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47 Scopus citations


Using horses, we investigated three aspects of the stimulus control of lever‐pressing behavior: stimulus generalization, discrimination learning, and peak shift. Nine solid black circles, ranging in size from 0.5 in. to 4.5 in. (1.3 cm to 11.4 cm) served as stimuli. Each horse was shaped, using successive approximations, to press a rat lever with its lip in the presence of a positive stimulus, the 2.5‐in. (6.4‐cm) circle. Shaping proceeded quickly and was comparable to that of other laboratory organisms. After responding was maintained on a variable‐interval 30‐s schedule, stimulus generalization gradients were collected from 2 horses prior to discrimination training. During discrimination training, grain followed lever presses in the presence of a positive stimulus (a 2.5‐in circle) and never followed lever presses in the presence of a negative stimulus (a 1.5‐in. [3.8‐cm] circle). Three horses met a criterion of zero responses to the negative stimulus in fewer than 15 sessions. Horses given stimulus generalization testing prior to discrimination training produced symmetrical gradients; horses given discrimination training prior to generalization testing produced asymmetrical gradients. The peak of these gradients shifted away from the negative stimulus. These results are consistent with discrimination, stimulus generalization, and peak‐shift phenomena observed in other organisms. 1991 Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-104
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the experimental analysis of behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • circles
  • discrimination learning
  • horses
  • lever press
  • peak shift
  • stimulus generalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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