Optimal Response Rates in Humans and Rats

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The analysis of response rates has been highly influential in psychology, giving rise to many prominent theories of learning. There is, however, growing interest in explaining response rates, not as a global response to associations or value, but as a decision about how to space responses in time. Recently, researchers have shown that humans and mice can time a single response optimally; that is, in a way that maximizes reward. Here, we use the well-established differential reinforcement of low rates (DRL) timing task to show that humans and rats come close to optimizing reinforcement rate, but respond systematically faster than they should.

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