Behavioural responses to unexpected changes in reward quality.

Riemer, Stefanie; Thompson, Hannah; Burman, Oliver H P (2018). Behavioural responses to unexpected changes in reward quality. Scientific Reports, 8(1), p. 16652. Nature Publishing Group 10.1038/s41598-018-35056-5

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Successive negative contrast (SNC) effects are changes in anticipatory or consummatory behaviour when animals unexpectedly receive a lower value reward than they have received previously. SNC effects are often assumed to reflect frustration and appear to be influenced by background affective state. However, alternative explanations of SNC, such as the functional-search hypothesis, do not necessarily imply an aversive affective state. We tested 18 dogs in a SNC paradigm using a patch foraging task. Dogs were tested in two conditions, once with the low value reward in all of five trials (unshifted) and once when reward value was altered between high and low (shifted). Following a reward downshift, subjects showed a SNC effect by switching significantly more often between patches compared to the unshifted condition. However, approach latency, foraging time and quantity consumed did not differ between conditions, suggesting non-affective functional search behaviour rather than frustration. There was no relationship between strength of SNC and anxiety-related behaviours as measured in a novel object test and a personality questionnaire (C-BARQ). However, associations with the C-BARQ scores for Trainability and Stranger directed aggression suggest a possible link with behavioural flexibility and coping style. While reward quality clearly affects incentive motivation, the relationship between SNC, frustration and background affective state requires further exploration.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute > Animal Welfare Division
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH)

UniBE Contributor:

Riemer, Stefanie

Subjects:

500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture

ISSN:

2045-2322

Publisher:

Nature Publishing Group

Language:

English

Submitter:

Lilian Karin Smith-Wirth

Date Deposited:

27 Mar 2019 11:15

Last Modified:

11 Mar 2021 07:13

Publisher DOI:

10.1038/s41598-018-35056-5

PubMed ID:

30413798

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.125154

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/125154

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