Honors Projects


Hannah Douglas


It is well known that humans have the capacity to prefer certain rewards over others. This idea has been studied in animals and is considered the relative reward processing theory. Research conducted on primates and rodents have found that they form an opinion on, and behave according to the relative magnitude of a reward compared to others (Cromwell, Hasani, & Schultz, 2005; Onge, Chiu, & Floresco, 2010). It is also accepted experience the emotion of jealousy in response to many different situations including uneven reward payoff. It has been theorized that some nonhuman animals including primates and domestic dogs are able to distinguish differences reward magnitude and modify their behaviors accordingly (Brosnan, 2006; Range, Horn, Viranyi, & Huber, 2009). This present study examines both theories by exposing experimental rats to high tones that cue high magnitude (3 pellets) rewards and low tones that cue low magnitude (1 pellet) rewards. They are also exposed to a control rat receiving only high rewards. The results show a pattern towards relative reward processing as will as significance towards inequity aversion when entering the food cup for the reward.



First Advisor

Howard Cromwell

First Advisor Department


Second Advisor

Philip Dickinson

Second Advisor Department


Publication Date

Fall 12-10-2012