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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Early Experiences and Incentive Relativity


Human and animal studies have shown the long-lasting impact of early life experiences on the development of individual differences in stress responsiveness in later life. Despite the numerous works that evaluate the effect of early experiences on different behavioral paradigms, which for the most part are related to aversive situations, there are few studies that assess the effects on the unexpected downshift or omission of positive rewards. The purpose of this article is to present several independent lines of research into how frustration responses during adulthood may be influenced by early experiences. Very few works have been found on the subject, and in most cases the results were negative or controversial. However, more recent investigations suggest that the responses in adults to frustration or euphoria may be modulated by early experiences.

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