Aversive Conditioning and Learning by Robert Brush

By Robert Brush

"very little fabric of this sort was once released"

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The second reason for questioning the widsom of focusing so much attention on the problem of mediation is that a point of diminishing returns may have been reached in this type of research. The study of mediation is extremely difficult when one becomes involved in the analysis of central processes. The meaning of the phrase "central movement processes" is clear. These processes were assumed to occur when impulses which lead to movement were being sent out from the brain, and movement would have taken place if the impulses had not been blocked at the neuromuscular junction.

Such a classification would be particularly useful if the properties of behavior which lead to rapid or slow conditioning could be identified and manipulated experimentally. If, for example, responses which conditioned slowly lacked feedback, some artificial source of feedback could be added. Furthermore, criteria for classification other than the distinction between autonomie and skeletal responding might prove to be more successful in the long run. Breland and Breland (1966) have pointed out, for example, that responses in certain species are easy to operantly condition using a wide variety of conditioned stimuli and reinforcers, whereas responses in other species are limited to the reinforcing situations in which they occur naturally.

It may sensitize the animal to other stimuli, increase motivation, or act as a US for classical conditioning. He demonstrates that individual differences in these extraneous effects of reinforcers could lead to superior performance by the experimental group, even when there is no effect of the pairing of response and reinforcement. Because of this possibility, an ambiguity exists in interpreting data which use yoked controls. A further criticism of yoked control procedures is their dependence on the rate of opérant responding before reinforcement begins (Black, 1967).

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