Quantity Discrimination in Domestic Rats, Rattus norvegicus

Laura Cox, V. Tamara Montrose

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Quantity discrimination is a basic form of numerical competence where an animal distinguishes which of two amounts is greater in size. Whilst quantity discrimination in rats has been investigated via training paradigms, rats’ natural quantity discrimination abilities without explicit training for a desired response have not been explored. This study investigated domestic rats’ ability to perform quantity discrimination. Domestic rats ( n = 12) were examined for their ability to distinguish the larger amount under nine quantity comparisons. One-sample t -tests identified a significant preference for the larger quantity in comparisons of 1 vs. 2, 2 vs. 3, 3 vs. 5, 3 vs. 8, 4 vs. 6, and 4 vs. 8. No preference between quantities was found for comparisons of 3 vs. 4, 4 vs. 5 and 5 vs. 6. Overall, this study drew two key conclusions. Firstly, that domestic rats are capable of performing quantity discrimination without extensive training. Secondly, as subjects adhered to Weber’s law, it was concluded that the approximate number system underpins domestic rats’ ability to perform spontaneous quantity discrimination
Original languageEnglish
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Small Animals


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