The effects of strong irrelevant thirst on food-rewarded instrumental performance

Abstract

In Experiment I, rats received one food rewarded trial per day in a runway. One group received all its trials under hunger (Group H); the second group received a random half of its trials under hunger and the other half of its trials under hunger plus thirst (Group H-HT). Group H-HT ultimately ran slower on HT trials than on H trials. In Experiment II, the effects of shifting from H to HT and vice versa were examined in a five-phase design. In general, rats run under H ran faster than rats run under HT, and shifts from H to HT produced rapid decreases in speed, while shifts from HT to H produced extremely slow increases in speed. The results of both experiments were interpreted as indicating that the reward value of food is greater under H than under HT and that the manipulation H vs. HT may be viewed as theoretically similar to manipulation of reward magnitude.

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Correspondence to Elizabeth D. Capaldi.

Additional information

This research was supported in part by Grant MH 23446-01 to the first author from the National Institute of Mental Health. Experiment II is based in part on a thesis by the third author under the direction of the first author submitted to the graduate school of Purdue University in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the master’s degree.

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Capaldi, E.D., Hovancik, J.R. & Lamb, E.O. The effects of strong irrelevant thirst on food-rewarded instrumental performance. Animal Learning & Behavior 3, 172–178 (1975). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03213426

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Keywords

  • Trial Block
  • Large Reward
  • Reward Magnitude
  • Small Reward
  • Instrumental Performance