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ERIC Number: EJ980425
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jan
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 106
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0022-5002
Rethinking Reinforcement: Allocation, Induction, and Contingency
Baum, William M.
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, v97 n1 p101-124 Jan 2012
The concept of reinforcement is at least incomplete and almost certainly incorrect. An alternative way of organizing our understanding of behavior may be built around three concepts: "allocation," "induction," and "correlation." Allocation is the measure of behavior and captures the centrality of choice: All behavior entails choice and consists of choice. Allocation changes as a result of induction and correlation. The term induction covers phenomena such as adjunctive, interim, and terminal behavior--behavior induced in a situation by occurrence of food or another "Phylogenetically Important Event" (PIE) in that situation. Induction resembles stimulus control in that no one-to-one relation exists between induced behavior and the inducing event. If one allowed that some stimulus control were the result of phylogeny, then induction and stimulus control would be identical, and a PIE would resemble a discriminative stimulus. Much evidence supports the idea that a PIE induces all PIE-related activities. Research also supports the idea that stimuli correlated with PIEs become PIE-related conditional inducers. Contingencies create correlations between "operant" activity (e.g., lever pressing) and PIEs (e.g., food). Once an activity has become PIE-related, the PIE induces it along with other PIE-related activities. Contingencies also constrain possible performances. These constraints specify feedback functions, which explain phenomena such as the higher response rates on ratio schedules in comparison with interval schedules. Allocations that include a lot of operant activity are "selected" only in the sense that they generate more frequent occurrence of the PIE within the constraints of the situation; contingency and induction do the "selecting." (Contains 17 figures.)
Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. Available from: Indiana University Department of Psychology. Bloomington, IN 47405-1301. Tel: 812-334-0395; FAX: 812-855-4691; e-mail: jeab@indiana.edu; Web site: http://seab.envmed.rochester.edu/jeab/index.html
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A