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Facilitating Stimulus Effects of Reward and Punishment

Discriminability as a General Principle
  • Harry Fowler

Abstract

It is the presumption, if not the dictum, of investigators concerned with “basic” psychological research that relatively focused or circumscribed study of a particular problem will often uncover a general principle of behavior. This chapter seeks to illuminate such an outgrowth from the history and current extension of research on “shock-right” facilitation, one of several seemingly paradoxical effects of punishment (see Fowler, 197lb). The phenomenon in question was first detected and theoretically elaborated by Karl Muenzinger (1934). He reported that rats were facilitated in learning a visual discrimination when electric shock was administered for the correct, food-reinforced (“right”) response, and virtually as well as when the same intensity of shock was administered to other animals for the incorrect, non-food-reinforced response (“shock wrong”). The generality of the shock-right facilitation effect did not go uncontested, however, and it is to George Wischner’s credit that the phenomenon was first empirically delimited (Wischner, 1947) and then subsequently elaborated in a systematic program of research that he and the author conducted (e.g., Fowler and Wischner, 1969).

Keywords

Incorrect Response Discriminative Stimulus Food Reward Reward Expectancy Reversal Training 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harry Fowler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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