The relationship between experimental extinction and drive during extinction.
Cautela, Joseph Richard
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For many years experimenters have attempted to determine what variables influence the performance of organisms on experimental tasks. The drive variable has received particular emphasis in recent years largely due to various theoretical speculations concerning the role of drive in behavior theory. While these speculations have provided a program and stimulus for research, it is obvious that theoretical speculation can proceed more meaningly when a larger body of empirical findings is available. [TRUNCATED] In the review of the literature concerned with the relationship of drive to performance during the extinction procedure, some gaps in our knowledge become apparent. First of all, deprivation intervals during extinction were never systematically varied beyond twenty four hours. In addition, with the exception of a study by Sackett, the intervals during the extinction procedure did not extend beyond the deprivation interval used in the training procedure. Sackett, as a matter of fact, had only one interval in the extinction procedure which extended beyond the deprivation interval used during the training procedure. Finally it was observed that in all of the experiments in this area only instrumental-type tasks were employed. The above considerations led to the present investigation and its intention to deal with the following characteristics: 1. The manipulation of drive, during the extinction procedure, beyond twenty four hours. 2. The use of deprivation intervals substantially above and below the deprivation interval used during the acquisition procedure. 3. The use of a discrimination task rather than an instrumental type task. To summarize, the purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between drive and performance when drive was varied from 0 to 71 hours during the extinction of a discrimination task. [TRUNCATED] The present experimental findings suggest the following conclusions in respect to the three limitations posed at the beginning of this study: 1.The maximum performance during extinction will be found for animals in which drive during acquisition and extinction is identical 2. The performance curve at the time of extinction will show a gradual decline for animals whose deprivation intervals extend beyond the deprivation interval employed in training. 3. The use of instrumental type tasks and discrimination tasks give similar results for the effect of drive manipulation during the extinction procedure on performance measured during extinction. In addition the present experimental findings indicate that: 1. An appreciable number of animals during the extinction of a discrimination response will show few or no reversals before the extinction criterion is met. 2. The dual role of drive may have different consequences for different response measures.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University
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