Animal Learning & Behavior

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 451–460 | Cite as

Interference and facilitation produced by noncontingent reinforcement in the appetitive situation

  • R. F. S. Job
Article

Abstract

The results of experiments on learned helplessness in the appetitive situation have varied from facilitation to debilitating effects produced by exposure to uncontrollable food. The conditions under which the interference effect (debilitation) may occur were examined in the first three experiments, employing the triadic design. Sixteen sets of conditions were examined. The results suggested that the effect occurs when (1) subjects are preexposed to the manipulandum to be used in the test stage, by having it present during pretreatment with uncontrollable food, and (2) the manipulandum employed during pretreatment is absent during the test stage. Furthermore, under the reverse conditions (test manipulandum absent during pretreatment, and pretreatment manipulandum present during testing) and partial reinforcement of the response contingent subjects during pretreatment, the test performance of rats exposed to uncontrollability was facilitated. Experiment 4 confirmed the occurrence of the interference effect under the suggested conditions. Apparently inconsistent results of previous studies may be interpreted in the light of these findings.

References

  1. Alloy, L. B., &Seligman, M. E. P. (1979). On the cognitive component of learned helplessness and depression. In G. H. Bower (Ed.),The psychology of learning and motivation: Advances in research and theory (Vol. 16, pp. 219–276). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  2. Anisman, H. (1975). Time-dependent variations in aversively motivated behaviors: Nonassociative effects of cholinergic and catecholaminergic activity.Psychological Review,82, 359–385.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bainbridge, P. L. (1973). Learning in the rat: Effect of early experience with an unsolvable problem.Journal of Comparative & Physiological Psychology,82, 301–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baker, A. G. (1976). Learned irrelevance and learned helplessness: Rats learn that stimuli, reinforcers, and responses are uncorrelated.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes,2, 130–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Beatty, W. W., &Maki, W. S. (1979). Acquisition of instrumental responding following noncontingent reinforcement: Failure to observe “learned laziness” in rats.Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society,13, 268–271.Google Scholar
  6. Benson, J. S., &Kennelly, K. J. (1976). Learned helplessness: The result of uncontrollable reinforcements or uncontrollable aversive stimuli.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,34, 138–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Black, A. H. (1977). Comments on “Learned Helplessness: Theory and Evidence” by Maier and Seligman.Journal of Experimental Psychology: General,106, 41–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bracewell, R. J., &Black, A. H. (1974). The effects of restraint and noncontingent preshock on subsequent escape learning in the rat.Learning & Motivation,5, 53–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brown, G. E., &Dixon, P. A. (1983). Learned helplessness in the gerbil.Journal of Comparative Psychology,97, 90–92.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Calef, R. S., Metz, R. A., Atkinson, T. L., Pellerzi, R. C., Taylor, K. S., &Geller, E. S. (1984). Acquisition of running in the straight alley following experience with response-independent food.Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society,22, 67–69.Google Scholar
  11. Danker-Brown, P., &Baucom, D. H. (1982). Cognitive influences on the development of learned helplessness.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,43, 793–801.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dweck, C. S., &Reppucci, N. D. (1973). Learned helplessness and reinforcement responsibility in children.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,25, 109–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Enberg, L. A., Hansen, G., Welker, R. L., &Thomas, D. R. (1972). Acquisition of key pecking via autoshaping as a function of prior experience: “Learned laziness?”Science,178, 1002–1004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gamzu, E. R., Williams, D. R., &Schwartz, B. (1973). Pitfalls of organismic concepts: “Learned laziness?”Science,181, 367–368.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Glazer, H. I., &Weiss, J. M. (1976). Long term and transitory interference effects.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes,2, 191–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Griffith, M. (1977). Effects of noncontingent success and failure on mood and performanceJournal of Personality,45, 442–457.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Henn, F. A., Johnson, J., Edwards, E., &Anderson, D. (1985). Melancholia in rodents: Neurobiology and pharmacology.Psychopharmacology Bulletin,21, 443–446.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Hiroto, D. S., &Seligman, M. E. P. (1975). Generality of learned helplessness in manJournal of Personality & Social Psychology,31, 311–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Irwin, J., Suissa, A., &Anisman, H. (1980). Differential effects of inescapable shock on escape performance and discrimination learning in a water escape test.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes,6, 21–40.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Job, R. F. S. (1987a). Learned helplessness in an appetitive discretetrial T-maze discrimination testAnimal Learning & Behavior,15, 342–346Google Scholar
  21. Job, R. F. S. (1987b) Learned helplessness in chickens.Animal Learning & Behavior,15, 347–350Google Scholar
  22. Kelsey, J. E. (1977) Escape acquisition following inescapable shock in the ratAnimal Learning & Behavior,5, 83–92Google Scholar
