The conditioned reinforcement of repeated acquisition

S. R. Hursh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three monkeys were trained to emit a chain of three responses on three separate levers in a set of six levers to obtain food. The chain producing food (correct chain) was changed each day. During a trial, a press on any lever produced a feedback stimulus; a press on a correct lever produced an additional distinctive stimulus; the third correct press produced a food pellet. Test sessions in which either the food or the distinctive stimuli were removed were interspersed with baseline sessions. In tests without food presentations, the subjects acquired the correct chain rapidly, with a level of accuracy comparable to baseline. Removing the distinctive stimuli for either the first or second member of the correct chain greatly retarded acquisition of that member of the chain. Removing all distinctive stimuli often reduced accuracy throughout the chain to chance level, even though food was presented following each correct chain. These results were interpreted as evidence that the distinctive stimuli presented after correct responses functioned as conditioned reinforcers. Reductions in accuracy following an omitted distinctive stimulus indicated that they were also discriminative stimuli for correct responding in their presence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-326
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1977
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Psychology(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'The conditioned reinforcement of repeated acquisition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this