Temporal discrimination learning of operant feeding in goldfish (Carassius auratus)

J Exp Anal Behav. 1994 Jul;62(1):1-13. doi: 10.1901/jeab.1994.62-1.


Operant temporal discrimination learning was investigated in goldfish. In the first experiment, there was a fixed daily change in illumination. Eight subjects were trained to operate a lever that reinforced each press with food. The period during which responses were reinforced was then progressively reduced until it was 1 hr in every 24. The final 1-hr feeding schedule was maintained over 4 weeks. The feeding period commenced at the same time each day throughout. The food dispensers were then made inactive, and a period of extinction ensued for 6 days. The pattern of responding suggested that the fish were able to exhibit temporal discrimination in anticipation of feeding time. This pattern of responding persisted for a limited number of days during the extinction procedure. The second experiment produced evidence that operant temporal discrimination could develop under continuous illumination.