Reports

Rats' Preference for Earned in Comparison with Free Food

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Science  27 Feb 1970:
Vol. 167, Issue 3922, pp. 1273-1274
DOI: 10.1126/science.167.3922.1273

Abstract

Rats were trained to eat free food from a dish, then trained to press a lever for similar food. The free food was then presented while subjects were pressing on several reinforcement schedules. Subjects continued to press for reinforcement when one or two presses were required for reinforcement, and ate little free food. When ten presses were required for reinforcement, rats preferred free food and pressed little or not at all. It was concluded that, when work demands are not too high, rats prefer earned food to free food.