In Pavlonian (classical) conditioning, conditioned responses of an animal may vary. Some animals focus on the unconditioned stimulus (ie. food/location of food) while others may focus on the conditioned stimulus (ie. lever or button). These behaviors have been termed 'goal-tracking' and 'sign-tracking' respectively, as defined by Flagel et al. (2007).

  • What are some known examples of this variation between different species?
  • How does the variation within a species differ across species? Do some species exhibit more or less variation than other species?

Flagel SB, Watson SJ, Robinson TE, Akil H. (2007). Individual differences in the propensity to approach signals vs goals promote different adaptations in the dopamine system of rats. Psychopharmacology, Vol. 191, No. 3. (April 2007), pp. 599-607, doi:10.1007/s00213-006-0535-8 (free PDF)

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    $\begingroup$ Your question title is sorta asking two questions (examples + variance) but your question body only asks about variance; are you only interested in variation within/across species? $\endgroup$
    – Ben Brocka
    Commented Feb 22, 2012 at 15:34
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    $\begingroup$ @BenBrocka In each species there is some variation. What I am interested in is how that variation itself differs between different species. I have a bit of trouble wording that, but hope it makes sense. $\endgroup$
    – Vielle
    Commented May 12, 2012 at 21:02


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