Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Behavioural Processes

Publisher

Elsevier

Publication Date

8-29-2013

DOI

10.1016/j.beproc.2013.08.012

Abstract

Contingency, and more particularly temporal contingency, has often figured in thinking about the nature of learning. However, it has never been formally defined in such a way as to make it a measure that can be applied to most animal learning protocols. We use elementary information theory to define contingency in such a way as to make it a measurable property of almost any conditioning protocol. We discuss how making it a measurable construct enables the exploration of the role of different contingencies in the acquisition and performance of classically and operantly conditioned behavior.