The role of differential reinforcement in predator avoidance learning

Andrea S. Griffin*, Christopher S. Evans

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)


    Little is known about how predator recognition develops under natural conditions. Predispositions to respond to some stimuli preferentially are likely to interact with the effects of experience. Convergent evidence from several studies suggests that predator-naïve tammar wallabies (Macropus eugenii) have some ability to respond to vertebrate predators differently from non-predators and that antipredator responses can be selectively enhanced by experience. Here, we examined the effects of differential reinforcement on responses to a model fox (Vulpes vulpes), cat (Felis catus) and conspecific wallaby. During training, tammars experienced paired presentations of a model fox and a simulated capture, as well as presentations of a wallaby and a cat alone. Training enhanced responses to the fox, relative to the conspecific wallaby, but acquired responses to the two predators did not differ, despite repeated, non-reinforced presentations of the cat. Results suggest that experience interacts with the wallabies' ability to perceive predators as a natural category.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)87-94
    Number of pages8
    JournalBehavioural Processes
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2003


    • Discrimination
    • Learning
    • Marsupial
    • Predation


    Dive into the research topics of 'The role of differential reinforcement in predator avoidance learning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this