chapter  31
13 Pages

Effect of Strength of Drive Determined by a New Technique for Appetitive Classical Conditioning of Rats

WithRichard C. DeBold, Donald D. Jensen

A new method of appetitive classical conditioning has the great economy of using laboratory rats and tongue-licking, a short-latency response. Tests for effect of drive on learning were carried down to the theoretically crucial level of zero relevant drive, with adequate exposure to the goal substance. According to the drive-reduction hypothesis of reinforcement, whenever the reinforcement involves reducing the drive promptly and completely to zero, there will necessarily be a one-to-one relationship between the strength of drive and the amount of reinforcement and hence learning. A cognitive theory of learning predicts different results. According to such a theory the association between a signal and a goal substance can be learned perfectly well in the absence of any drive and reinforcement. In order to separate the effects of drive on learning from those on performance, drive was varied separately during both a first stage of original training and a second stage of testing.