We present a new model of remembering in the context of conditional discrimination. For procedures such as delayed matching to sample, the effect of the sample stimuli at the time of remembering is represented by a pair of Thurstonian (normal) distributions of effective stimulus values. The critical assumption of the model is that, based on prior experience, each effective stimulus value is associated with a ratio of reinforcers obtained for previous correct choices of the comparison stimuli. That ratio determines the choice that is made on the basis of the matching law. The standard deviations of the distributions are assumed to increase with increasing retention-interval duration, and the distance between their means is assumed to be a function of other factors that influence overall difficulty of the discrimination. It is a behavioral model in that choice is determined by its reinforcement history. The model predicts that the biasing effects of the reinforcer differential increase with decreasing discriminability and with increasing retention-interval duration. Data from several conditions using a delayed matching-to-sample procedure with pigeons support the predictions. (+info)
Effects of promazine, chlorpromazine, d-amphetamine, and pentobarbital on treadle pressing by pigeons under a signalled shock-postponement schedule.
The effects of promazine on treadle pressing to postpone the presentation of electric shock were studied in three pigeons. The effects of chlorpromazine, d-amphetamine, and pentobarbital were studied in two of these pigeons. Each treadle press postponed electric shock for 20 sec and presentation of a preshock stimulus for 14 sec. Selected doses of both promazine and chlorpromazine increased the rates of treadle pressing in all birds. The response-rate increases produced by promazine and chlorpromazine were due to increased conditional probabilities of treadle pressing both before and during the preshock stimulus. d-Amphetamine (1 and 3 mg/kg) slightly increased responding in one of the birds, but not to the extent that promazine or chlorpromazine did. In the other bird, the 10 mg/kg dose of d-amphetamine increased shock rate but did not change response rate. Some doses of d-amphetamine increased the conditional probabilities of responding both in the absence of the preshock signal and during the preshock signal in both birds. Pentobarbital only decreased response rates and increased shock rates. (+info)
The effects of d-amphetamine on the temporal control of operant responding in rats during a preshock stimulus.
The operant behavior of six rats was maintained by a random-interval schedule of reinforcement. Three-minute periods of noise were superimposed on this behavior, each period ending with the delivery of an unavoidable shock. Overall rates of responding were generally lower during the periods of noise than in its absence (conditioned suppression). These suppressed response rates also exhibited temporal patterning, with responding becoming less frequent as each noise period progressed. The effects of d-amphetamine on this behavioral baseline were then assessed. In four animals the relative response rates during the noise and in its absence suggested that the drug produced a dose-related decrease in the amount of conditioned suppression. However, this effect was often due to a decrease in the rates of responding in the absence of the preshock stimulus, rather than to an increase in response rates during the stimulus. Temporal patterning in response rates during the preshock stimulus was abolished, an effect that was interpreted in terms of rate-dependent effect of d-amphetamine. This study thus extends rate-dependent analyses of the effects of amphetamines to the patterns of operant behavior that occur during a preshock stimulus, and which have been discussed in terms of the disrupting effects of anxiety on operant behavior. (+info)
On the relation between object manipulation and stereotypic self-injurious behavior.
Results from a number of studies have shown an inverse relationship between stereotypic behavior and object manipulation. The purposes of this study were to determine whether techniques similar to those used previously (prompting and reinforcement) would be effective in increasing object manipulation under both prompted and unprompted conditions, and to ascertain whether increases in object manipulation would result in decreases in stereotypic self-injurious behavior (SIB). Two individuals with developmental disabilities who engaged in SIB maintained by automatic reinforcement participated. Results showed that object manipulation increased from baseline levels when experimenters prompted participants to manipulate leisure items, but that object manipulation was not maintained under unprompted conditions, and rates of SIB stayed within baseline levels. We then attempted to increase object manipulation further by (a) reinforcing object manipulation, (b) blocking SIB while reinforcing manipulation, and (c) preventing SIB by applying protective equipment while reinforcing object manipulation. Reinforcing object manipulation alone did not affect levels of object manipulation. Blocking effectively reduced attempts to engage in SIB for 1 participant but produced no increase in object manipulation. When the 2nd participant was prevented from engaging in SIB through the use of protective equipment, rates of object manipulation increased dramatically but were not maintained when the equipment was removed. These results suggest that stimulation derived from object manipulation, even when supplemented with arbitrary reinforcement, may not compete with stimulation produced by stereotypic SIB; therefore, direct interventions to reduce SIB are required. (+info)
Examination of ambiguous stimulus preferences with duration-based measures.
