The rodents rapidly turned enthusiastic button pushers. “They’re very intelligent,” Mr. Lignier stated. (He named the white rat, which proved to be the cleverer of the 2, Augustin, after himself. The brown and white rat he named Arthur, after his brother.)
However after this coaching section, the rewards turned extra unpredictable. Though the rats have been nonetheless photographed each time they hit the button, the candy treats got here solely now and again, by design. These sorts of intermittent rewards will be particularly highly effective, scientists have discovered, conserving animals glued to their experimental slot machines as they await their subsequent jackpot.
Certainly, within the face of those unpredictable rewards, Augustin and Arthur — the rats — persevered. Typically, they ignored the sugar even when it did arrive, Mr. Lignier stated, and simply stored urgent the button anyway.