Seems to me that there must be more about pain and pleasure than mere −1 and +1 signals, because there are multiple methods how to make some behavior more or less likely. Pain and pleasure is one such option, habits are another option, unconscious biases yet another. Each of them make some behavior more likely and some other behavior less likely, but feel quite differently from inside. Compared to habits and unconscious biases, pain and pleasure have some extra quality because of how they are implemented in our bodies.
The simple RL agents, unless they have the specific circuits to feel pain and pleasure, are in my opinion more analogical to the habits or unconscious biases.