3 years ago

The role of response force on the persistence and structure of behavior during extinction

Jonathan W. Pinkston, Erica K. Foss
Behavior Momentum Theory has emerged as a prominent account of resistance to change in both basic and applied research. Although laboratory studies often define precise, repeatable responses, application research often deals with response classes that may vary widely along a number of dimensions. In general, Behavior Momentum Theory has not addressed how response dimensions impact resistance to change, providing an opportunity to expand the model in new directions. Four rats pressed a force transducer under a multiple variable interval (VI) 60-s VI 60-s schedule of reinforcement. In one component, responses satisfied the schedule only if the response force fell within a “low” force band requirement; responses in the other schedule were required to satisfy a “high” force band. Once responding stabilized, extinction was programmed for three sessions. Then, the procedures were replicated. The results showed that response force came under discriminative control, but force requirements had no impact on resistance to extinction. In a follow-up condition, the schedule was changed to a multiple VI 30-s VI 120-s schedule and the low-force band operated in both components. The results showed that behavior maintained by the VI 30-s schedule was generally more resistant to extinction. A secondary analysis showed that force distributions created under baseline maintained during extinction. Overall, the results suggest that differential response force requirements prevailing in steady state do not affect the course of extinction.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/jeab.306

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