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Cue duration determines response rate but not rate of acquisition of Pavlovian conditioning in mice.

Austen, J. M. and Sanderson, D. J. (2020) 'Cue duration determines response rate but not rate of acquisition of Pavlovian conditioning in mice.', Quarterly journal of experimental psychology., 73 (11). pp. 2026-2035.

Abstract

The duration of a conditioned stimulus (CS) is a key determinant of Pavlovian conditioning. Rate estimation theory (RET) proposes that reinforcement rate is calculated over cumulative exposure to a cue and the reinforcement rate of a cue, relative to the background reinforcement rate, determines the speed of acquisition of conditioned responding. Consequently, RET predicts that shorter-duration cues require fewer trials to acquisition than longer-duration cues due to the difference in reinforcement rates. We tested this prediction by reanalysing the results of a previously published experiment. Mice received appetitive Pavlovian conditioning of magazine approach behaviour with a 10-s CS and a 40-s CS. Cue duration did not affect the rate at which responding emerged or the rate at which it peaked. The 10-s CS did elicit higher levels of responding than the 40-s CS. These results are not consistent with rate estimation theory. Instead, they are consistent with an associative analysis that assumes that asymptotic levels of responding reflect the balance between increments and decrements in associative strength across cumulative exposure to a cue.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
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Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution.
Download PDF
(379Kb)
Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1177/1747021820937696
Publisher statement:This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Date accepted:05 June 2020
Date deposited:14 July 2020
Date of first online publication:14 July 2020
Date first made open access:14 July 2020

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