This article is from the WSSF 2012 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
Submitted by Laura Tukey, ME
From the article
Are Animals Stuck in Time? by William A.
Roberts, University of Western Ontario. Psychological Bulletin, 2002, Vol. 128, No. 3, 473–489.
Animals have a sense of time just like humans do and are sensitive to the time of day as well as are able to measure intervals between events. Rats learned to wait to respond just moments before a reward was given.
However, in a test of self control, rats are impulsive and have no self-control and prefer the immediate small reward rather than waiting for a larger reward.
In a test to anticipate a future event, rats did learn to wait up to 30 minutes for a preferred choice of rewards.
The conclusion on spontaneous recovery and related phenomena suggest that rats forget the order of reinforced and non-reinforced behaviors within a few hours. In the tests to anticipate future rewards, self-control experiments indicated that they typically responded as if a delayed consequence did not exist. Time horizon experiments with rats indicated that at best they could anticipate a larger reward only 15–30 min into the future.