The Organization of Sequential BehaviorConditioning, Memory, and Abstraction

Stephen B. Fountain, James D. Rowan, Melissa D. Muller, Shannon M. A. Kundey, Laura R. G. Pickens and Karen E. Doyle

in The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Cognition

Second edition

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780195392661
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

The Organization of Sequential BehaviorConditioning, Memory, and Abstraction

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience



Recent work suggests that sequential behavior depends on multiple concurrent processes including conditioning, memory, and abstraction. To determine whether multiple behavioral processes act concurrently to produce sequential behavior, we study forms of sequential behavior that are sufficiently complex that they are likely to recruit multiple behavioral processes concurrently. Evidence from both behavioral and neurobehavioral studies is presented that supports the view that, in addition to encoding information about the nature of sequential items, rats also concurrently abstract rules from hierarchical patterns and interleaved patterns, employ chunking processes that are sensitive to phrasing cues, and encode information about the serial position of sequential events. Thus, evidence supports the view that rats concurrently track multiple interoceptive, exteroceptive, and cognitive sources of information to organize their behavior through time.

Keywords: sequential behavior; sequential learning; serial-pattern learning; rule learning; associative learning; chunking; phrasing; hierarchical pattern learning; interleaved pattern learning; concurrent cognitive processing; MK-801; dizocilpine; adolescent nicot

Article.  11873 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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