The misbehavior of value and the discipline of the will

Neural Netw. 2006 Oct;19(8):1153-60. doi: 10.1016/j.neunet.2006.03.002. Epub 2006 Aug 30.


Most reinforcement learning models of animal conditioning operate under the convenient, though fictive, assumption that Pavlovian conditioning concerns prediction learning whereas instrumental conditioning concerns action learning. However, it is only through Pavlovian responses that Pavlovian prediction learning is evident, and these responses can act against the instrumental interests of the subjects. This can be seen in both experimental and natural circumstances. In this paper we study the consequences of importing this competition into a reinforcement learning context, and demonstrate the resulting effects in an omission schedule and a maze navigation task. The misbehavior created by Pavlovian values can be quite debilitating; we discuss how it may be disciplined.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Association Learning
  • Avoidance Learning
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology*
  • Conditioning, Operant / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Reinforcement Schedule
  • Reinforcement, Psychology*
  • Time Factors