Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning

2012 Edition
| Editors: Norbert M. Seel

Internal Reinforcement Hypothesis

  • Dorothea Eisenhardt
  • Randolf Menzel
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_1066



The internal reinforcement hypothesis proposes that in retrieving a consolidated memory, two forms of learning take place, one based on the lack of external reinforcement (extinction learning) and one based on the internal existence of reinforcement (reminder learning). The internal reinforcement hypothesis offers an interpretation for the phenomenon of spontaneous recovery based on the properties of the reward system activated by appetitive stimuli and may capture properties of reconsolidation (Eisenhardt and Menzel 2007).

Theoretical Background

In classical conditioning, an animal learns that a previous neutral stimulus (conditioned stimulus, CS) is associated with an unconditioned stimulus (US). As a consequence, a conditioned response (CR) is elicited by the CS when presented without the US. Repeated presentations of the unreinforced conditioned...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology/Chemistry/PharmacyInstitut für Biologie - Neurobiologie, Freie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany