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The Psychological Record

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 93–100 | Cite as

The Preference-For-Signaled-Shock Phenomenon: Signal Salience in Symmetrical-Choice Procedures

  • G. B. Biederman
  • J. J. Furedy
  • G. A. Heighington
  • F. K. Wong
Article

Abstract

The preference-for-signaled-shock (PSS) phenomenon is theoretically important, but the relevant data base, even when limited to symmetrical-choice procedures is not unequivocal. The two experiments using rats as subjects reported here were designed to determine whether increasing the salience of the contrast between signaled and unsignaled states would increase both the strength of preference as well as the specifiability of the controlling parameters. Experiment 1 increased the contrast between signaled and unsignaled conditions by using a different frequency for tone preceding shock (signaled). The results showed a reliable, rapidly emerging, and strong (over 95%) PSS effect, but some complicated interactions between the signaling and other factors suggested that this method of manipulating salience brought its own problems of interpretation. Accordingly, Experiment 2 manipulated salience by associating color (black vs. white) with the signaled-unsignaled difference in one group (replicating an earlier experiment by Biederman and Furedy, 1976a, which failed to produce reliable PSS over 50 days of observation) and stripe width in another group (replicating an earlier experiment by Miller, Marlin, and Berk, 1977, which found a rapidly emerging and strong PSS). The results of Experiment 2 also yielded a reliable, rapidly emerging and strong (over 95%) PSS phenomenon which, however, was unaffected by the color vs. stripe width (salience) manipulation.

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References

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Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. B. Biederman
    • 1
  • J. J. Furedy
    • 1
  • G. A. Heighington
    • 1
  • F. K. Wong
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Life Science, Scarborough CollegeUniversity of TorontoWest HillCanada

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