Whereas intertemporal choice procedures are a common method for examining impulsive choice in nonhuman subjects, the apparatus used to implement this procedure varies across studies. The purpose of the present study was to compare impulsive choice between a two-lever chamber and a T-maze. In Experiment 1, rats chose between a smaller, immediate reinforcer and a larger, delayed reinforcer, first in a two-lever chamber and then in a T-maze. Delay to the larger reinforcer changed in an ascending and descending order (0-32s) across sessions. Experiment 2 examined the same between-apparatus comparison but under steady-state conditions with the delay fixed at 32s. In Experiment 1, choice for the larger, delayed reinforcer was generally higher in the T-maze than in the two-lever chamber. Similarly in Experiment 2, steady-state choice for the larger, delayed reinforcer was higher in the T-maze. Choice for the 32-s delayed reinforcer was also greater in Experiment 2 than in Experiment 1, suggesting that extended exposure to the delay is required for the T-maze to yield reliable impulsive choice data. While the reasons for the between-apparatus discrepancies are at present unknown, results from both experiments clearly demonstrate that the apparatus matters when assessing overall level and reliability of impulsive choice data.
- Impulsive choice
- Inter-temporal choice procedures
- Operant chamber