Contrast and reinforcement in consumption

Elizabeth D. Capaldi, Joan D. Sheffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


In three experiments negative contrast in consummatory responding was measured, as well as the preference for the flavor associated with the lesser reinforcer. In all experiments one flavor of saccharin was given on days that chocolate milk occurred and another flavor was given on days with no chocolate milk. For some groups the saccharin preceded chocolate milk, for others the order of chocolate milk and saccharin was random, and for others the saccharin followed the chocolate milk. In all experiments rats suppressed consumption of the lesser reinforcer during training (negative contrast) but preferred the flavor of saccharin that had accompanied chocolate milk to the flavor of saccharin that occurred alone. This suggests that contrast is not a reflection of reduced reward value of the lesser reinforcer. Instead some negative reaction to receiving the lesser reinforcer during training must suppress consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-79
Number of pages17
JournalLearning and Motivation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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