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In an attempt to increase the reliability of the demonstrator-consistent responding effect produced in the bidirectional control procedure, experiments 1-4 sought conditions that would magnify the matching effect. The aim was to produce a robust demonstrator-consistent responding effect in order that future analytic experiments could investigate the psychological processes responsible for this effect. The joystick responses of observer rats trained using the standard bidirectional control procedure parameters were compared with those of observers subject to conditions identified in the social learning literature as favourable for imitation. Unlike mice, observer rats in experiments 1 a and 1 b tended to push a joystick in the same direction as their demonstrators when the demonstrators were either familiar or unfamiliar males and females. Comparable demonstrator-consistent responding occurred following observation of a standard and a salient joystick response (experiment 2). Experiment 3 showed that the discriminative accuracy of a demonstrator's responding was important for matching behaviour, and suggested that matching might be enhanced with more than the conventional single observation session. Experiment 4 confirmed that the bidirectional control effect is sensitive to the amount of observational experience; after six observation sessions, demonstrator- inconsistent responding occurs. The results of experiments 1-3 are, and those of experiment 4 are not, compatible with the hypothesis that demonstrator-consistent responding in the bidirectional control is caused by olfactory cues deposited by demonstrators on the joystick. © Springer-Verlag 2000.

Original publication




Journal article


Animal Cognition

Publication Date





147 - 157