Reinforcement of an instrumental response results not from a special kind of response consequence known as a reinforcer, but from a special kind of schedule known as a response-deprivation schedule. Under the requirements of a response-deprivation schedule, the baseline rate of the instrumental response permits less than the baseline rate of the contingent response. Because reinforcement occurs only if the schedule deprives the organism of the contingent response, reinforcement cannot result from any intrinsic property of the contingent response or any property relative to the instrumental response. Two typical effects of response-deprivation schedules—facilitation of the instrumental response and suppression of the contingent response—are discussed in terms of economic concepts and models of instrumental performance. It is suggested that response deprivation makes the contingent response function as an economic good, the instrumental response as currency.
reinforcement; response deprivation; behavioral economics; facilitation; suppression; performance models
If the members of a functional response class occur in a predictable order, a response-class hierarchy is said to exist. Although this topic has received some attention in the applied literature, it remains relatively understudied. The purpose of the current investigation was to develop an analogue model of a response-class hierarchy. Children with and without developmental disabilities were first taught three responses in an attempt to develop a functional response class ordered along the dimension of response effort (Experiment 1). Following response-class development, an extinction analysis was used to determine whether the responses were hierarchically related (Experiment 2). Results of Experiment 1 indicated that a functional response class was developed, and that there was a relation between response rate and effort for the established response class. Results of Experiment 2 indicated that a response-class hierarchy existed within the previously developed response classes for 3 of 4 participants.
problem behavior; response covariation; response-class hierarchy
HIV-1 Tat is an important regulatory protein involved in AIDS pathogenesis. However, the immunoprofiles of anti-Tat responses remain unclear. We analysed the immunoprofiles of the anti-Tat antibody responses and the neutralizing activities. Out of 326 HIV-1-seropositive individuals, 12.9% were positive for anti-Tat antibodies. We found six different immunological profiles of anti-Tat antibody responses: full-potential response, combined response, N-specific response, C-specific response, full-length Tat-specific response and Tat-related response. These responses represent two types of anti-Tat responses: the major complete response and the alternative C-prone response. A Tat-neutralizing activity is significantly higher in anti-Tat-seropositive samples than anti-Tat-negative or healthy blood-donor samples, and significantly correlates with the anti-Tat reactivities. The data here could contribute to a better understanding of the significance of anti-Tat responses in preventing HIV pathogenesis and could be useful for designing more effective vaccines in the future.
Responses from hamster parabrachial nuclei neurons to stimulation of the anterior tongue with sucrose, NaCl, HCl, quinine hydrochloride, and the six two-component mixtures of these stimuli were recorded. A cell's response to a mixture approached its response to the mixture's more effective component in the majority of cases, but was sometimes greater or smaller than this response. The best predictor of a neuron's response to a mixture, then, was its response to the mixture's more effective component. The single-component stimulus producing the maximum response was determined for each neuron and the response to this stimulus was compared with the responses evoked by the six mixtures. For 30% of the cells, a mixture elicited a response reliably, but only 1.1-2.1 times greater than the response to the best single- component stimulus. Thus, there were no neurons specialized to respond to these mixtures. The across-neuron patterns elicited by mixtures and the responses of best-stimulus classes to mixtures were studied for comparison with psychophysical data on taste mixtures. Mixtures were usually correlated with single-component stimuli in the mixture, but not with stimuli not in the mixture. In fact, five of the six mixtures fell directly between their components in a multidimensional scaling plot. In addition, a mixture was most effective in stimulating only those classes of neurons maximally stimulated by the mixture's components. These results correlate with psychophysical data suggesting that mixtures of taste stimuli evoke the same taste qualities as evoked by the mixture's components.
