Undergraduate Honours Theses
Recently published research has shown that a consistent but not coincident visual pattern facilitated the learning of a diamond spatial pattern in humans (Katz, Brown & Sturz, 2014). The purpose of the present experiment was to examine if this could be done in rats, using a square spatial pattern. For each trial, 16 towers were arranged in a 4 X 4 matrix, with one of the nine possible 2 X 2 baiting patterns baited with cheese. The visual pattern group also had four striped towers placed in a 2 X 2 spatial pattern within the larger matrix, while the visual random group had four striped towers placed randomly throughout the matrix. On 25% of the trials, there was overlap between one baited tower and a striped tower, while the remaining 75% of the trials contained no overlap. There were 50 trials, and the goal for the rats was to find all four of the baited towers in each. Results of the experiment revealed that the visual pattern group performed significantly better than the visual random group in the last 20 trials, showing that that the visual pattern facilitated the learning of baited 2 X 2 pattern. As well, both groups were significantly faster at finding all the baited towers during the non-overlap trials than on the overlap trials. Finally, both groups showed that they were making a good tower choice relative to chance after visiting the second and third baited towers.