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Effects of Prefeeding, Extinction, and Distraction during Sample and Comparison Presentation on Sensitivity to Reinforcer Frequency in Matching to Sample

Ryan D. Ward, Utah State University
Robert N. Johnson, Utah State University
Amy Laurie Odum, Utah State University

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Originally published by Elsevier. Publisher's PDF and HTML fulltext available through remote link.

Abstract

The present experiment examined the effects of several test manipulations on discrimination, accuracy and sensitivity to reinforcer frequency in a conditional discrimination. Four pigeons responded on a multiple schedule of matching to sample procedures in which the reinforcer-frequency ratio for correct comparison choice responding was varied across components within session from 1:9 to 9:1. Following stability, the effects of prefeeding, extinction, and distraction during sample and comparison presentation were assessed. Discrimination accuracy decreased under prefeeding, extinction, and distraction during sample presentation. Sensitivity to reinforcer frequency decreased under prefeeding and extinction. Decreases in sensitivity were positively related to decreases in discrimination accuracy. The decreases in discrimination accuracy and sensitivity under prefeeding and extinction are interpreted as being due to decreases in attending to the sample and comparison stimuli, respectively, possibly mediated by motivational effects of these manipulations. This interpretation is consistent with current conceptualizations of the contingencies that govern conditional-discrimination performance.

Suggested Citation

Ward, R. D., Johnson, R. N., & Odum, A. L. (2009). Effects of prefeeding, extinction, and distraction during sample and comparison presentation on sensitivity to reinforcer frequency in conditional discrimination. Behavioural Processes, 81, 65-73.