The Open UniversitySkip to content

A comparison of protocols for passive and discriminative avoidance learning tasks in the domestic chick

Gibbs, M.; Johnston, A. N. B.; Mileusnic, R. and Crowe, S. F. (2008). A comparison of protocols for passive and discriminative avoidance learning tasks in the domestic chick. Brain Research Bulletin, 76(3) pp. 198–207.

Full text available as:
PDF (Not Set) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (719kB)
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


A one-trial learning task where chicks learn that a bead of a particular shape and/or colour has a bitter taste (100% Methyl anthranilate – MeA) and subsequently avoids it on test has been widely used by research groups across the world. However, there are some differences in the results reported by different research laboratories. One important difference is found when chicks are trained on a diluted bitter taste (10 or 20% MeA) such that memory is not consolidated and fades, e.g. memory lasts for 30 min at Monash University versus 4-6 hours at the Open University (OU). Differences in protocol that may explain this apparent discrepancy are whether the chicks have seen the bead before (novelty), and whether the colour or the shape of the bead is a more important feature. In this review, we discuss these and other factors that may contribute to the differences in the characteristics of memory processing between Monash and the OU, e.g. strain, hatchery or laboratory incubated chicks, age at training. It is clear that there is a difference between passive avoidance and discriminative avoidance and this may explain the differences in duration of the memory and the different stages. Is the OU task a more salient experience because of the novelty of the bead and therefore a 'stronger' learning experience? The different protocols may allow different questions to be addressed.

Item Type: Journal Item
ISSN: 1873-2747
Keywords: passive avoidance learning; bead discrimination; day-old chick; memory; weakly reinforced learning;
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Life, Health and Chemical Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 10632
Depositing User: Radmila Mileusnic
Date Deposited: 21 May 2008
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2018 06:15
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU