In several mammalian and avian species, females show a higher performance than males in tasks requiring cognitive flexibility such as the discrimination reversal learning. A recent study showed that female guppies are twice as efficient as males in a reversal learning task involving yellowâred discrimination, suggesting a higher cognitive flexibility in female guppies. However, the possibility exists that the superior performance exhibited by females does not reflect a general sex difference in cognitive abilities, but instead, is confined to colour discrimination tasks. To address this issue, we compared male and female guppies in two different discrimination reversal learning tasks and we performed a meta-analysis of these experiments and the previous one involving colour discrimination. In the first experiment of this study, guppies were tested in a task requiring them to learn to select the correct arm of a T-maze in order to rejoin a group of conspecifics. In experiment 2, guppies were observed in a numerical task requiring them to discriminate between 5 and 10 dots in order to obtain a food reward. Although females outperformed males in one condition of the T-maze, we did not find any clear evidence of femalesâ greater reversal learning performance in either experiment. However, the meta-analysis of the three experiments supported the hypothesis of femalesâ greater reversal learning ability. Our data do not completely exclude the idea that female guppies have a generally higher cognitive flexibility than males; however, they suggest that the size of this sex difference might depend on the task.
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|Titolo:||Sex differences in discrimination reversal learning in the guppy|
LUCON XICCATO, Tyrone (Ultimo)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2017|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||03.1 Articolo su rivista|