On Differential Stimulation and Differential Reinforcement
Animal psychophysics occupies a special systematic position in psychology. On the one hand, it is obviously a close relative of psychophysical work with humans. Asymptotic performances are studied under precisely reproducible stimulus conditions, and interest centers on responding as a function of carefully specified parameters of stimulation. On the other hand, animal psychophysics must of necessity use information obtained in studies of animal discrimination learning and performance in order to establish and maintain behavior which is sensitive to stimulus variables. Much of the research in animal discrimination learning has been concerned with the effects of conditioning history and reinforcement variables on the acquisition of stimulus control over responding (e. g., Terrace, 1966). Asymptotic discrimination performance has also been studied as a function of the conditions of reinforcement (e. g., Nevin, 1967). Research in this area usually employs stimuli which differ grossly, and are specified in the experimenter’s everyday language (e. g., red, green) rather than in the language of physics. It is widely assumed that the general character of the obtained relations is independent of the selection of particular stimuli.
KeywordsCorrect Detection Food Reinforcement Reinforcement Variable Differential Reinforcement Signal Onset
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