The Effects of Response Contingent and Non-Contingent Shock on Drug Self-Administration in Rhesus Monkeys

  • David M. Mclendon
  • Robert T. Harris
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 21)


Suppression of ongoing positively reinforced behavior by the presentation of aversive stimuli has been reported in some cases while facilitation of such behavior has been noted in other instances. A major variable in these studies is the contingency of the aversive stimulus upon the response of the animal. The majority of these investigations have been concerned with the effects of aversive stimuli on food reinforced responding. Azrin (1956) found that response contingent punishment had a greater effect on responding than did shock delivered on a non-contingent basis. Hunt and Brady (1955) also demonstrated the importance of response contingency in a punishment situation. These investigations reported greater suppression of the punished response when the punishment was response contingent. In a review of the area, Church (1963) concluded that if the aversive stimulus is contingent upon the response of the animal, greater suppression, or less facilitation, will occur than if the shock is not contingent upon the response. Facilitation of responding has been found to occur under certain conditions. Holz and Azrin (1962) found that punishment can facilitate responding under conditions where low intensity punishment has been correlated with positive reinforcement.


Aversive Stimulus Shock Intensity Response Contingent Access Period Aversive Threshold 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • David M. Mclendon
    • 1
  • Robert T. Harris
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA

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