Limulus ventral photoreceptors were voltage clamped to the resting (dark) potential and stimulated by a 20-ms test flash and a 1-s conditioning flash. At a constant level of adaptation, we measured the response to the test flash given in the dark (control) and the incremental response produced when the test flash occurred within the duration of the conditioning flash. The incremental response is defined as the response to the conditioning and test flashes minus the response to the conditioning flash given alone. When the test flash was presented within 100 ms after the onset of the conditioning flash we observed that: (a) for dim conditioning flashes the incremental response equaled the control response; (b) for intermediate intensity conditioning flashes the incremental response was greater than the control response (we refer to this as enhancement); (c) for high intensity conditioning flashes the incremental response nearly equaled the control response. Using 10-μm diam spots of illumnination, we stimulated two spatially separate regions of one photoreceptor. When the test flash and the conditioning flash were presented to the same region, enhancement was present; but when the flashes were applied to separate regions, enhancement was nearly absent. This result indicates that enhancement is localized to the region of illumination. We discuss mechanisms that may account for enhancement.
The effects of different voltages of response-dependent and response-independent electric shock on the frequency of key-peck responses engendered by an autoshaping procedure were studied. In Experiments I and II, each response produced a brief electric shock, and response frequency generally decreased more with higher-voltage shock. Preshock frequencies of responding were generally recovered across successive sessions of relatively low-voltage shock delivery but not at higher shock voltages. The effects of response-dependent and response-independent shock were compared in Experiment III by using a yoked-control procedure in which each pigeon received each type of shock delivery at different times. Response-dependent shock generally produced greater decreases in response frequency. In the final experiment, one response-independent shock per autoshaping trial was scheduled. The number of autoshaped responses per trial was related to shock voltages. These results suggest that response-dependent and response-independent electric shock effectively decrease frequency of autoshaped responses.
punishment; response-dependent electric shock; response-independent electric shock; autoshaping; fixed-trial procedure; key peck; pigeons
In three experiments, behavior maintained by fixed-interval schedules changed when response-independent reinforcement was delivered concurrently according to fixed- or variable-time schedules. In Experiment I, a pattern of positively accelerated responding during fixed interval was changed to a linear pattern when response-independent reinforcement occurred under a variable-time schedule. Overall response rates (total responses/total time) decreased as the frequency of response-independent reinforcement increased. Experiment II showed that the response-rate changes in the first experiment were controlled by the response-reinforcer relation, but the changes in patterns of responding were similar whether concurrently available reinforcement at varying times was response-dependent or response-independent. In the final experiment, the addition of response-independent reinforcement at fixed times to a fixed-interval schedule resulted in changes in both local and overall response rates and in the occurrence of positively accelerated responding between reinforcements. These results suggest that the temporal distribution of reinforcers determines response patterns and that both the response-reinforcement dependency and the schedule of reinforcement determine overall response rates during concurrently scheduled response-dependent and response-independent reinforcement.
fixed-interval schedules; fixed-time schedules; variable-interval schedules; variable-time schedules; concurrent schedules; response-independent reinforcement; key pecking; pigeons
We have determined the transcriptional response of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to cold. Yeast cells were exposed to 10°C for different lengths of time, and DNA microarrays were used to characterize the changes in transcript abundance. Two distinct groups of transcriptionally modulated genes were identified and defined as the early cold response and the late cold response. A detailed comparison of the cold response with various environmental stress responses revealed a substantial overlap between environmental stress response genes and late cold response genes. In addition, the accumulation of the carbohydrate reserves trehalose and glycogen is induced during late cold response. These observations suggest that the environmental stress response (ESR) occurs during the late cold response. The transcriptional activators Msn2p and Msn4p are involved in the induction of genes common to many stress responses, and we show that they mediate the stress response pattern observed during the late cold response. In contrast, classical markers of the ESR were absent during the early cold response, and the transcriptional response of the early cold response genes was Msn2p/Msn4p independent. This implies that the cold-specific early response is mediated by a different and as yet uncharacterized regulatory mechanism.
