Reinforcement the Post-Reinforcement Pause a Behavior Pattern Essay

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The Post-Reinforcement Pause

A behavior pattern that is typically bimodal is produced by a constant ratio schedule of reinforcement (Ferster and Skinner, 1957). It has been observed that the response rate is at a high terminal at some occasions; meanwhile it is at zero at others. The "post-reinforcement pause" represents the most consistent period of zero response that normally occurs right after a period of reinforcement. The common observation is that when the post-reinforcement pause becomes greater, the response rate has the potential to decline to some extent since the ratio requirement also escalates. The aforementioned conclusion finds its basis on the cumulative data that was represented by Skinner and Ferster (1957) as well as distinct records of behavior that are on this schedule.

The study that has been discussed in this article was conducted in a way that would help the researchers to make an analysis of schedules of fixed ratio so that quantitative time data can be obtained pertaining to the post-reinforcement pause as well as the response rate, which will be obtained as a function of the constant ratio requirement.

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In this particular study, four White Carneux barren hen pigeons were used that had never been used in an experiment before. It should be noted that the weight of these pigeons was maintained within 15 g of 75% of their weight that result from free feeding. As for the deprivation rhythm, maple peas were used where the need was felt. The pigeons could access water at all times. A special response chamber was also constructed for this purpose. An electrical impulse recorder was used to record the data that was required to make an analysis. After obtaining the data, the analysis of the data was made by plotting graphs.

TOPIC: Essay on Reinforcement the Post-Reinforcement Pause a Behavior Pattern Assignment

The suggestion that was made by Ferster and Skinner (1957) was that the post-reinforcement pause escalates and response rate mostly decreases in such cases as the fixed ratio schedule tends to increase simultaneously. The results that were obtained on the basis of this study discretely confirm what is contained in the initial portion of the suggestion that states that stable and consistent increase in what is known as the post-reinforcement pause is true for all birds. On the other hand, on the basis of the obtained data, it was observed that there was a general decline in the rate. However, it was also noted that this decline was neither stable nor consistent. Apart from this, the decline in the response rate is not representative of the outright changes that take place in the local rate. Unluckily for the researchers, the aforementioned interpretation of the results finds its basis only on the review of the cumulative data, since there was no other quantitative data, apart from this, was available.

To summarize the above discussion, keeping in view the data that was obtained from the aforementioned study, it can be said that apparently the consensus that states that fixed ratio schedules' post reinforcement pause and the response rate are subjects that need to be treated as two distinct and dependent variables, is supported.


Felton, M. & Lyon, D. (1996). The Post-Reinforcement Pa Use. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. Vol. 9 (2).

The differential outcomes effect in pigeons is not reduced by eliminating response -- outcome associations: Support for a two-process account

This article is based on two experiments. After giving an overview of the subject matter, the experiments are described in detail. The methods of the experiments are also explained along with the results that are given in the tabulated form. We shall now discuss both the experiment one by one.

In the first experiment, the two groups with the differential sample-outcome association (SCO and SO) showed considerable improvement and resistance to the delay effect was also significantly increased as compared to the group that did was labeled as the non-differential sample-outcome associations (NDO). However, it was not possible for the researchers to make an inference pertaining to the differential response-outcome associations with respect to the provision of any facilitation apart from what was contributed by differential sample-outcome associations. Nevertheless, it was observed that the performance of the SCO group was considerably worse, generally, as compared to the SO group when this group was being tested with the most extensive delay pattern. Apparently, the outcome of this deficit was obtained from the SCO group response prejudice, which was a preference that can be attributed to the differential response-outcome associations. However, since there was no difference between the groups SCO and SO on the basis of rates of "forgetting," it will not be wrong to say that there was no hidden facilitative effect regarding the differential response-outcome associations that was being obscured by the prejudice. This conclusion was then further strengthened by the data that was obtained about the qualified evaluation that suggested that prejudice did not prolong the delay.

In the second experiment it was found that if expectancies are considered on the basis of differential sample-outcome associations according to choice cues. When the specimen were replaced using the naive stimuli, it was observed that the performance of SCO and SO groups was considerably improved as compared to the NDO group. The new stimuli were also associated with the previous differential-outcome possibilities. Further during the course of the experiment, the transfer performance was not facilitated. Nevertheless, with regard to the differential comparison-outcome associations, neither of the two groups (SCO and SO) was found to be superior with respect to the other. It was also observed that the results of the first and second experiment were more or less the same.

The dual-process account of the differential outcomes effect was supported by the aforementioned experiments. The differential sample-outcome associations, which produce the differential outcome expectancies, seem to be enough to justify the facilitated performance that was seen during the delayed conditional discriminations associated with pigeons. Moreover, there is a chance of a significantly greater DOE in case different hedonic value is given to the differential outcomes, which happens quite often. The reason for this is that when the hedonic values change, comparison-response prejudices take place. Therefore, it is observed that if the conditions are similar to what has been mentioned above, the provision of differential response-outcome associations does not seem to make a contribution to the DOE. Moreover, the significance of these associations in the usual DOE is suggested by the finding that in the absence of comparison-outcome associations, the sample-outcome associations have the potential to produce considerable facilitation regarding the matching performance. Apart from this, the results of the aforementioned experiments are suggestive of the fact that for both differential sample-generated outcome and differential sample responding outcome expectancies, there is a different code regarding the differential-outcomes conditional discrimination. This was also found to be associated with short delays and in this case it is expected that the differential sample pattern of behavior may have considerable effect on comparison responses. The results are also suggestive that the outcome possibilities acquire significant control of choice behavior only when the delay of sample-comparison becomes somewhat prolonged.


Sherbourne, L.M. & Zeintall, T.R. (1998). The differential outcomes effect in pigeons is not reduced by eliminating response -- outcome associations: Support for a two-process account. Animal Learning & Behavior, 26 (4), 378-38

Neuromechanics of Reinforcement

When we perform a task over and over again, it is known as reinforcement. However, the question that arises here is that what tells the brain to do what was done before, again. There is no doubt in the fact that there must be a physiological answer to this question. Many experiments have been conducted by renowned researchers to find out what causes the animals, and humans for that matter, to perform a task again and again.

It should be noted that there is a group of neurons in our brain that area of the brain is known as the reward center. Every time we get happy or excited, the reward center is stimulated. When this center or pathway is stimulated, it produces a neurotransmitter that is called dopamine. Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter since it is responsible for producing the natural "high" in the body. If it was not for dopamine, we would not get happy or feel better with the things that make us excited. In people who have a deficiency of dopamine producing neurons, many neurological symptoms begin to develop including depression. Scientists have claimed that every time we look at someone we love, our brain produces dopamine, when we eat our favorite food, when we accomplish our goals or when we learn something new, our reward center in the brain is stimulated and dopamine is produced. However, it is not confirmed that how much dopamine is produced in each of the cases that have been mentioned above, but a link between achievement and production of dopamine has been established. Therefore, it is noteworthy that appropriate production of dopamine is important in learning as well.

The aforementioned findings of the researchers were experimented… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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