Choice and contingency in the development of behavioral autonomy during instrumental conditioning

Yutaka Kosaki, Anthony Dickinson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


In two experiments hungry rats received extensive training to lever press for food outcomes before one outcome was devalued by aversion conditioning and responding tested in extinction. If the rats were trained on a concurrent schedule in which two responses yielded different outcomes, performance during the extinction test was reduced by devaluation of the associated outcome. By contrast, if a single response was trained concurrently with the noncontingent presentations of the other outcome, test performance was insensitive to devaluation of the contingent outcome. This finding demonstrates that training on a schedule that offers a choice between responses that yield different outcomes prevents the onset of behavioral autonomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334-342
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jul
Externally publishedYes


  • Choice
  • Goal-directed behavior
  • Habits
  • Instrumental learning
  • Reinforcer devaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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