When is a reward reinforcing? An experimental study of the information hypothesis

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A secondary reinforcement paradigm was used to try to find the point in the sequence of delivery and consumption of reward at which reinforcement occurs. A food pellet always preceded a stimulus which signalled the delivery of 3 additional pellets. For 12 Ss (albino rats) receiving only this sequence during training, the stimulus was redundant; for 12 others who received, in addition, unpredictable single pellets alone, the stimulus was informative. When Ss were allowed to press a bar on an FR 3 schedule for 1 sec. occurrences of the training stimulus, the group for whom the stimulus had been informative pressed significantly more (p <.01) than did the group for whom the stimulus had been redundant. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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