Pigeons served in two experiments in which responding on an observing key converted a two-component mixed schedule to the corresponding multiple schedule of reinforcement. Presentation of the stimulus correlated with the more valued component was faded out (probabilistically) over sessions, so that ultimately an observing response produced only the stimulus correlated with the less valued component. Observing was well maintained after a fading procedure when a stimulus was produced by a single response, regardless of whether the less valued stimulus was associated with food or with extinction (Experiment 1). However, observing was not well maintained after a fading procedure when a stimulus was produced according to an intermittent schedule (Experiment 2). Taken together, the results of the two experiments suggest that the absence of an exteroceptive stimulus change after a single response may become discriminative in its own right for the more valued component, and that the fading procedure is an effective means of promoting this discrimination. However, if observing responses produce a stimulus change according to an intermittent schedule, then the absence of a stimulus change after a response is correlated with both components. Under these conditions, the absence of stimulus change is not discriminative for either component, even with fading, and observing is not maintained.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Behavioral Neuroscience