys, and is a more viable mechanism for TI of social dominance, which has been observed in birds and fish.
Asymmetric learning facilitates human inference of transitive relations
It is shown in simulations that inference of novel relations benefits from an asymmetric learning policy, where observers update only their belief about the winner (or loser) in a pair, building on previous evidence that transitive inference can be accomplished through simple reinforcement learning mechanisms.
Transitive Inference Remains Despite Overtraining on Premise Pair C+D-
In the present experiment pigeons were trained in a TI procedure with four premises and showed a consistent preference for B over D during the test, concluding that reinforcement contingencies can affect training performance without altering TI.
Asymmetric reinforcement learning facilitates human inference of transitive relations
Humans and other animals are capable of inferring never-experienced relations (for example, A > C) from other relational observations (for example, A > B and B > C). The processes behind such
Transitive or Not: A Critical Appraisal of Transitive Inference in Animals
The question of what exactly constitutes transitive inference based upon a formal and habitual definition is revisited and two essential criteria for experimentally testing it in animals are proposed and three new experimental methods are proposed that can be applied within any theoretical framework to ensure that the experimental behaviour observed is indeed the result oftransitive inference.
Transitive inference in humans and rhesus macaques after massed training of the last two list items
Rhesus macaque subjects and human participants performed a TI task in which a block of trials presented exclusively the pair FG, and monkeys learned to anticipate that novel stimuli should be preferred over F, providing evidence of a general task representation of TI that generalizes beyond learning about specific stimuli.


Transitive inference in rats (Rattus norvegicus).
  • H. Davis
  • Psychology
    Journal of comparative psychology
  • 1992
Evidence of transitive inference in rats is demonstrated and the possibility that logical transitivity may reflect a form of spatial paralogic rather than formal deductions from a syllogistic-verbal system is discussed.
Pigeons' inferences are transitive and the outcome of elementary conditioning principles: A response.
Contrary to Markovits and Dumas (1992), this article maintains that, although semantically questionable, the transitive-inference performance in pigeons demonstrated by Fersen, Wynne, Delius, and
Are monkeys logical?
A simplified method of giving tests which are both meaningful to non-verbal subjects yet satisfy the stringent requirements of a formal reasoning test is adapted into a non- verbal one for use with monkeys.
Transitive inference in pigeons: Simplified procedures and a test of value transfer theory
Minimal procedures for the demonstration of transitive inference (TI) in animals have involved the training of four simultaneous discriminations: for example, A+B−, B+C−, C+D−, and D+E−, followed by
Monkeys are Rational!
Five squirrel monkeys showed a significant Symbolic Distance Effect (SDE) when tested on procedures designed to incorporate reaction time (RT) measures within the five-term series (“transitive
Transitive inference formation in pigeons.
Pigeons were trained with 4 pairs of visual stimuli in a 5-term series―A+ B−, B+C, C+D→, and D+ E− (in which plus [+] denotes reward and minus [−] denotes nonreward)―before the unreinforced test pair
A conventional conditioning analysis of "transitive inference" in pigeons.
As an alternative to a symbolic interpretation of transitivity in the discriminative performance of pigeons, a modified reinforcement theory (value transfer theory) was proposed by Fersen, Wynne,
Developmental change on a five-term transitive inference.
  • K. Kallio
  • Psychology
    Journal of experimental child psychology
  • 1982