  23. Klein, D. G., Fencil-Morse, E., &Seligman, M. E. P. (1976) Learned helplessness, depression and the attribution of failure.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,33, 508–516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Levis, D. J. (1976). Learned helplessness: A reply and an alternative S-R interpretation.Journal of Experimental Psychology. General,105, 47–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lubow, R. E., Rifkin, B., &Alek, M. (1976). The context effect: The relationship between stimulus pre-exposure and environmental pre-exposure determines subsequent learning.Journal of Experimental Psychology Animal Behavior Processes,2, 38–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Maier, S. F. (1970). Failure to escape traumatic electric shock. Incompatible skeletal-motor responses or learned helplessness?Learning & Motivation,1, 157–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Maier, S. F., Albin, R. W., &Testa, J. J. (1973). Failure to learn to escape in rats previously exposed to inescapable shock depends on nature of escape response.Journal of Comparative & Physiological Psychology,85, 581–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Maier, S. F., &Jackson, R. L. (1979). Learned helplessness All of us were right (and wrong). Inescapable shock has multiple effects In G. H. Bower (Ed.),The psychology of learning and motivation Advances in research and theory (Vol 16, pp 155–218) New York Academic PressGoogle Scholar
  29. Maier, S. F., &Seligman, M. E. P. (1976). Learned helplessness Theory and evidence.Journal of Experimental Psychology General,105, 3–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Maier, S. F., Seligman, M. E. P., &Solomon, R. L. (1969). Pavlo vian fear conditioning and learned helplessness: Effects on escape and avoidance behavior of (a) the CS-US contingency, and (b) the independence of the US and voluntary responding. In B. A. Campbell & R. M. Church (Eds.),Punishment and aversive behavior (pp 299–342). New York. Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  31. Maier, S. F., &Testa, J. J. (1975). Failure to learn to escape by rats previously exposed to inescapable shock is partly produced by associative interference.Journal of Comparative & Physiological Psychology,88, 554–564.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nation, J. R., &Massad, P. (1978). Persistence training: A partial reinforcement procedure for reversing learned helplessness and depressionJournal of Experimental Psychology General,107, 436–451.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Oakes, W. F., Rosenblum, J. L., &Fox, P. E. (1982). “Manna from Heaven” The effects of noncontingent appetitive reinforcers on learning in rats.Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society,19, 123–126.Google Scholar
  34. Overmier, J. B., &Seligman, M. E. P. (1967). Effects of inescapable shock upon subsequent escape and avoidance responding.Journal of Comparative & Physiological Psychology,63, 28–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rosellini, R. A. (1978). Inescapable shock interferes with the acquisition of an appetitive operant.Animal Learning & Behavior,6, 155–159.Google Scholar
  36. Roth, S., &Bootzin, R. R. (1974). Effects of experimentally induced expectancies of external control.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,29, 253–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Schwartz, B., Reisberg, D., &Vollmecke, T. (1974). Effects of treadle training on autoshaped keypecking. Learned laziness and learned industnousness or response competition?Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society,3, 369–372Google Scholar
  38. Seligman, M. E. P. (1975).Helplessness. On depression, development and death. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman.Google Scholar
  39. Seligman, M. E. P., &Beagley, G. (1975). Learned helplessness in the rat.Journal of Comparative & Physiological Psychology,88, 534–541CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Seligman, M. E. P., Maier, S. F., &Geer, J. (1968). The alleviation of learned helplessness in the dogJournal of Abnormal Psychology,73, 256–262.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Shurman, A. J., &Katzev, R. D. (1975). Escape/avoidance responding in rats depends on strain and number of inescapable preshocks.Journal of Comparative & Physiological Psychology,88, 548–553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Tomie, A., Murphy, A. L., Fath, S., &Jackson, R. L. (1980). Retardation of autoshaping following pretraining with unpredictable food. Effects of changing the context between pretraining and testingLearning & Motivation,11, 117–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Valle, F. P. (1969). A note on the caloric values of Punna chow and Noyes pelletsPsychonomic Science,15, 38Google Scholar
  44. Weiss, J. M., Glazer, H. I., Pohorecky, L. A. (1976). Coping behavior and neurochemical changes in rats: An alternative explanation for the original “learned helplessness” experiments. In A. Kling & G. Serban (Eds.),Animal models in human psychobiology (pp. 141–173) New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  45. Weiss, J. M., Goodman, P. A., Losito, B. G., Corrigan, S., Charry, J. M., &Bailey, W. H. (1981). Behavioral depression produced by an uncontrollable Stressor. Relationship to norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin levels in various regions of rat brain.Brain Research Reviews,3, 167–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Welker, R. L. (1976). Acquisition of a free-operant-appetitive response in pigeons as a function of prior experience with response-undependent food.Learning & Motivation,7, 394–405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wheatley, K. L., Welker, R. L., &Miles, R. C. (1977). Acquisition of barpressing in rats following experience with response-independent food.Animal Learning & Behavior,5, 236–242 (Erratum.Animal Learning & Behavior, 1978,6, 51).Google Scholar
  48. Winefield, A. H. (1978). The effect of prior random reinforcement on brightness discrimination in rats.Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology,30, 113–119CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. F. S. Job
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of SydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations