Learning Set

Learning to learn!

The question in this test is, whether animals are able "to learn learning" - i.e. to master a certain task better by practising it.
At the end the animal has to learn to discriminate between two objects: beneath one a piece of food is hidden, beneath the other one there is nothing. The animal has just one choice - i.e. going to the wrong object, to the wrong mold, it gets nothing. Since the food is always hidden beneath the same mold (we use mainly sand molds distinct in shape and colour), some day the animal should go only to this specific mold and not to the other one.

When the aim is achieved a new pair of molds is taken and the game starts again. This will be repeated as long until the animal comprehended, that one of both molds always is positive. Having that understood, it should make only one mistake in maximum, when it is confronted with two new molds: in the very first rund it has no idea, which of both molds is positive, thus it choses by chance.
If it was lucky to catch the right mold immediately, it should stick to its choice from now on. In the case of bad luck it chose the empty mold and therefore it should choose the other one in the seccond run.
If our animals have mastered 

  • in  4 out of  5 sets (set = learning unit with 10 runs)
  • with different molds 
  • and only one mistake in 10 runs

we assume that they understood the principle of the task - that means they have learnt to learn.