Title

Choosing Between Predictable Shock Schedules: Long- Versus Short-Duration Signals

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-1985

Publication Source

Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior

Volume

41

Issue

3

Inclusive pages

319-327

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1901/jeab.1984.41-319

Peer Reviewed

yes

Abstract

Two experiments assessed the relative aversiveness of different duration preshock (PS) signals (5 and 20 sec) and different duration stimuli identifying shock-free periods. In Exp I, the responding of 15 of 18 female Sprague-Dawley rats was maintained when it produced changes from a predictable-shock condition with a 5-sec PS signal to an identical schedule with a 20-sec PS signal; responding was not maintained when it produced the opposite changes. These results occurred with intershock intervals of both 120 and 240 sec. Exp II assessed whether changing to the 20-sec schedule was maintained by properties of the PS signals identifying the shock periods or by properties of the stimuli identifying the shock-free periods. Four similar rats were given training with the 2 signaled schedules in an operant chamber and then later given off-baseline preference tests in a shuttlebox. When given a choice between PS signals, Ss chose the 5-sec over the 20-sec signals. However, when given a choice between stimuli identifying shock-free periods, Ss chose the stimulus identifying the shorter shock-free periods (i.e., the one previously correlated with the 20-sec signals). Findings are discussed within the R. A. Rescorla and A. R. Wagner (1972) model of stimulus compounds and within the context of safety as a contrast phenomenon.

Keywords

aversiveness of long & short duration preshock signals & varied interstimulus intervals, signal preferences & choice behavior, rats

Disciplines

Psychology

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