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Variation in the effectiveness of reinforcement and nonreinforcement in generating different conditioned behaviors

Navarro, Victor, Dwyer, Dominic M. ORCID: and Honey, Robert C. ORCID: 2024. Variation in the effectiveness of reinforcement and nonreinforcement in generating different conditioned behaviors. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 211 , 107915. 10.1016/j.nlm.2024.107915

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Rat autoshaping procedures generate two readily measurable conditioned responses: During lever presentations that have previously signaled food, rats approach the food well (called goal-tracking) and interact with the lever itself (called sign-tracking). We investigated how reinforced and nonreinforced trials affect the overall and temporal distributions of these two responses across 10-second lever presentations. In two experiments, reinforced trials generated more goal-tracking than sign-tracking, and nonreinforced trials resulted in a larger reduction in goal-tracking than sign-tracking. The effect of reinforced trials was evident as an increase in goal-tracking and reduction in sign-tracking across the duration of the lever presentations, and nonreinforced trials resulted in this pattern transiently reversing and then becoming less evident with further training. These dissociations are consistent with a recent elaboration of the Rescorla-Wagner model, HeiDI (Honey, R.C., Dwyer, D.M., & Iliescu, A.F. (2020b). HeiDI: A model for Pavlovian learning and performance with reciprocal associations. Psychological Review, 127, 829-852.), a model in which responses related to the nature of the unconditioned stimulus (e.g., goal-tracking) have a different origin than those related to the nature of the conditioned stimulus (e.g., sign-tracking).

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1074-7427
Funders: BBSRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 March 2024
Date of Acceptance: 20 March 2024
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2024 16:17

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