Transfer of the Nonmatch-to-Goal rule in Monkeys across Cognitive Domains


To solve novel problems, it is advantageous to abstract relevant information from past experience to transfer on related problems. To study whether macaque monkeys were able to transfer an abstract rule across cognitive domains, we trained two monkeys on a nonmatch-to-goal (NMTG) task. In the object version of the task (O-NMTG), the monkeys were required to choose between two object-like stimuli, which differed either only in shape or in shape and color. For each choice, they were required to switch from their previously chosen object-goal to a different one. After they reached a performance level of over 90% correct on the O-NMTG task, the monkeys were tested for rule transfer on a spatial version of the task (S-NMTG). To receive a reward, the monkeys had to switch from their previously chosen location to a different one. In both the O-NMTG and S-NMTG tasks, there were four potential choices, presented in pairs from trial-to-trial. We found that both monkeys transferred successfully the NMTG rule within the first testing session, showing effective transfer of the learned rule between two cognitive domains.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0084100

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@inproceedings{Falcone2013TransferOT, title={Transfer of the Nonmatch-to-Goal rule in Monkeys across Cognitive Domains}, author={Rossella Falcone and S . A . Bevacqua and Erika Cerasti and Emiliano Brunamonti and Milena Cervelloni and Aldo Genovesio}, booktitle={PloS one}, year={2013} }