Operant Conditioning Study

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This study examined the generalization and discrimination gradients of the natural behavior of grooming genitals, the simple unnatural behavior of bar pressing and the complex unnatural behavior of tucking and rolling. The study featured 42 virtual rat subjects, divided into 6 categories to examine generalization and discrimination of each behavior. First, the subjects were magazine trained to establish the magazine sound as a reinforcer for food. Next, the subjects were either trained to groom genitals, bar press or tuck and roll, depending on their group. Then the subjects underwent tone on S+ or S- discrimination learning to a 2.00 kHz tone. Afterwards, generalization tests were performed on each subject and the data was compiled to create …show more content…
The term involves the development of a three-component association between a situation, a behavior and a reinforcer. Beginning in the late 1930’s, operant conditioning has since been involved in a wide range of animals, such as mice, dogs and even humans. In the process of operant conditioning, organisms eventually learn which behaviors cause which consequences in which situations. Over time, the organisms will begin to behave differently in different situations in order to obtain desired reinforcers and avoid undesired consequences. Stimulus discrimination learning is defined as learning to behave differently in the presence of different stimuli. However, when two stimuli are similar, but not identical to each other, organisms may behave in a similar manner to the new stimuli as they would to the old stimuli, this is called stimulus …show more content…
In tone on S+ discrimination learning, a behavior is reinforced whenever it is performed in the presence of a particular stimulus. However, in tone on S- discrimination learning, the behavior is extinguished in the presence of the stimulus and reinforced only in the absence of the stimulus. Once the organism is trained on either S+ or S- discrimination tasks, researcher used generalization tests to determine the extent that the behavior is performed in the presence of comparable stimuli. Generalization tests involve the presentation of stimuli that are related to the original stimuli one at a time under extinction conditions. The tests are run under extinction conditions in order to prevent any biases that the organisms might develop in response to the generalization tests. Researchers then record the number of times that the behavior is performed in each situation, compile the data and create generalization/discrimination gradients in order to examine the data. The scientific community has already completed numerous studies in the field of operant conditioning and generalization/discrimination gradients. Historically, generalization has been considered an important concept for the

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