A Within-Subjects Analysis of Positive and Negative Conjugate Reinforcement
AdvisorGhezzi, Patrick M
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Conjugate schedules of reinforcement are continuous schedules whereby a given property of a reinforcing stimulus (e.g., volume) is directly proportional to a given property of the response (e.g., force). These schedules of reinforcement have been said to be the most prevalent schedules of reinforcement in the natural environment. They have also shown to be effective in conditioning responses for individuals whom have been historically difficult to condition (e.g., infants, individuals with mental disabilities, individuals with psychoses). Despite these facts, studies examining positive and negative schedules of reinforcement have slowed dramatically in the past couple of decades. Only recently has a renewed interest in this research begun to surface. Recent conjugate reinforcement studies have examined this schedule using either positive conjugate reinforcement preparations or negative conjugate reinforcement preparations. The purpose of the present study is to extend and expand upon previous conjugate research while directly comparing potential differences in rate of responding between positive and negative conjugate reinforcement preparations. Participants chose a television show to watch from a list of popular comedy shows. The chosen video would play either play at an increased speed wherein key presses would decrease the video playback speed by varying degrees or the video would play at a decreased speed wherein key presses would increase the video playback speed by varying degrees. Results showed very little difference in response rates when comparing positive and negative conjugate reinforcement preparations.