Deprivation stimulus intensity and incentive factors in the control of instrumental responding

Elizabeth D. Capaldi, Donna M. Viveiros, T. L. Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The control of deprivation over instrumental responding and its implications on motivation and learning were examined through 2 experiments. Exp I demonstrated this control by deprivation-intensity cues (DICs) using 16 male albino rats. Ss anticipated the occurrence of punishment in the goal box when the occurrence of punishment was predictable on the basis of degree of food deprivation. In Exp II, using 36 male albino rats, control of instrumental responding by DICs was measured separately from other effects of deprivation by correlating the occurrence of reward with deprivation intensity. Half of the Ss received food reward under high deprivation and nonreward under low deprivation while the other half received the reverse deprivation-goal event correlation. Initially Ss ran faster on all trials, the higher the deprivation under which reward was experienced. This suggests that food produces stronger conditioning, is more reinforcing, or produces greater incentive when the level of deprivation is higher. Later in training, Ss ran more rapidly under rewarded deprivation than under nonrewarded deprivation. These results demonstrate the control of instrumental responding by DICs and indicate that this effect occurs later in training than the effects of deprivation on reinforcement or incentive. (17 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-149
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1981


  • high vs low food deprivation &
  • punishment &
  • reward vs nonreward, instrumental responding, rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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