Mice make temporal inferences about novel locations based on previously learned spatiotemporal contingencies
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CitationGür, E., Duyan, Y. A., & Balci, F. (2022). Mice make temporal inferences about novel locations based on previously learned spatiotemporal contingencies. Animal Cognition. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-022-01715-4
Animals learn multiple spatiotemporal contingencies and organize their anticipatory responses accordingly. The representational/computational capacity that underlies such spatiotemporally guided behaviors is not fully understood. To this end, we investigated whether mice make temporal inferences of novel locations based on previously learned spatiotemporal contingencies. We trained 18 C57BL/6J mice to anticipate reward after three different intervals at three different locations and tested their temporal expectations of a reward at five locations simultaneously, including two locations that were not previously associated with reward delivery but adjacent to the previously trained locations. If mice made spatiotemporal inferences, they were expected to interpolate between duration pairs associated with previously reinforced hoppers surrounding the novel hopper. We found that the maximal response rate at the novel locations indeed fell between the two intervals reinforced at the surrounding hoppers. We argue that this pattern of responding might be underlain by spatially constrained Bayesian computations.