Expectancy and stimulus frequency: A comparative analysis in rats and humans

Kevin Pang, Fred Merkel, Howard Egeth, David S. Olton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We examined whether expectancy, one of several factors influencing attention, is similarly affected in rats and humans by manipulation of relative stimulus frequency, A two-choice reaction time (RT) task was developed for rats, and an analogous task was used for humans. Errors, RTs, discriminability, and response bias were measured. Both rats and humans shifted their response bias to the more frequent stimulus, with no change in overall discriminability. As stimulus probability or stimulus repetition increased, RTs and errors decreased. These results illustrate the similarity of expectancy in rats and humans. This two-choice RT task for rats can be used in future studies to examine the neuronal mechanisms of expectancy and attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-615
Number of pages9
JournalPerception & Psychophysics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Psychology(all)


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