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The Psychological Record

, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp 67–81 | Cite as

Conditioned Reinforcement: the Effectiveness of Stimulus—Stimulus Pairing and Operant Discrimination Procedures

  • Monica VandbakkEmail author
  • Heidi Skorge Olaff
  • Per Holth
Original Article

Abstract

The purpose of the present experiment was to evaluate which method, stimulus–stimulus pairing or operant discrimination training, establishes neutral stimuli as more effective conditioned reinforcers, and to explore ways to maintain effects of the stimuli established as conditioned reinforcers. Four rats were exposed to an operant discrimination training procedure to establish a left-situated light as a conditioned reinforcer and to a stimulus–stimulus pairing procedure to establish a right-situated light as a conditioned reinforcer. Acquisition of new responses was then arranged to determine how formerly neutral stimuli could maintain responding when the unconditioned reinforcer (water) was presented intermittently in an experimental design similar to a concurrent-chain procedure. During this acquisition, two levers were concurrently available and presses on the left lever produced an operant discrimination trial (left light–response–water), whereas presses on the right lever produced a stimulus–stimulus pairing trial (right light–water). The results suggest that the operant discrimination training procedure was more effective in establishing a neutral stimulus as a conditioned reinforcer and also maintained a higher rate of responding over time.

Keywords

Conditioned reinforcer Stimulus–stimulus pairing Operant discrimination training Intermittent water reinforcement Concurrent-chain procedure Rats 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All applicable international, national, and institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. The study was preapproved by the National Animal Research Authority (NARA) and was carried out according to the Norwegian laws and regulations controlling experiments/procedures using live animals with the identification number: id8278.

Some of the data were previously presented in a poster at the annual ABAI conference in Minneapolis in May 2013. This work has not been previously published nor is this work under consideration for publication elsewhere.

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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monica Vandbakk
    • 1
    Email author
  • Heidi Skorge Olaff
    • 1
  • Per Holth
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Science, Institute for Behavioral ScienceOsloMet—Oslo Metropolitan UniversityOsloNorway

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