The functional neuroanatomy of tasks that recruit different forms of response selection and inhibition has to our knowledge, never been directly addressed in a single fMRI study using similar stimulus-response paradigms where differences between scanning time and sequence, stimuli, and experimenter instructions were minimized. Twelve right-handed participants were scanned on two standard cognitive control tasks, a stimulus-response incompatibility task, and a response inhibition task. A compound trial design allowed comparison of preparing to inhibit an upcoming automatic response to wholly inhibiting an automatic response. Furthermore, inhibiting an automatic response to perform an alternative task-relevant response was compared to wholly inhibiting an automatic response. No differences were found in prefrontal activity when preparing to inhibit an automatic response was compared to wholly inhibiting an automatic response, suggesting a mostly common network. The left inferior frontal gyrus was found to be commonly recruited during both tasks when controlled responses were required, likely due to its role in response selection. In contrast, the right inferior frontal gyrus was found to be more involved when task demands were stronger for response inhibition. Our results are largely consistent with models of cognitive control that postulate that separate psychological constructs, such as response selection and inhibition, are related processes largely served by a common prefrontal network. This prefrontal network is recruited to a greater or lesser extent depending on specific task demands.
functional magnetic resonance imaging; executive functioning; prefrontal cortex; inferior frontal gyrus; go/nogo; response incompatibility; cognitive control
The chemoreceptors responsible for the repellent response of Escherichia coli to phenol were investigated. In the absence of all four known methyl-accepting chemoreceptors (Tar, Tsr, Trg, and Tap), cells showed no response to phenol. However, when Trg, which mediates the attractant response to ribose and galactose, was introduced via a plasmid, the cells acquired a repellent response to phenol. About 1 mM phenol induced a clear repellent response; this response was suppressed by 1 mM ribose. Thus, Trg mediates the repellent response to phenol. Mutant Trg proteins with altered sensing for ribose and galactose showed a normal response to phenol, indicating that the interaction site for phenol differs from that for the ribose- and galactose-binding proteins. Tap, which mediates the attractant response to dipeptides, mediated a weaker repellent response to phenol. Tsr, which mediates the attractant response to serine, mediated an even weaker response to phenol. Trg and Tap were also found to function as intracellular pH sensors. Upon a pH decrease, Trg mediated an attractant response, whereas Tap mediated a repellent response. These results indicate that all the receptors in E. coli have dual functions, mediating both attractant and repellent responses.
This study investigated the influence of cueing on the performance of untrained and trained complex motor responses. Healthy adults responded to a visual target by performing four sequential movements (complex response) or a single movement (simple response) of their middle finger. A visual cue preceded the target by an interval of 300, 1000, or 2000 ms. In Experiment 1, the complex and simple responses were not previously trained. During the testing session, the complex response pattern varied on a trial-by-trial basis following the indication provided by the visual cue. In Experiment 2, the complex response and the simple response were extensively trained beforehand. During the testing session, the trained complex response pattern was performed in all trials. The latency of the untrained and trained complex responses decreased from the short to the medium and long cue-target intervals. The latency of the complex response was longer than that of the simple response, except in the case of the trained responses and the long cue-target interval. These results suggest that the preparation of untrained complex responses cannot be completed in advance, this being possible, however, for trained complex responses when enough time is available. The duration of the 1st submovement, 1st pause and 2nd submovement of the untrained and the trained complex responses increased from the short to the long cue-target interval, suggesting that there is an increase of online programming of the response possibly related to the degree of certainty about the moment of target appearance.
Cueing; Cue-target interval; Response complexity; Response practice; Reaction time; Movement time
The responses of pigeons were maintained by a DRL schedule of food reinforcement. With this schedule, responses were reinforced only when a fixed period of time elapsed without an intervening response. Punishment of all responses reduced the frequency of these responses as a direct function of the punishment intensity. As a consequence of the increased temporal spacing of responses, more reinforcements resulted during punishment. Under progressively higher intensities of punishment, the reinforcement frequency increased to a maximum value and then decreased at the highest intensities. The increased frequency of reinforcement which resulted during punishment did not counteract the suppressive effect of punishment, nor did it lead to a low response rate after punishment was removed. Punishment did not reduce the inter-response time distribution uniformly, but rather especially reduced the number of short inter-response times. Even at the low punishment intensities, the number of short inter-response times was considerably reduced. After punishment was discontinued, performance recovered almost completely after a compensatory burst. The number as well as the temporal pattern of responses returned to normal.
