Lab Report - STIMULUS DISCRIMINATION AND STIMULUS...

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STIMULUS DISCRIMINATION AND STIMULUS GENERALIZATION LAB REPORT March 14, 2007 Katherine Falen Sara Nichols Wednesday 1:00 Danielle Zartman Josh Fetterman Wednesday 3:00
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INTRODUCTION Discrimination is when the subject learns to exhibit a specific behavior only in the presence of a specific stimulus. Therefore, if presented with any other stimuli, the subject would not exhibit any similar behavior. An example of this would be those who are in a martial arts class. They learn to only execute moves when they are in the class room with matting, and would not otherwise do so in any other setting. In discrimination learning, there are two types of stimuli-positive and negative discrimination stimuli, often abbreviated as S+ and S-, respectively. The positive stimulus is when the subject is reinforced for their given response. The negative stimulus has the conditions that the subject is not reinforced when it is present in the experiment, thus leading to extinguishing that behavior when it is presented. This requires the subject to distinguish the difference of reinforcement between the two stimuli, and lead to them only responding when the S+ is present. When the subject is initially presented with a discrimination learning experiment, there is no recognition of the pattern of reinforcement only occurring when the S+ is present because the association has not yet been made between the two. As the trials of alternating S+ and S- at the desired intervals continues, the participant begins to learn that the S+ signals reinforcement will be given, and when the S+ is not present, there is no reinforcement. Generally the absence of S+ is the S-, however it is possible for the S- to be another stimulus. If the experiment comes to a successful conclusion, the desired behavior will occur at a high frequency during the S+, and will be extinct when the S- is present. Another type of operant conditioning is stimulus generalization. This is when the subject is capable of responding in the same general way to a group of specific stimuli that are closely related or are similar variations of each other. This is usually tested after 2
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an association is already made between specific stimuli, and then the subject’s response rates are recorded when they are presented with similar stimuli. In this experiment, we used a computerized program called “Sniffy Pro” that allows us to perform these discrimination and generalization tests on a lab rat, named Sniffy. The rat is presented on the screen in an operant chamber that we control. For the positive discriminative stimulus test (or S+), a basic frequency is chosen to be continuously emitted from the speaker in the chamber during the S+ interval. For the S-, silence, or, the absence of the S+ is used. When the tone is on, Sniffy is reinforced for his bar presses with food pellets, while bar presses during silence produce nothing. After repeated trials of tone on and off, it is expected that Sniffy will continue to have a
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This lab report was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course PSY 0405 taught by Professor Kristinaswanenburg during the Spring '08 term at Pittsburgh.

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Lab Report - STIMULUS DISCRIMINATION AND STIMULUS...

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