JEB desktop wallpaper calendar 2016

JEB desktop wallpaper calendar 2016

Summary

This is the final report of an experiment of 20 years' duration, in which we have repeated, in its essentials, the well-known experiment of William McDougall purporting to reveal a Lamarckian inheritance of the effects of training on rats. The test is one involving light discrimination, and McDougall recorded a steady improvement in the rate of learning on a succession of 32 generations; but he omitted to check the results against a properly conducted control.

Our experiment confirms McDougall to the extent that we too have obtained long duration trends of improvement in learning-rate (Figs. 2, 3); but we find that the effect is not sustained, and that it is, moreover, shown also by a control experiment, using animals of untrained ancestry. This forbids a Lamarckian interpretation.

Statistical analysis of the data indicates that the ‘condition’ of the rat markedly affects its speed of learning, and that progressive changes in learning-rate, over a succession of generations, are in reality correlated with the health of the laboratory colony, which is subject to periods of decline and recovery.