The Psychological Record

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 517–539 | Cite as

Some Effects of Response Cost on a Free-Operant Multiple-Response Repertoire with Humans

  • John Crosbie


Two experiments with human subjects were performed to investigate the effects of response cost on several unpunished free-operant responses. Using monetary gain on variable-interval schedules as reinforcement, a multiple-response repertoire of button-press responses was developed, then response cost was made contingent on one of these responses. A multielement baseline design was employed in both experiments: During the baseline phase both multielement components were correlated with baseline conditions, then one component was correlated with response cost while baseline conditions continued in the other component. In Experiment 1, a five-response repertoire was developed with no changeover delay (COD), and response cost decreased the target response, increased most nontarget responses, and, for two subjects, one nontarget response decreased. In Experiment 2, a four-response repertoire was developed with a 5-s COD, and similar results were obtained except that no nontarget responses decreased. The present results support my previous findings that punishment affects the whole set of unpunished responses (Crosbie, 1988, 1989, 1990), No support was found, however, for Dunham’s hierarchical rule and most frequent follower propositions (Dunham, 1978; Dunham & Grantmyre, 1982).


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Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Crosbie
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyDeakin UniversityAustralia

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