Monday, February 16, 2009



Guthrie did a collaborative study with George P. Horton which involved the stereotyped behavior of cats in the puzzle box. Horton set up the trials and supervised the photography, while Guthrie took notes in shorthand. The Guthrie-Horton experiment illustrated the associative theory of learning. They used a glass paneled box which allowed them to photograph the cats' movements. The box was constructed so that the cat could open the door by touching a post. It took approximately 15 minutes for the cat to touch the post.

The second time, the cat had the tendency to duplicate its first behavior. The photographs showed that the cats repeated the same sequence of movements associated with their previous escape from the box. This showed an example of stereotyped behavior. The Guthrie-Horton experiment allows us to assume than an animal learns an association between a stimulus and a behavioral act after only one experience. Guthrie stated that numerous trials are not duplications, but learning to respond to similar stimulus complexes. Only after we form several associations can the behavioral criterion of learning be achieved

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. It's a good synthesis of Guthrie works. Thank you.