The Effects of Shaping and Instruction-based Procedures on Behavioral Variability during Acquisition and Extinction
Description: This study examined effects of two response acquisition procedures on topography of responding using the revealed operant technique and compared results to previous experiments on this topic. Subjects emitted 100 repetitions each of 4 response patterns on a continuous schedule of reinforcement. A 30-min extinction condition followed acquisition. One group of subjects learned the first response through a series of shaping steps designed to reduce acquisition variability. Another group of subjects was instructed in the correct response topography and was told there was no penalty for attempting other sequences. The first group of subjects produced high variability during extinction despite reduced variability in acquisition. The second group of subjects responded with moderate to high variability during extinction and little variability during acquisition. Most extinction responses for the first group were variations of the last pattern reinforced. Most extinction responses for the second group were repetitions of the last pattern reinforced.
Date: December 1999
Creator: McCary, Donald