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Generalization in place learning and geometry knowledge in rats
Author: Tommasi, Luca and Thinus-Blanc, Catherine
Journal: Learning and Memory
Volume: 11
Year: 2004
Pages: 153—161

Rats were trained to search for a food reward hidden under sawdust in the center of a square-shaped enclosure designed to force orientation on the basis of the overall geometry of the environment. They were then tested in a number of enclosures differing in shape and in size (rectangular-, double-side square-, and equilateral triangle-shaped enclosures). Results showed that rats transferred their place-finding ability to the novel enclosures. Our results add evidence to the hypothesis that the evolutionary roots of spatial cognition entail a primitive encoding of geometric relationships, as already shown using other tasks in rats.