The Effects Of Differing Response Force Requirement In Signaled Shock Avoidance

1993 words - 8 pages

Introduction
Previous research have demonstrated that avoidance responding is influenced by shock intensity and duration (Leander, 1973; de Souza et al., 1984; Badia et al., 1973). Powell (1970) investigated the effect of two shock intensities in single and multiple avoidance schedules and found that the higher shock intensity was generally more effective in producing avoidance responding. Leander (1973) investigated the effects of shock intensity and duration on free-operant avoidance. The results indicated that shock intensity and shock duration combine in a multiplicative fashion to determine the avoidance performance. The relation between shock intensity and shock duration suggested ...view middle of the document...

, 1973; Harsh & Badia, 1975). Harsh and Badia (1975) found that strength of preference for signaled over unsignalled depended on shock intensity. At the lowest shock-intensity values for each subject (0.15 mA, 0.20 mA, or 0.3 mA), the amount of time spent in the signaled shock schedule remained near baseline levels. At higher intensity values such as 1.0 mA or 3.0 mA, however, subjects were spending most of each session under the signaled schedule (Harsh & Badia, 1975). Duration of shock was also a dimension of shock that predicted preference of signaled shock schedules over unsignalled. When given the choice between signaled or unsignalled shock, there was a preference for signaled shock schedules. There was a trend of preference towards longer or stronger signaled shock over shorter or weaker unsignalled shock (Badia et al., 1973). Badia et al. (1973) demonstrated that subjects chose signaled shock four (2.0 sec) to nine times (4.5 sec) longer than unsignalled shock (0.5 sec). This further suggests that signals associated with more intense and long-duration shock can predict stimulus control of avoidance responding. However, there are other factors influencing stimulus control of avoidance responding. The effectiveness of avoidance signals are predicted by the signal’s duration and sensory modality (Gilbert, 1971). Gilbert (1971) found that avoidance signals that persisted were more effective than signals that were brief at the beginning of warning period; and auditory signals predominated control of avoidance responding over visual signals. The duration of the warning period is consistent with findings from de Morales and Todorov (1977) which found that there is a direct relationship between response latency and the duration of a warning signal.
When unavoidable, the punishing effects of shock resulted in attack such as biting and escape-avoidance (Azrin et al., 1967; Pear et al., 1972; Ulrich & Azrin, 1962). This aggressive responding, whether elicited or operant, involves physical effort. However, how comparable is it to the effort to avoid shock? Miller (1968) investigated the role of response force on avoidance rate in humans. Force was manipulated with vocal requirement set at 80db, 95db, and 110db to avoid counter losses. The results of this experiment suggested that high response force requirements affected avoidance responding similar to high response force requirements on positively reinforced responding (Miller, 1968). In other words, high response force requirements decreased avoidance responding. These results are consistent with results from Alling and Polling (1995). Alling and Polling (1995) investigated the effects of differing response-force requirements on fixed-ratio responding. Results indicated that high response force requirements decreased response rates regardless of where in the ratio force requirement was increased; as the number of responses required to produce a reinforcer increased, the postreinforcement pause...

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