chapter  30
9 Pages

When Is a Reward Reinforcing? An Experimental Study of the Information Hypothesis

WithM. David Egger

A secondary reinforcement paradigm was used to try to find the point in the sequence of delivery and consumption of reward at which reinforcement occurs. The information-hypothesis of secondary reinforcement should perhaps be qualified by stating that the informative-redundant relation of the cues involved makes sense only if the two occur at comparable intervals before the primary reward. In this chapter, the authors explain the relationship between the information-hypothesis and some formulations of secondary reinforcement. In an experiment to test this hypothesis, they used the learning of secondary reinforcement in order to have an external cue which could be manipulated so as to occur at a desired point in the reinforcement sequence. The informative stimulus in this experiment proved to be a secondary reinforcer comparable in strength to the stimulus in the simple conditioning paradigm.