Conjugate Reinforcement: The Effects of Stimulus Clarity
AuthorJones, Lauren Dee
AdvisorGhezzi, Patrick M.
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Schedules receiving little attention in the scientific literature are schedules of covariation, specifically conjugate reinforcement. While less studied, conjugate reinforcement schedules have been used predominately in basic studies examining a variety of phenomena. Recent research (MacAleese et al., 2015) is beginning to examine the schedule, and its parameters, as subject matter in its own right. The present study examined conjugate reinforcement as a function of the change in the clarity of a stimulus when responding falls below a certain rate. A six component MULT schedule was used. Each component was associated with self-selected visual displays that diminished in clarity at different rates when responding fell below a pre-determined response rate. Response rates were analyzed from two aspects of the conjugate preparation, positive (or the “run up to stimulus clarity”) and negative (or “pressing that prevent the stimulus from fading) reinforcement, response patterns suggest that little overall differentiation in average frequencies was evidenced during the negative reinforcement component of the conjugate contingency with larger differences in average response frequencies observed during the positive reinforcement component. Participants’ latency of responding was also examined. The implications of these data, limitations of the experimental preparation, and areas for future research will be discussed.