Martin, Randall B.
M.A. (Master of Arts)
Department of Psychology
Conditioned response||Extinction (Psychology)||Reinforcement (Psychology)
According to Denny’s (1971) relief-elicitation theory, in animals a relief response is elicited 5 sec. after the termination of an aversive stimulus and has a duration of 5 to 10 sec. The relief response becomes classically conditioned to cues present at its elicitation. Performance in an escape or avoidance paradigm is a function of increasingly vigorous relief-approach responses, rather than shock-escape or avoidance responses. The present series of experiments was an attempt to test the relief-elicitation interpretation of self-punitive running behavior. These experiments are partial replications and extensions of a study executed by Delprato and Denny (1968) in which removal of S̲s from the safe area prior to the elicitation of the relief response eliminated self-punitive running. In the present series of studies only the behavior of punished extinction animals was investigated. The first experiment tested the hypothesis that placement of animals in a novel holding container after removal from the safe area elicited fear; and that this fear response in the holding container, not the lack of relief elicitation in the safe area was responsible for the decrement in self-punitive responding. Furthermore, it represents an attempt to extend the Delprato and Denny findings, which were obtained in a short alley, to the more typical long alley apparatus used in self-punitive behavior experiments. Following shock escape training, 45 S̲s were randomly assigned to one of three punished extinction groups: (l) 30 sec. goal box confinement, (2) 2 sec. goal box confinement plus 28 sec. in one of three distinctive containers to which S had been habituated, (3) 2 sec. goal box confinement plus 28 sec. in one of three distinctive containers to which S had not been habituated. It was assumed that habituation to the holding containers would permit fear of them to undergo extinction. Results indicated that self-punitive-like running was obtained in all groups. Thus, it was concluded that fear of the holding containers did not facilitate extinction. Also, the partial replication of the Delprato and Denny study was not successful. The second experiment was an attempt to replicate the Delprato and Denny findings in an apparatus similar to the one used in their experiment. During avoidance training 9 Ss were retained in the goal box for 16 sec., 8 S̲s were retained in the goal box for 20 sec., and 8 S̲s were retained in the goal box for 30 sec. Running speed during punished extinction and trials to the extinction criterion indicated that the 16 sec. treatment exhibited significantly less self-punitive running. This was the basis for the conclusion that the relief response was occurring later than Denny had suggested. The third experiment used 60 S̲s in an attempt to replicate the Delprato and Denny punished extinction results using l6 sec., 20 sec., and 30 sec. goal box confinements during training; and 30 sec. goal box confinement, and 2 sec. goal box confinement plus 28 sec. spent in a holding container during punished extinction. Results indicated that self-punitive-like running was obtained in all groups. Differences between the present study and the Delprato and Denny study with respect to handling and S̲ emotionality are suggested as possible sources of the discrepant results.
Franke, Gordon L., "An investigation of reinforcement effects in self-punitive running in the rat" (1973). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 1361.
vii, 115 pages
Northern Illinois University
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