NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ787302
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 14
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 50
ISSN: ISSN-0738-6729
Neural Events in the Reinforcement Contingency
Silva, Maria Teresa Araujo; Goncalves, Fabio Leyser; Garcia-Mijares, Miriam
Behavior Analyst, v30 n1 p17-30 Spr 2007
When neural events are analyzed as stimuli and responses, functional relations among them and among overt stimuli and responses can be unveiled. The integration of neuroscience and the experimental analysis of behavior is beginning to provide empirical evidence of involvement of neural events in the three-term contingency relating discriminative stimuli, responses, and consequences. This paper is aimed at highlighting exemplar instances in the development of this issue. It has long been known that the electrical stimulation of certain cerebral areas can have a reinforcing function. Extraordinary technological advances in recent years show that neural activity can be selected by consequences. For example, the activity of in vitro isolated neurons that receive dopamine as a reinforcer functions as a cellular analogue of operant conditioning. The in vivo activity of populations of neurons of rats and monkeys can be recorded on an instant-to-instant basis and can then be used to move mechanical arms or track a target as a function of consequences. Neural stimulation acts as a discriminative stimulus for operant responses that are in turn maintained by neural consequences. Together with investigations on the molecular basis of classical conditioning, those studies are examples of possibilities that are being created for the study of behavior-environment interactions within the organism. More important, they show that, as an element in the three-term contingency, neural activity follows the same laws as other events. (Contains 2 figures.)
Association for Behavior Analysis International. 1219 South Park Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49001. Tel: 269-492-9310; Fax: 269-492-9316; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A