Speaker: Professor Robert D. Rogers, Bangor University.
Preferences for variable over fixed delay schedules are consistently observed across species, reflecting risk-tolerant biases that prioritise obtaining food resources at the earliest possible opportunity.
Here, we investigated this issue by asking young healthy adults to make decisions about when they might next eat highly palatable food rewards.
We show that preferences for instrumental contingencies involving consumed-on-the-spot food rewards involve the incremental computation of action-values that are powerfully moderated by recent experiences of quick food rewards; that these computations are moderated by motivational state and link directly to peoples evaluation of actions involving foods, their behaviour in making food selections and their broader eating experiences.
We also validate these findings in mice, demonstrating inter-temporal biases are modulated by 5-HT2c receptor activity function and involve the operation of parallel learning and evaluative mechanisms cross-species.
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