behaviour contrast

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The phenomenon whereby if an organism is given a small reward for a particular response, and then the reward is increased, the organism's rate of responding tends to increase to a level higher than it would have been if the larger reward had been given from the start. Also, if a large reward is replaced by a smaller one, the rate of responding tends to fall below the level that would have occurred if the smaller reward had been given from the outset, but this version of the phenomenon is less robust. In its positive form it is also called the elation effect or the Crespi effect. US behavior contrast.

Subjects: Psychology.

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