A primer of operant conditioning by George Stanley Reynolds

By George Stanley Reynolds

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Distinctive stimuli accompany either the delivery of the pellets or the periods of access to the liquid reinforcer in the dipper. PROGRAMING EQUIPMENT Neither the programing nor the "recording equipment varies appreciably with the species of the experimental animal. :r:" deyices. They are wired into circuits to determine the sequence of environmental events within the chamber and to bring the events into specified relationships with occurrences of the response. N~""-' There are many reasons why automatic r~ectrical equipment is esx sential in experiments in behavioral researcl\?

STIMULUS GENERALIZATION Stimulus control is not an entirely selective process. Reinforcement of responses in the presence of OIle stimulus increases the tendency to respond not only in the presence of that stimulus but also in the presence of other stimuli, though to a lesser degree. When \ this occurs, ~!! to generalize among sttmuli. Gener! alization is defined functionally: An organism or its behavior is said . to generalize to all those stimuli in whose presence the rate of reI sponding increases after the response has been reinforced in the : presence of one other stimulus.

Gh the circular, three-quarterinch hole in the wall. A force of about fifteen or twenty grams exerted by the pigeon on the arm of the lever operates an electrical switch located near the fulcrum of the lever behind the wall. This signals to the programing and recording equipment that a response has occurred. The closing of the electrical switch defines the operant studied in this apparatus. Usually, the pigeon operates the lever and closes the switch by pecking on the key through the hole in the wall; tha t is to say, the responses composing this operant are the pigeon's pecks on the key.

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