Senkowski, Peter C.
M.A. (Master of Arts)
Department of Psychology
A direct comparison between classical and instrumental conditioning paradigms under similar conditions was made by manipulating the contingencies upon which reinforcement was delivered. Forty-eight, approximately 100-day-old, male hooded rats were placed on either a continuous or partial reinforcement schedule in one of three conditioning procedures: classical—5 s interstimulus interval (ISI), instrumental—immediate reinforcement upon criterial response within the ISI, and instrumental— reinforcement delayed until ISI termination. When instrumental groups were compared, response latencies indicated that delayed versus immediate reinforcement led to inferior performance during both acquisition and extinction. However, comparison under equated ISIs in the classical and instrumental with delayed reinforcement groups found that acquisition performance and resistance to extinction were not affected by whether reinforcement was response contingent or stimulus contingent. Reinforcement schedule failed to differentiate groups in acquisition asymptotic performance. A partial reinforcement extinction effect (PREE) was evidenced only under the instrumental- immediate reinforcement contingency. The results challenge the theoretical usefulness of a dichotomy between classical and instrumental paradigms based on hypothesized differences in the learning process.
Zapf, Karl D., "A comparison of classical and instrumental conditioning paradigms with identical stimulus cues and responses" (1985). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 149.
vii, 68 pages
Northern Illinois University
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