While known reinforcers of behavior are outcomes that are valuable to the organism, recent research has demonstrated that the mere occurrence of an own-response effect can also reinforce responding. In this paper we begin investigating whether these two types of reinforcement occur via the same mechanism. To this end, we modified two different tasks, previously established to capture the influence of a response’s effectiveness on the speed of motor-responses (indexed here by participants’ reaction times). Specifically, in six experiments we manipulated both a response’s ‘pure’ effectiveness and its outcome value (e.g., substantial versus negligible monetary reward) and measured the influence of both on the speed of responding. The findings strongly suggest that post action selection, responding is influenced only by pure effectiveness, as assessed by the motor system; thus, at these stages responding is not sensitive to abstract representations of the value of a response (e.g., monetary value). We discuss the benefit of distinguishing between these two necessary aspects of adaptive behavior namely, fine-tuning of motor-control and striving for desired outcomes. Finally, we embed the findings in the recently proposed Control-based response selection (CBRS) framework and elaborate on its potential for understanding motor-learning processes in developing infants.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).
ASJC Scopus subject areas