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ERIC Number: EJ947686
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Nov
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0023-9690
Sub-Optimal Choice in Pigeons Does Not Depend on Avoidance of the Stimulus Associated with the Absence of Reinforcement
Stagner, Jessica P.; Laude, Jennifer R.; Zentall, Thomas R.
Learning and Motivation, v42 n4 p282-287 Nov 2011
When pigeons are given a choice between two alternatives, one leading to a stimulus 20% of the time that always signals reinforcement (S+) or another stimulus 80% of the time that signals no reinforcement (S-), and the other alternative leading to one of two stimuli each signaling reinforcement 50% of the time, they show a strong preference for the first alternative. This preference occurs in spite of the fact that, overall, the second alternative provides two and a half times more reinforcement than the first. In the present experiment we tested the hypothesis that the S- is a less effective conditioned inhibitor because as soon as it is recognized, the pigeon may orient away from it, whereas it does not orient away from the other signals. To test this hypothesis, for Group HLS-, we made the S- more salient and less avoidable by using a ceiling mounted houselight. To control for a possible aversion to the houselight we included Group HLS+, a group for which the houselight served as the S+. And the preferences of both groups were compared to those of a standard no houselight group. The pigeons in all three groups showed a strong preference for the lower probability of reinforcement alternative. Thus, reduced peripheral orienting during presentation of the S- stimulus was not likely responsible for pigeons' sub-optimal choice. (Contains 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A