Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

The “benefit” of Pavlovian conditioning – performance models, hidden costs, and innovation

Graham C. L. Davey a1 and Andy P. Field a2
a1 School of Cognitive and Computing Science, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 9QH, United Kingdom
a2 Psychology Department, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX, United Kingdom


A proper evaluation of the biological significance of Pavlovian conditioning requires consideration of performance mechanisms. Domjan et al.'s definition of net benefit is simplistic, and their model promotes convergence in behaviour, ignoring the possibility of innovation.