Verbal Behavior and Initial Exposure to Delayed Reinforcement
Ten subjects responded under a tandem fixed-ratio 1 not-responding-greater-than-t schedule of point delivery during one 75-min session in which the delay was either 10 or 20 s. Subjects were asked to describe the contingencies throughout the session. Although studies with nonhumans have demonstrated response acquisition under similar delayed-consequence procedures, a minority of subjects in the current study demonstrated sensitivity to delayed consequences convincingly. All subjects exhibited inefficient patterns of responding and descriptions of nonexistent contingencies. Subjects who demonstrated learning were more likely to verbalize the actual contingencies, but this was not true in all cases. Furthermore, some subjects who demonstrated learning did not describe the delay contingency. Results suggest that learning may occur in the absence of a person’s ability to describe environment-behavior relations.
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