2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference


The Effect of Age on Discrimination Reversal Learning
Amy L. Arel
Dr. Charlie Apter and Dr. Dean DeCock, Faculty Mentors

Previous studies indicate gender may affect learning in horses. Age may have a similar effect. A discrimination reversal test was devised to measure learning in 12 geldings, evenly distributed among three age categories (1-5, 6-11, and 12-20 years of age). Geldings were subjected to one trial per day for 14 days to determine their ability to correctly choose a white or black feed bucket containing 50 g of pelleted feed. Each trial consisted of 10 attempts. The first and second trial acclimated geldings to the test, with 12 discrimination reversals used for data analysis. The 14 days were distributed across three testing weeks. Success was defined as choosing the correct feed bucket in 8 of 10 attempts. High variation between individuals within each age group existed, but a nonsignificant trend was noted in which mean success decreased with age. Younger horses may therefore learn faster.

Keywords: Age, discrimination , reversal , Learning, Horses, Success, attempts, Trials

Topic(s):Agricultural Science

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 11-1
Location: VH 1408
Time: 8:15 am

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