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J Exp Anal Behav. 2007 Nov;88(3):381-93.

Effects of differing response-force requirements on food-maintained responding in CD-1 mice.

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University of Rochester Medical Center, USA.


The effect of force requirements on response effort was examined using outbred (CD-1) mice trained to press a disk with their snout. Lateral peak forces greater than 2 g were defined as threshold responses (i.e., all measured responses). Different force requirements were used to define criterion responses (a subclass of threshold responses) that exceeded the requirement. The reinforcer was sweetened, condensed milk, and it was delivered upon response termination. All mice were exposed to two ascending series of criterion force requirements (2, 4, 8, 16, and 32 g). Increasing the force requirement decreased criterion response rates, but increased threshold response rates. The time-integral of force (area under the force-time curve for individual responses, which is proportional to energy expenditure for each response) increased with the increase in the force requirement. These results conflict with the hypothesis that higher force requirements have aversive qualities and suggest that increased force requirements are more analogous to intermittent schedules of reinforcement. These data suggest that estimations of effort or energy expenditure should be measured independently of the force requirement. Individual differences in responding were found for the CD-1 outbred stock.

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