Can Positive Reinforcement Overcome Fear? An Investigation of Competing Contingencies

Description:

Escape maintained behavior in dogs is generally displayed by one of two behaviors-fleeing or aggression. Once aggression is negatively reinforced by the removal of the aversive stimulus, it is very difficult to eliminate from the organism's repertoire. Counterconditioning is the process of pairing a positive reinforcer with an aversive stimulus in the attempts that an organism will no longer exhibit fear responses in its presence. This process must be done gradually with small approximations. Many organisms have been trained to tolerate the presence of aversive stimuli via counterconditioning. However, this process can be time consuming and has inconsistent results. The purpose of this experiment was to monitor the effects of counter conditioning around an aversive stimulus while simultaneously training an identical behavior in the presence of a neutral stimulus. The results demonstrated that even though counterconditioning produced approach to the aversive stimulus the subject still exhibited numerous fear responses when results were compared to the control condition.

Creator(s): Kunkel, Rebecca Ann
Creation Date: August 2011
Partner(s):
UNT Libraries
Collection(s):
UNT Theses and Dissertations
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Publisher Info:
Publisher Name: University of North Texas
Publisher Info: Web: www.unt.edu
Place of Publication: Denton, Texas
Date(s):
  • Creation: August 2011
Description:

Escape maintained behavior in dogs is generally displayed by one of two behaviors-fleeing or aggression. Once aggression is negatively reinforced by the removal of the aversive stimulus, it is very difficult to eliminate from the organism's repertoire. Counterconditioning is the process of pairing a positive reinforcer with an aversive stimulus in the attempts that an organism will no longer exhibit fear responses in its presence. This process must be done gradually with small approximations. Many organisms have been trained to tolerate the presence of aversive stimuli via counterconditioning. However, this process can be time consuming and has inconsistent results. The purpose of this experiment was to monitor the effects of counter conditioning around an aversive stimulus while simultaneously training an identical behavior in the presence of a neutral stimulus. The results demonstrated that even though counterconditioning produced approach to the aversive stimulus the subject still exhibited numerous fear responses when results were compared to the control condition.

Degree:
Discipline: Behavior Analysis
Level: Master's
PublicationType: Master's Thesis
Language(s):
Subject(s):
Keyword(s): fear | counter conditioning | aggression
Contributor(s):
Partner:
UNT Libraries
Collection:
UNT Theses and Dissertations
Identifier:
  • LOCAL-CONT-NO: kunkel_rebecca_ann
  • ARK: ark:/67531/metadc84232
Resource Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Format: Text
Rights:
Access: Public
Holder: Kunkel, Rebecca Ann
License: Copyright
Statement: Copyright is held by the author, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.