An examination of the relationship between expectancy learning and preference conditioning

David H. Campbell, Elizabeth Deutsch Capaldi, Joan D. Sheffer, John P. Bradford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


In three experiments rats were given go no go discrimination training with flavors as cues and sucrose and quinine as differential consequences. Following discrimination training conditioned preference for the flavor cues was assessed. Go no go discrimination was used as a measure of differential consequence expectancies associated with the two flavor cues. In Experiments 1 and 2 rats did acquire specific flavor-consequence expectancies as evidenced by successful go no go discrimination learning mediated by flavor cues. Subjects also acquired a conditioned preference for the sucrose-paired flavor. In Experiment 3 the predictive relationship between flavor cues and consequences was explicitly reversed between two separate training contexts. Subjects were able to learn this conditional go no go discrimination, suggesting acquisition of context-specific flavor-consequence expectancies, but no context-specific conditioned preference was observed. This suggests the operation of different conditioning mechanisms in simple expectancy learning and preference conditioning. These data confirm that rats can use flavor cues as discriminative stimuli for instrumental behavior when consequences are like those used in preference/aversion conditioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-182
Number of pages21
JournalLearning and Motivation
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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