The role of place of reinforcer delivery in the appearance of positive induction when rats respond for 1% sucrose

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Abstract

Rats increase their rate of operant responding for 1% sucrose reinforcement in the first half of an experimental session if a high-valued reinforcer will be available in the second half. Previous research suggests that this induction effect occurs because the reinforcing value of the low-valued substance has increased. The present study investigated whether this increase may occur because of where the substances are delivered. Rats pressed a lever to earn 1% liquid-sucrose reinforcers in the first half of the session. In control conditions, they also pressed for 1% sucrose in the second half. In treatment conditions, they pressed for food-pellet (Experiment 1) or 32% sucrose (Experiment 2) reinforcers in the second half, with these reinforcers either being delivered to the same location as the 1% sucrose or to a different location. Upcoming food-pellet or 32% sucrose reinforcement increased rates of lever pressing for 1% sucrose in the first half of the session, with the largest increase observed when the high-valued reinforcer was delivered to the same location as the 1% sucrose. Qualitatively similar results were found with rates of consumption of 1% sucrose reinforcers in the first half of the session, which were measured in Experiment 2. The location to which reinforcers are delivered appears to be one of the factors that contributes to this induction effect. The present results may therefore identify one of the factors that determine whether differential conditions of reinforcement will lead to contrast or induction. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Weatherly, J. N., Nurnberger, J. T., & Kristiansen-Moen, L. A. (2006). The role of place of reinforcer delivery in the appearance of positive induction when rats respond for 1% sucrose. Behavioural Processes, 73(2), 156–163. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2006.05.002

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