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Prediction error in models of adaptive behavior

Navarro, Victor M., Dwyer, Dominic M. ORCID: and Honey, Robert C. ORCID: 2023. Prediction error in models of adaptive behavior. Current Biology 33 (19) , pp. 4238-4243. 10.1016/j.cub.2023.08.043

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Pavlovian conditioning is evident in every species in which it has been assessed, and there is a consensus about its interpretation across behavioral,1,2 brain,3,4,5,6 and computational analyses7,8,9,10,11: conditioned behavior reflects the formation of a directional associative link from the memory of one stimulus (e.g., a visual stimulus) to another (e.g., food), with learning stopping when there is no error between the prediction generated by the visual stimulus and what happens next (e.g., food). This consensus fails to anticipate the results that we report here. In our experiments with rats, we find that arranging predictive (visual stimulus→food) and nonpredictive (food→visual stimulus) relationships produces marked and sustained changes in conditioned behaviors when the visual stimulus is presented alone. Moreover, the type of relationship affects (1) the distribution of conditioned behaviors related to the properties of both food (called goal-tracking) and the visual stimulus (called sign-tracking) and (2) when in the visual stimulus, these two behaviors are evident. These results represent an impetus for a fundamental shift in how Pavlovian conditioning is interpreted: animals learn about the relationship between two stimuli irrespective of the order in which they are presented, but they exhibit this knowledge in different ways. This interpretation and our new results are captured by a recent model of Pavlovian conditioning,12,13 HeiDI, and both are consistent with the need for animals to represent the fact that the impact of a cause (e.g., the ingestion of nutrients or the bite of a predator) can be felt before or after the cause has been perceived.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Cell Press
ISSN: 0960-9822
Funders: BBSRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 September 2023
Date of Acceptance: 15 August 2023
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 14:07

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