Resistance to satiation: Reinforcing effects of food and eating under satiation

Elizabeth D. Capaldi, T. L. Davidson, David E. Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


It has been shown previously that rats which have learned a response when hungry will continue to make that response when tested satiated, a phenomenon labeled resistance to satiation. Here we showed that rats which were previously trained hungry will learn a new response for the opportunity to consume pellets in a new situation when tested satiated. In four experiments various groups received each of the components of the training given when rats learn an instrumental response when hungry. Rats were placed in the goalbox of a straight alley and given food pellets when hungry or were hungry only in their home cages prior to running a straight alley in the satiated test in Experiment 1. In Experiments 2, 3, and 4 learning of a differential conditioning problem for pellets in S+ (nonreward in S-) was measured in the satiated test. Groups given pellets in their home cages when hungry with or without alley exposure learned to run more rapidly in S+ than in S- in the satiated test phase. The tendency to eat pellets in the apparatus and the reinforcing effect of eating the pellets was larger for rats which ate the pellets when hungry in their home cage than for rats which ate the pellets when satiated in their home cage. Being hungry in the home cage with no pellets was not sufficient to produce eating or running for pellets in the satiated test, indicating that any inherent reinforcing effect of the pellets is not sufficient to produce eating or running, and that incomplete satiation cannot account for the learning. These data indicate that a reinforcing effect of eating pellets under satiation is an important determiner of resistance to satiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-195
Number of pages25
JournalLearning and Motivation
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1981
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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