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The nature of phenotypic variation in Pavlovian conditioning

Iliescu, Adela F., Hall, Jeremy, Wilkinson, Lawrence, Dwyer, Dominic and Honey, Robert C. 2018. The nature of phenotypic variation in Pavlovian conditioning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition 44 (4) , pp. 358-369. 10.1037/xan0000177

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Abstract

Pavlovian conditioning procedures result in dramatic individual differences in the topography of learnt behaviors in rats: When the temporary insertion of a lever into an operant chamber is paired with food pellets, some rats (known as sign-trackers) predominantly interact with the lever, while others (known as goal-trackers) predominantly approach the food well. Two experiments examined the sensitivity of these two behaviors to changing reinforcement contingencies in groups of males and female rats exhibiting the different phenotypes (i.e., sign-trackers and goal-trackers). In both phenotypes, behavior oriented to the food well was more sensitive to contingency changes (e.g., a reversal in which of two levers was reinforced) than was lever-oriented behavior. That is, the nature of the two behaviors differed independently of the rats in which they were manifest. These results indicate that the behavioral phenotypes reflect the parallel operation of a stimulus-stimulus associative process that gives rise to food-well activity and a stimulus-response process that gives rise to leveroriented activity, rather than the operation of a single process (e.g., stimulus-stimulus) that generates both behaviors.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Psychology
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Publisher: American Psychological Association
ISSN: 2329-8456
Funders: Wellcome Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 April 2018
Date of Acceptance: 11 April 2018
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2019 20:59
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/110663

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