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Dissociating representations of time and number in reinforcement rate learning by GluA1 AMPAR subunit deletion in mice.

Austen, J. M. and Pickering, C. and Sprengel, R. and Sanderson, D. J. (2021) 'Dissociating representations of time and number in reinforcement rate learning by GluA1 AMPAR subunit deletion in mice.', Psychological science., 32 (2). pp. 204-217.


Theories of learning differ in whether they assume that learning reflects the strength of an association between memories or symbolic encoding of the statistical properties of events. We provide novel evidence for symbolic encoding of informational variables by demonstrating that sensitivity to time and number in learning is dissociable. Whereas responding in normal mice was dependent on reinforcement rate, responding in mice that lacked the GluA1 AMPA receptor subunit was insensitive to reinforcement rate and, instead, dependent on the number of times a cue had been paired with reinforcement. This suggests that GluA1 is necessary for weighting numeric information by temporal information in order to calculate reinforcement rate. Sample sizes per genotype varied between seven and 23 across six experiments and consisted of both male and female mice. The results provide evidence for explicit encoding of variables by animals rather than implicit encoding via variations in associative strength.

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Publisher statement:This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( 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 (
Date accepted:17 July 2020
Date deposited:20 October 2020
Date of first online publication:04 January 2021
Date first made open access:12 February 2021

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