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Revista mexicana de análisis de la conducta

Print version ISSN 0185-4534


ESCOBAR, Rogelio. Observing responses and resistance to extinction. Rev. mex. anál. conducta [online]. 2011, vol.37, n.2, pp.53-71. ISSN 0185-4534.

The resistance to extinction of observing behavior was determined by removing the primary reinforcer and presenting only a stimulus associated with reinforcement (S+), only a stimulus associated with extinction (S-), and only a neutral stimulus. In three training conditions of 30 sessions each, lever pressing by rats was reinforced on a mixed random ratio 50 extinction. Each press on a second lever (observing) produced for 5 s an S+ during the reinforcement component and an S- during extinction. After each training condition, rats were exposed to 10 sessions of extinction in which the mixed schedule was discontinued. In each of the three successive extinction conditions, each press on the observing lever produced only the S+, only the S-, or only the neutral stimulus. The order of exposure was different for each rat. Presenting the S+ increased and presenting the S- decreased resistance to extinction relative to the neutral stimulus. These findings suggest that the concept of conditioned reinforcement is still a necessary one in behavior analysis.

Keywords : Observing responses; resistance to extinction; conditioned reinforcement; lever pressing; rats.

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