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Control of variation by reward probability

  • Author(s): Gharib, A;
  • Gade, C;
  • Roberts, Seth
  • et al.
Abstract

Two bar-press experiments with rats tested the rule that reducing expectation of reward increases the variation from which reward selects. Experiment 1 used a discrete-trial random-interval schedule, with trials signaled by light or sound. One signal always ended with reward; the other signal ended with reward less often. The 2 signals were randomly mixed. Bar-press duration (how long the bar was held down) varied more during the signal with the lower probability of reward. Experiment 2 closely resembled Experiment 1 but used a random-ratio schedule rather than a random-interval schedule. Again, bar-press duration varied more during the signal with the lower probability of reward. The results support the rule-the first well-controlled comparisons to do so.

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