Gradients of delay of reinforcement and discriminative stimuli during the delay interval.
Conant, Richard Davis
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This experiment was designed to investigate the relationship of delay interval behavior, food panel pressing, on the performance of an antecedent response, lever pressing. Albino rats were trained in a modified Skinner box with a hinged food cup panel and a removable lever. The delay of reinforcement gradient for lever pressing at 4, 10, 30, and 50 seconds delay was determined under two different delay conditions. In Condition 1, the stimulus conditions, sDl (light on), remained constant throughout the delay interval. Under Condition 11, the stimulus conditions sDl remained constant up to the end of the presented delay interval, and a discrete auditory stimulus, sD2 , signalled the end of this interval. Under both conditions 1 and 11, the presentation of the terminal primary reinforcement was contingent on a panel press response. The animals of both groups were initially trained on a discrimination in which panel responses were reinforced at the end of the delay interval in the presence of sDl, Condition 1, or sD and the stimulus trace of sD2 (Condition 11). Panel responses were never reinforced in the absence of these stimuli, a condition which prevailed on an average of 3 minutes (VI3) between trials. Following this training, the onset of the delay interval sD1 was made contingent on the occurrence of a lever press response. Several predictions were made employing primarily the concepts of the relationship of the discriminative sD and secondary reinforcing (sR) properties of a stimulus, and also the relationship of panel pressing behavior during the delay interval and lever pressing. [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University