In two experiments, effects of varying reward magnitude were compared with the effects of varying deprivation level. Resistance to extinction under low deprivation was found to be an increasing function of deprivation level during acquisition, whether partial or consistent reward was used, and an increasing function of reward magnitude if partial reward was used in acquisition. If consistent reward was used in acquisition, resistance to extinction was inversely related to acquisition reward magnitude. These experiments indicate that all of the effects of reward magnitude and deprivation level on performance cannot be explained by a single incentive mechanism. Two hypotheses that would account for the data are that reward-related stimuli have stronger control over responding than deprivation stimuli and/or that downshifts in reward size produce frustration, but deprivation shifts do not.
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