Two temporal parameters of free operant or Sidman avoidance behavior are the interval by which responses postpone shocks (Response-Shock interval) and the interval between shocks when no responses occur (Shock-Shock interval). Avoidance behavior was examined in three white rats under conditions where the Response-Shock and Shock-Shock intervals were always equal. With intervals from 10 to 60 sec response rates and shock rates were similar, decreasing, negatively accelerated functions of increasing Response-Shock=Shock-Shock interval. Over this range, response and shock rates were linearly related to the reciprocal of the Response-Shock=Shock-Shock interval. It was shown, however, that this relation cannot hold at extremely long intervals. Both the ratio of responses emitted to shocks received and the percentage of shocks possible which were avoided increased at long Response-Shock=Shock-Shock intervals. These findings may be related to the fact that long intervals provide optimal conditions for conditioning avoidance behavior in the rat.
Responses of pigeons were maintained by a VI schedule of food reinforcement. Conditioned punishment was programmed by having these responses concurrently produce an originally neutral stimulus. The effectiveness of this response-contingent stimulus was maintained by infrequent and prearranged stimulus-shock pairings delivered independently of responses. This conditioned punishment procedure reduced the overall response rate as long as the procedure was in effect. The extent and durability of the reduction was a function of the intensity of the shock that was paired with the stimulus. Analysis of the reduction in the overall response rate revealed: (1) a reduction of responses occurring in the absence of the response-contingent stimulus, which was designated as a “punishing” effect, and (2) a reduction of responses during the response-contingent stimulus, which was designated as a “suppressive” effect.
Avoidance response: An object placed 1 mm from the growing zone of a Phycomyces sporangiophore elicits a tropic response away from the object. The dependence of this response on the size of the object and its distance from the specimen is described, as well as measurements which exclude electric fields, electromagnetic radiation, temperature, and humidity as avoidance-mediating signals. This response is independent of the composition and surface properties of the object and of ambient light. House Response: A house of 0.5- to 10-cm diameter put over a sporangiophore elicits a transient growth response. Avoidance responses inside closed houses are slightly smaller than those in the open. Wind responses: A transverse wind elicits a tropic response into the wind, increasing with wind speed. A longitudinal wind, up or down, elicits a transient negative growth response to a step-up in wind speed, and vice versa. It is proposed that all of the effects listed involve wind sensing. This proposal is supported by measurements of aerodynamic effects of barriers and houses on random winds. The wind sensing is discussed in terms of the hypothesis that a gas is emitted by the growing zone (not water or any normal constituent of air), the concentration of which is modified by the winds and monitored by a chemical sensor. This model puts severe constraints on the physical properties of the gas.
A low-speed centrifuge was used to study the tropic responses of Phycomyces sporangiophores in darkness to the stimulus of combined gravitational and centrifugal forces. If this stimulus is constant the response is a relatively slow tropic reaction, which persists for up to 12 hours. The response is accelerated by increasing the magnitude of the gravitational-centrifugal force. A wholly different tropic response, the transient response, is elicited by an abrupt change in the gravitational-centrifugal stimulus. The transient response has a duration of only about 6 min. but is characterized by a high bending speed (about 5°/min.). An analysis of the distribution of the transient response along the growing zone shows that the active phase of the response has a distribution similar to that of the light sensitivity for the light-growth and phototropic responses. Experiments in which sporangiophores are centrifuged in an inert dense fluid indicate that the sensory mechanism of the transient response is closely related to the physical deformation of the growing zone caused by the action of the gravitational-centrifugal force on the sporangiophore as a whole. However, the response to a steady gravitational-centrifugal force is most likely not connected with this deformation, but is probably triggered by the shifting of regions or particles of differing density relative to one another inside the cell.
Human subjects were used in a study of auditory generalization following multiple-response discrimination training. The relations observed among stimulus intensity, response probability, and response latency were invariant with respect to whether the two vocal responses conditioned were topographically discrete, as in one experiment, or topographically continuous, as in another. The major findings were:
1. The probabilities associated with a specific response were maximal over several stimulus values at the extreme ends of the continuum, then dropped sharply at stimuli intermediate to the initial SD's as the probability of the alternative response increased.
