Self-control as Response Produced Time-out from a Stimulus Associated with Reinforcement and Response Independent Shock
Nelson, James Arnold
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The problem: To control escape behavior (self-control) from a stimulus associated with response dependent food and response independent shock. Procedure: Five rats were trained in operant chambers to press a lever (lever A) for VI 30" food during one stimulus (S1) and never reinforced during another stimulus (S2). When responding stabilized a second lever (lever B) was introduced. The function of a response on lever B was to terminate S1 and produce S2 for three minutes. All subjects exhibited some S1 escape behavior. Following stabilization of S1 escape responses one of four frequencies of response independent shock (VI 15", VI 30", VI 60" or VI 3') was presented during S1. The number of time-out responses (S1 escape responses) was recorded for the different shock frequencies. Findings: All subjects responded to escape from a stimulus associated with response dependent food and response independent shock. In general the number of time-out responses increased as shock frequency increased and with increasing exposure to shock. Conclusions: Rats will exhibit a response defined as self-control. Recommendations: It would be recommended that further research: (1) determine the effects of different shock intensities; (2) attempt to assess the aversiveness of VI schedules.