An olfactory biconditional discrimination in the mouse

Physiol Behav. 2006 Mar 30;87(3):634-40. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2006.01.001. Epub 2006 Feb 14.


Male CD-1 mice were given a biconditional discrimination task with four odors; A, B, C, and D. Mice were presented with odor compounds AC+, BD+, BC-, AD- for thirteen days. Pieces of odorized filter paper were placed in the bottom of odor pots and covered with bedding. On reinforced AC and BD trials, sugar was buried in the bedding, and on nonreinforced AD and BC trials no sugar was present. Following training, simultaneous nonreinforced tests were given between AD and AC, and between BC and BD. The mice spent more time digging in the previously reinforced odor compounds than in the previously nonreinforced compounds. In a second experiment, mice were conditioned to dig in AC+ and not BD-. In a subsequent test with the separate elements they dug more in A and C than in B and D, indicating that the biconditional discrimination had not been solved on the basis of complete perceptual blending. The data demonstrate that mice are capable of olfactory configural learning when solving a biconditional discrimination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cues
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Odorants
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Smell / physiology*
  • Taste / physiology