Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
E.J. Capaldi has developed a sequential explanation of the partial reinforcement effect. The central assumption of this explanation is that non reinforced trials occasion a specific and distinctive internal stimulus and that this stimulus is progressively modified by successive non reinforcements.
In this experiment, forty, male albino Holtzman rats traversed a straight alley runway under different patterns of partial reinforcement. Group One received an N3-length, i.e., three successive non-reinforced trials followed by a reinforced trial. Group Two received an N1-length, i.e., one non-reinforced trial followed by a reinforced trial. Group Three received an N3-length for the first ten days of acquisition training and was then shifted to an N1-length for the last five days of acquisition training. Group Four received an N1-length for the first ten days of acquisition training and an N3-length for the last five days of acquisition training. All groups received five days of extinction training.
The results indicate that partial reinforcement patterns not only effect extinction performance but also effect acquisition performance in extended training.
Cummins, F. Douglas, "Contrast effects : incentive value of N-lengths" (1971). Electronic Thesis Collection. 194.