Quinine pellets as an inferior good and a Giffen good in rats.

T. Hastjarjo, A. Silberberg, S. R. Hursh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In Experiment 1, 4 rats earned their daily food ration by choosing between two levers. One lever delivered two regular and one quinine-adulterated food pellets, and the other delivered two regular and four quinine pellets. A 20-s intertrial interval separated successive choices. Sessions began with 10 forced trials during which only one lever, selected with p = .5 and cued by a light above it, could deliver its reinforcer. Forced trials were followed by 30 or 150 trials, depending on the condition, during which choices to either lever could be reinforced. Over this range, absolute choice of the four-quinine, two-regular-pellet lever was inversely related to the number of free-choice trials, establishing this reinforcer as an inferior good. In Condition 1 of Experiment 2, the prior design was altered in two ways: (a) one lever delivered four quinine pellets, and the other lever delivered one standard pellet; and (b) sessions ended after 140 free-choice trials. When the number of free-choice trials was reduced to 100 (Condition 2), all 3 rats increased their preference for quinine pellets, confirming their status as an inferior good. In the next several conditions, the number of quinine pellets provided for selecting its associated lever was varied between three and four. Preference for the quinine-pellet alternative was inversely related to the number of pellets it provided, a result defining it as a Giffen good. These findings are not accommodated readily by extant choice models and complicate the search for a unitary model of choice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-271
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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