2. Overall response latency was inversely related to the relative frequency of the two responses at each stimulus value. When the two responses were most nearly equal in probability, latencies were maximal; when one response had close to unit or zero probability, latencies were minimal.
3. Analysis of the latencies of the two responses, taken separately, revealed: (a) an increase in latency as the difference between the test stimulus and the initial SD increased; (b) a sharp discontinuity in the latency gradient and reversal in trend at intermediate stimulus intensities; and (c) at a given stimulus value, latencies associated with the stochastically dominant response were consistently shorter than those of the nondominant response.
4. No changes in response topography (fundamental frequency) were correlated with the characteristic changes in probability and latency during stimulus generalization.
Four pigeons were trained to discriminate between two line orientations in a two-alternative forced-choice procedure. The distribution of reinforcers for the two types of correct response was varied across conditions. Performance on each trial was recorded separately, including the time taken to make a choice response. Discriminability and response-bias measures were calculated for overall performance, and, following a median split of the data from each condition, for faster and slower choice responses in each condition. Discriminability between the stimuli did not vary systematically as a function of choice latency. Variations of the reinforcer distributions produced larger response biases for the faster responses than for the slower responses. Responses on trials following reinforcers were faster and showed a greater effect of the reinforcer distribution than did other responses. Behavioral models of signal detection should consider the speed of the choice response as a factor modulating the effects of reinforcer distributions.
signal detection; stimulus discriminability; response bias; choice latency; pigeon
Rats were conditioned to emit the following two-member chain of responses on two different operanda always available: responses on a vertical bar produced a discriminative stimulus for food-reinforced responding on a horizontal bar. Responses on the vertical bar produced a discriminative stimulus on a variable-interval 1-min schedule, and the horizontal bar produced food on a variable ratio of 10 responses. Control conditions were included in which vertical bar responses were also food-reinforced simultaneous with the onset of the discriminative stimulus for the horizontal bar response and a tandem schedule which had the same response requirements but without different exteroceptive stimuli associated with the separate components of the response chain. The latter condition greatly retarded acquisition of the response chain compared to the other schedules studied here and compared to reports in the literature on homogeneous (single operandum) response chains. Intermittent reinforcement of the chain led to greater resistance to extinction of both members and the chain remained intact longer in the sense that stimulus control was maintained.
The pecking response of pigeons is usually measured by a transducer that senses the presence or absence of a response. Typically, the response force as a function of time has not been accurately measured. Data were collected using a transducer specially designed to record the waveform of the pecking response in pigeons. Each response on the target surface of the transducer was reinforced and followed by a blackout. The response was stored on an oscilloscope screen and the peak force and duration of the response were recorded manually from the oscilloscope screen. The mean peak force of the response substantially exceeded the minimum criterion for reinforcement of 35 g (0.343 Newtons) of force. Photographs of the waveform of pecks on the transducer showed great variability in response force and demonstrated that the waveform produced by pecking the target surface was complex. The responses were frequently asymmetrical with the rise time shorter than the fall time, although no single verbal description could be applied to all of the waveforms. Bimodal peaks and double responses were observed and the first peck or response was usually larger than the second. A disadvantage of the transducer was that pecking produced oscillation of the transducer at its resonant frequency. In spite of this deficiency, the waveform of the peck was easily recognizable.
Three rats were trained on an unsignalled shuttlebox-avoidance task under three response-shock intervals (10, 20, and 40 sec). Under all conditions, subjects developed excellent temporal gradients of avoidance; that is, response rate was an increasing function of time since last response. Although the response rate at any given interval of time after the previous response was inversely related to the response-shock interval, there was an underlying similarity in the temporal gradients for the three intervals. In all cases, response rate relative to the maximum response rate was approximately equal to the proportion of the interval that had elapsed. This suggests that rats in unsignalled avoidance are estimating time from response completion, and that the units of the estimate are proportional parts of the response-shock interval.
