Anticipatory contrast refers to the the process whereby the rate of response varies inversely with an upcoming ("anticipated”) change in the rate of reinforcement.

Anticipatory contrast is a phenomenon in psychology in which the perceived value or pleasure of an experience is influenced by previous experiences or expectations. Specifically, anticipatory contrast refers to the tendency for an individual to experience a greater change in pleasure or satisfaction if the current experience is very different from their previous experience, compared to if the current experience is similar to their previous experience.

For example, if an individual has a series of pleasant experiences, and then has an unpleasant experience, they may experience a greater contrast in pleasure than if they had a series of unpleasant experiences and then had a pleasant experience. Similarly, if an individual has high expectations for an experience and it meets or exceeds those expectations, they may experience a greater contrast in pleasure than if they had low expectations and the experience met those expectations.

Anticipatory contrast can have implications for consumer behavior, as it can influence how individuals evaluate and choose products or services. It can also have implications for how individuals experience and evaluate events or situations in their lives.

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