The two-alternative observing response procedure in rats: Preference for nondiscriminative stimuli and the effect of delay

Karen L. Roper, Emilee R. Baldwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

A two-alternative choice procedure was used with rats to examine preference for discriminative stimuli (correlated with the occurrence of reinforcement) versus uncorrelated cues. Choice of discriminative stimuli was below chance, despite the use of very low levels of reinforcement (12.5% for some rats) known to produce a preference for discriminative cues. Levers that had been retracted during the stimulus presentation in Experiment 1 were extended in Experiment 2 to assess the role of response elicitation during the observed stimuli. In Experiment 3, the impact of cue-duration behaviors was further evaluated by lengthening the duration of the cues and providing an opportunity for an escape response. The preference for nondiscriminative stimuli was reversed only with increased exposure to the cues. The present results point to fundamental differences in the prevailing context of the choice procedure as compared to the usual free-operant observing design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-302
Number of pages28
JournalLearning and Motivation
Volume35
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the Sara Brownlow Shearer fund. We thank Darcy Foertch for her helpful comments, and her assistance in running animals and compiling data.

Keywords

  • Conditioned reinforcement
  • DMOD
  • Delay-reduction
  • Discriminative stimuli
  • Observing
  • Rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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