Transfer across reward devaluation tasks in inbred Roman rat strains

Lucas Cuenya, Marta Sabariego, Rocío Donaire, Albert Fernández-Teruel, Carmen Torres, Mauricio R. Papini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 Elsevier Inc. Emotional counterconditioning resulting from pairings between a state of frustration and food reward explains transfer across situations involving reward omission. This experiment explored the hypothesis that a similar emotional counterconditioning mechanism is also involved in recovery from reward devaluation. Inbred Roman high- and low-avoidance rat strains (RHA-I and RLA-I) were trained in consummatory and instrumental successive negative contrast tasks (cSNC and iSNC) in counterbalanced order. RLA-I rats have consistently shown high levels of anxiety in a variety of situations, relative to RHA-I rats. Therefore, a stronger evidence of transfer was expected in RLA-I rats than in RHA-I rats. Whereas both strains showed the effects in the original training phase, only RLA-I rats benefitted from prior exposure to one reward devaluation task. The transfer was positive and symmetrical (i.e., exposure to one SNC task attenuated the second effect). RHA-I rats produced no evidence of transfer. The results suggest that emotional counterconditioning is involved in recovery from reward devaluation tasks. Despite extensive psychogenetic selection for low-avoidance/high-anxiety behavior, RLA-I rats showed the ability to develop resilience as a function of prior experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-31
JournalLearning and Motivation
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Frustration
  • Resilience
  • Reward devaluation
  • Roman rats
  • Successive negative contrast
  • Transfer


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