Fixed ratio and extinction performance of infants in the second year of life

Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
P Weisberg, E Fink


Five 14(1/2)- to 19(1/2)-month-old infants were trained to lever press for snacks on small fixed ratio schedules of reinforcement. Within four to nine sessions, responding under FR 10 was established for four subjects and FR 15 for the other. Each subject's last session revealed behavioral patterns similar to animal and human FR trained subjects-a high and constant ratio rate, mixed with a zero rate following reinforcements. Deviations were mostly in the form of prolonged and variable post-reinforcement pauses. These and other irregularities were probably due to the limited deprivation conditions and improper training procedures in which the ratio (for two subjects) was ascended too early and too quickly. Extinction was instituted during the last session. The degree to which extinction performance matched that of other organisms depended upon how stable and "ratio-like" performance was during conditioning.


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Related Concepts

Conditioning (Psychology)
Operant Conditioning
Extinction, Psychological
Psychological Reinforcement

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