The role of stimulus control in stimulus generalization and discrimination
Hodgson, David A.
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The design of this study was to examine some of the relationships between training and testing procedures used to demonstrate generalization and discrimination behavior. The emphasis of this paper was to consider both generalization and discrimination primarily as experimental procedures. This approach permits the degree of stimulus control introduced by any form of training to be controlled, thus, the data obtained by different test procedures can be compared from a common behavioral baseline. Human subjects were trained with an operant learning task to auditory pitch stimuli with reinforcement of the flash of a light and a displayed cumulative score. The experimental stimuli were eight physically equal spaced sine wave frequencies. All subjects were trained to one of three experimental training procedures. Procedure A was two stimuli, single response training where responses to one of the stimuli were reinforced while responses to the second were never reinforced. The second method - Procedure B - was too stimuli, two response training. Two operant switches were available and each switch was correlated with reinforcement with one of the two training stimuli. Procedure C was single stimulus, single response training with responses in the presence of the training stimulus reinforced. During training, subjects were advanced from a CRF reinforcement contingency to a VI 20" reinforcement schedule. The stimulus presentation periods were of ten seconds duration alternated with five second time out periods. Following training, subjects were tested by one of two procedures designed to reflect generalization and discrimination behavior. The criteria were based on the number of test stimuli introduced and the proportion of test stimuli presentations to training stimulus presentations. During both types of testing, reinforcement to the positive training stimuli was maintained on the VI 20" schedule. The Generalization testing consisted of twenty presentations of the training stimuli together with five presentations of all other stimuli in the experimental series. Only one test stimulus for each positive training stimulus was introduced during Discrimination testing, and this was presented equally as often as the training stimuli. All subjects were given ten presentation of each stimulus, and five subjects in the groups trained under Procedure B and Procedure C were given extended training of an additional twenty-five trials. [TRUNCATED]
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