3 years ago

Greater reinforcement rate during training increases spontaneous recovery

Andrew R. Craig, Christopher A. Podlesnik, Ryan T. Kimball, Michael E. Kelley, Eric A. Thrailkill
Spontaneous recovery occurs when a previously reinforced and recently extinguished response reemerges over the course of time, often at the beginning of a new session of extinction. Spontaneous recovery could underlie instances of treatment relapse that threaten otherwise effective behavioral interventions for problem behavior. In two experiments, we arranged multiple schedules with pigeons and a human child to assess the effects of different training reinforcer rates on spontaneous recovery. In both experiments, responding was both more resistant to extinction and more likely to relapse following training with greater reinforcement rates upon returning to extinction after time off from extinction testing. A quantitative model based on behavioral momentum theory accounted well for the data, which suggests reexposure to the extinction context following time off during extinction resulted in (1) the failure of extinction learning to generalize, and (2) greater generalization of original learning during training. The present model attempts to quantify theories attributing spontaneous recovery to changes in temporal context.

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

DOI: 10.1002/jeab.307

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