Items that produced ambiguous results in an approach-based preference assessment were reassessed using a duration-based assessment. The reinforcing effects of three items on free-operant responding were subsequently tested. The results suggested that the duration-based assessment produced slightly more differentiated results and that predictions about reinforcer value, based on this assessment, were accurate. (+info)
Rat strain differences in the acquisition of conditioned avoidance responses and in the effects of diazepam.
Adult male albino rats of three strains--Wistar, Sprague-Dawley and Holtzman--were trained to press a lever to avoid electric shocks under Sidman-type (R-S interval-20 sec; S-S interval=5 sec) and discriminated avoidance (ITI-15 sec; warning duration=5 sec) schedules, and the acquisition processes of avoidance responses, and the properties of behavioral baselines were investigated. Under both schedules, Wistar strain rats, though showing poorer results than the other two in the beginning, rapidly progressed with the repetitive training, and finally displayed excellent and stable performances. Srague-Dawley strain rats were poorer in performances, with delayed acquisition and prolonged warm-up effect in the within-session performance. The results of Holtzman strain rats ranked between the two. After the establishment of stable behavioral baselines under both schedules, 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0 mg/kg of diazepam were given subcutaneously, and it was found that in Wistar and Holtzman strain rats, the avoidance responses were inhibited together with increase of delivered shocks in parallel to the doses. In Sprague-Dawley strain rats, however, the avoidance responses were conversely improved with 0.5 and 1.0 mg/kg, while such tended to be inhibited with 2.0 mg/kg, with marked concomitant ataxia. As definite strain differences in avoidance response were demonstrated herein, selection of the most appropriate strain should be made when designing behavioral experiments. (+info)
The role of the response-reinforcer relation in delay-of-reinforcement effects.
The role of the response-reinforcer relation in maintaining operant behavior under conditions of delayed reinforcement was investigated by using a two-operandum (i.e., two-key) procedure with pigeons. Responding on one key was reinforced under a tandem variable-interval differential-reinforcement-of-other-behavior (tandem VI DRO) schedule. The schedule defined a resetting unsignaled delay-of-reinforcement procedure in that a response was required when the interfood interval of the VI schedule lapsed, but further responding during the DRO component on either key reset the time interval. This ensured a fixed delay duration between any response and reinforcement. Responding on another key, physically identical to the first one except for spatial location, otherwise was without consequence. The location of the key correlated with the delay-of-reinforcement procedure varied between sessions according to a semirandom sequence. Differences in response rates between the two keys were greater, with proportionally higher rates on the key correlated with the delay-of-reinforcement procedure, the longer the delay-of-reinforcement procedure remained correlated with the same key. Differences in responding on the two keys also increased within individual sessions. These results suggest that the response-reinforcer relation is the primary determinant of responding when responding is acquired and maintained with delayed reinforcement. (+info)
Time and memory: towards a pacemaker-free theory of interval timing.
A popular view of interval timing in animals is that it is driven by a discrete pacemaker-accumulator mechanism that yields a linear scale for encoded time. But these mechanisms are fundamentally at odds with the Weber law property of interval timing, and experiments that support linear encoded time can be interpreted in other ways. We argue that the dominant pacemaker-accumulator theory, scalar expectancy theory (SET), fails to explain some basic properties of operant behavior on interval-timing procedures and can only accommodate a number of discrepancies by modifications and elaborations that raise questions about the entire theory. We propose an alternative that is based on principles of memory dynamics derived from the multiple-time-scale (MTS) model of habituation. The MTS timing model can account for data from a wide variety of time-related experiments: proportional and Weber law temporal discrimination, transient as well as persistent effects of reinforcement omission and reinforcement magnitude, bisection, the discrimination of relative as well as absolute duration, and the choose-short effect and its analogue in number-discrimination experiments. Resemblances between timing and counting are an automatic consequence of the model. We also argue that the transient and persistent effects of drugs on time estimates can be interpreted as well within MTS theory as in SET. Recent real-time physiological data conform in surprising detail to the assumptions of the MTS habituation model. Comparisons between the two views suggest a number of novel experiments. (+info)