Answering hastily retards learning

PLoS One. 2018 Apr 25;13(4):e0195404. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0195404. eCollection 2018.


Appropriate decisions involve at least two aspects: the speed of the decision and the correctness of the decision. Although a quick and correct decision is generally believed to work favorably, these two aspects may be interdependent in terms of overall task performance. In this study, we scrutinized learning behaviors in an operant task in which rats were required to poke their noses into either of two holes by referring to a light cue. All 22 rats reached the learning criterion, an 80% correct rate, within 4 days of testing, but they were diverse in the number of sessions spent to reach the learning criterion. Individual analyses revealed that the mean latency for responding was negatively correlated with the number of sessions until learning, suggesting that the rats that responded more rapidly to the cues learned the task more slowly. For individual trials, the mean latency for responding in correct trials (LC) was significantly longer than that in incorrect trials (LI), suggesting that, on average, long deliberation times led to correct answers in the trials. The success ratio before learning was not correlated with the learning speed. Thus, deliberative decision-making, rather than overall correctness, is critical for learning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Decision Making*
  • Learning*
  • Male
  • Psychological Tests
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reaction Time*

Grant support

This work was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas (26250003; 25119004, The funders had no role in stsudy design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.