Document Detail

Rethinking reinforcement: allocation, induction, and contingency.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22287807     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The concept of reinforcement is at least incomplete and almost certainly incorrect. An alternative way of organizing our understanding of behavior may be built around three concepts: allocation, induction, and correlation. Allocation is the measure of behavior and captures the centrality of choice: All behavior entails choice and consists of choice. Allocation changes as a result of induction and correlation. The term induction covers phenomena such as adjunctive, interim, and terminal behavior-behavior induced in a situation by occurrence of food or another Phylogenetically Important Event (PIE) in that situation. Induction resembles stimulus control in that no one-to-one relation exists between induced behavior and the inducing event. If one allowed that some stimulus control were the result of phylogeny, then induction and stimulus control would be identical, and a PIE would resemble a discriminative stimulus. Much evidence supports the idea that a PIE induces all PIE-related activities. Research also supports the idea that stimuli correlated with PIEs become PIE-related conditional inducers. Contingencies create correlations between "operant" activity (e.g., lever pressing) and PIEs (e.g., food). Once an activity has become PIE-related, the PIE induces it along with other PIE-related activities. Contingencies also constrain possible performances. These constraints specify feedback functions, which explain phenomena such as the higher response rates on ratio schedules in comparison with interval schedules. Allocations that include a lot of operant activity are "selected" only in the sense that they generate more frequent occurrence of the PIE within the constraints of the situation; contingency and induction do the "selecting."
William M Baum
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of the experimental analysis of behavior     Volume:  97     ISSN:  1938-3711     ISO Abbreviation:  J Exp Anal Behav     Publication Date:  2012 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-01-30     Completed Date:  2012-08-02     Revised Date:  2013-06-26    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0203727     Medline TA:  J Exp Anal Behav     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  101-24     Citation Subset:  IM    
University of California Davis, CA, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Association Learning
Avoidance Learning
Choice Behavior*
Conditioning, Operant*
Imitative Behavior
Psychological Theory
Reinforcement Schedule*
Selection, Genetic
Species Specificity
Time Perception

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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