In two experiments a multiple-response repertoire of four free-operant responses was developed with university students as subjects using monetary gain as reinforcement. Following baseline, one of the responses was reduced either by making monetary loss contingent upon it (response cost) or by removing it from the repertoire (response restriction). In Experiment 1 a multielement baseline design was employed in which baseline and restriction or response-cost contingencies alternated semirandomly every 3 minutes. In Experiment 2 a reversal design was employed (i.e., baseline, restriction or response cost, then baseline), and each response required a different amount of effort. Both experiments had the following results: (a) The target response decreased substantially; (b) most nontarget responses increased, and the rest remained near their baseline levels; and (c) no support was found for Dunham's hierarchical, most frequent follower, or greatest temporal similarity rules. For several subjects, the least probable responses during baseline increased most, and the most probable responses increased least. Furthermore, in Experiment 2, responses with the lowest frequency of reinforcement increased most (for all 7 subjects), and those with the greatest frequency of reinforcement increased least (for 5 subjects).
response cost; response restriction; multiple-response repertoire; variable-interval schedules; response force; multielement baseline; reversal design; time allocation; humans
After rats received preliminary training to avoid shock on a discrete-trial retractable-bar avoidance procedure, the procedure was changed such that responses retracted the lever but did not affect the rate of shock. Responses only delayed the onset of shock. About half of the animals under these procedures responded consistently on almost 100% of the discrete-trial cycles over days. When short latencies maximized the response-shock delay, animals tended to make short-latency responses. When long latencies maximized the response-shock delay, animals tended to make long-latency responses. When all response latencies produced the same response-shock delay, animals made differing average-latency responses. And, when responses did not delay shock, most of the animals primarily engaged in shock-elicited responding while the other animals engaged in preshock responding.
response-shock delay; discrete-trial avoidance; unsignalled shock; retractable lever; rats
The effect of force requirements on response effort was examined using outbred (CD-1) mice trained to press a disk with their snout. Lateral peak forces greater than 2 g were defined as threshold responses (i.e., all measured responses). Different force requirements were used to define criterion responses (a subclass of threshold responses) that exceeded the requirement. The reinforcer was sweetened, condensed milk, and it was delivered upon response termination. All mice were exposed to two ascending series of criterion force requirements (2, 4, 8, 16, and 32 g). Increasing the force requirement decreased criterion response rates, but increased threshold response rates. The time-integral of force (area under the force–time curve for individual responses, which is proportional to energy expenditure for each response) increased with the increase in the force requirement. These results conflict with the hypothesis that higher force requirements have aversive qualities and suggest that increased force requirements are more analogous to intermittent schedules of reinforcement. These data suggest that estimations of effort or energy expenditure should be measured independently of the force requirement. Individual differences in responding were found for the CD-1 outbred stock.
operant; effort; force; disk press; CD-1 mice
A chamber containing 72 response keys defining the circumference of a circle 1 m in diameter was used to examine the relation between differentiation of response location and a measure of response-reinforcer contingency known as the phi coefficient. A different target key was specified in each successive phase, and response location was differentiated with respect to the target. Criterional and noncriterional responses (i.e., responses "near" and "far" from the target) were defined using targeted percentile schedules to control the overall probability of each response class. By manipulating criterional (and, hence, noncriterional) response probability and the reinforcement probabilities conditional on each, a mathematical invariance property peculiar to phi in contingency analysis was examined. Specifically, diagonally interchanging cell frequencies in a 2 x 2 table relating criterional/noncriterional responses to reinforcement/nonreinforcement leaves phi unchanged. Hence, the degree of response differentiation predicted by phi remains unchanged under the four permutations implied by the various diagonal interchanges. This predicted invariance was examined under values of phi equal to .33, .58, and .82. Increasing phi generally increased the stereotypy of response location. Three of the permutations generated almost interchangeable performance at different phi values. The remaining permutation, however, generated functions relating response concentration to phi with slopes shallower than those obtained under the other permutations. This resulted from relatively higher levels of differentiation, compared to the other permutations, at low phi values. These data strongly suggest boundary conditions on the ability of phi to reflect completely the local processes that are indexed by phi at a molar level.