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ERIC Number: EJ937187
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jul
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 23
ISSN: ISSN-0022-5002
Reinforcement: Food Signals the Time and Location of Future Food
Cowie, Sarah; Davison, Michael; Elliffe, Douglas
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, v96 n1 p63-86 Jul 2011
It has long been understood that food deliveries may act as signals of future food location, and not only as strengtheners of prefood responding as the law of effect suggests. Recent research has taken this idea further--the main effect of food deliveries, or other "reinforcers", may be signaling rather than strengthening. The present experiment investigated the ability of food deliveries to signal food contingencies across time after food. In Phase 1, the next food delivery was always equally likely to be arranged for a left- or a right-key response. Conditions were arranged such that the next food delivery was likely to occur either sooner on the left (or right) key, or sooner on the just-productive (or not-just-productive) key. In Phase 2, similar contingencies were arranged, but the last-food location was signaled by a red keylight. Preference, measured in 2-s bins across interfood intervals, was jointly controlled by the likely time and location of the next food delivery. In Phase 1, when any food delivery signaled a likely sooner next food delivery on a particular key, postfood preference was strongly toward that key, and moved toward the other key across the interreinforcer interval. In other conditions in which food delivery on the two keys signaled different subsequent contingencies, postfood preference was less extreme, and quickly moved toward indifference. In Phase 2, in all three conditions, initial preference was strongly toward the likely-sooner food key, and moved to the other key across the interfood interval. In both phases, at a more extended level of analysis, sequences of same-key food deliveries caused a small increase in preference for the just-productive key, suggesting the presence of a "reinforcement effect", albeit one that was very small. (Contains 1 table and 19 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A