Reversal learning as a function of changed reward location or changed drive

Elizabeth D. Capaldi, Nathan S. Smith, John R. Hovancik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In two experiments, rats were trained with food in one location (e.g., black alley) and water in another location (white alley) under hunger or thirst. Subsequently, either the locations of the rewards were reversed, or the drive was changed (from hunger to thirst or thirst to hunger). Reversal of instrumental responses took considerably longer when drive was changed and rewards remained in the same locations than when reward locations were reversed. These results were interpreted as indicating that the animal's internal representations of the rewards received in each location transfer when drive is changed. These internal-reward representations interfere with reversal learning by eliciting the responses which were conditioned to them in Phase 1. Because the values of food and water reverse when drive is changed from hunger to thirst or vice versa, it was suggested that the reward representations surviving the drive shift are cognitive representations of the specific events received (food or water), independent of the value of the rewards under either hunger or thirst.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-112
Number of pages15
JournalLearning and Motivation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1977
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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