Characterization of long-term memory, resistance to extinction, and influence of temperament during two instrumental tasks in horses

Mathilde Valenchon*, Frédéric Lévy, Aleksandra Górecka-Bruzda, Ludovic Calandreau, Léa Lansade

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present study investigated the influence of temperament on long-term recall and extinction of 2 instrumental tasks in 26 horses. In the first task (backward task), horses learned to walk backward, using commands given by an experimenter, in order to obtain a food reward. In the second task (active avoidance task), horses had to cross an obstacle after a bell rang in order to avoid emission of an air puff. Twenty-two months after acquisition, horses exhibited perfect recall performance in both tasks. Accordingly, no influence of temperament on recall performance could be observed for either task. In contrast, in the absence of positive or negative outcomes, the horses' ability to extinguish their response to either task was highly variable. Resistance to extinction was related to some indicators of temperament: The most fearful horses tended to be the most resistant to extinction in the backward task, while the least sensitive horses tended to be the most resistant to extinction in the active avoidance task. These findings reveal extensive long-term memory abilities in horses and suggest an influence of temperament on learning processes other than acquisition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1001-1006
Number of pages6
JournalAnimal Cognition
Volume16
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013

Keywords

  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Equid
  • Fearfulness
  • Individuality
  • Learning
  • Personality

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization of long-term memory, resistance to extinction, and influence of temperament during two instrumental tasks in horses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this