Changes in heart rate during discriminative reward training and extinction in the cat

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Hypothesized that heart rate is a function of incentive motivation. 9 cats were trained with food reward to displace a lever with the head during a buzzer sounded once/min for 10 sec. Basal heart rate (HR) declined during training and a cardiac reflex to the buzzer persisted. Other effects pointed to an incentive function: Prebuzz HR was significantly higher in acquisition than extinction, before reinforced than nonreinforced trials, and before short- than long-latency responses. These findings were largely paralleled by the amount of instrumental and consummatory activity preceding the buzzer. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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