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Anticipation Response

 

Techniques Conditioning > Anticipation Response

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

An anticipation response is an action that is taken before the cue that is intended to cause the action.

The anticipation is typically an expectation of reward, with the action taken assumed to be a possible route to receiving that reward.

Anticipation can also happen when a punishment is expected, for example when a subject avoids a trainer after it has misbehaved.

Example

A dog notices that its owner has food at hand and goes through its full repertoire of tricks.

A child cleans an already clean table in hopes of getting praise.

Discussion

When you hold a piece of food out towards a dog, this typically becomes a stimulus that initially causes attention and then that the dog wonders what action they must take in order to get this reward. It is no surprise that most dogs will at least sit, and that many will perform actions they are commonly asked to take, in hope that this will get them the reward they seek.

Note that if you reward a subject for an anticipation response you have simply reinforced this action. In effect, you are saying 'when you see food in my hand, start going through your tricks'.

Anticipation of punishment may well lead to a fight-or-flight response. This happens when a stimulus has been paired with the punishment. Such stimuli can (as with a positive anticipation) include subtle and unintended signs, including the body language of the trainer.

When an anticipated reward or punishment is strongly desired or feared, it can lead to sensitization, such that the subject reacts at the slightest hint of such consequences.

See also

Sensitization

 

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