Contingency-Shaped and Rule-governed Behavior in a Probabilistic Task

Gustavo Fernández Pardo, Friné Haddad


Thirty two male, fourth grades, aged 10 to 12 Ss, from schools in Mérida, Yucatán, served in an experiment of guessing the color of two marbles within the experimenter's fist three experimental conditions were used: l. visual feedback plus monetary reinforce­ment after correct guessing; 11. visual feedback only; 111. monetary reinforcement only after correct guessing without visual feedback. Results show that independently of the experimental condition, Ss responses fell into three categories: "contingency shaped", where response distribution fit that of stimulus presentation; "equiprobability" where Ss responses were evenly distributed among the three different types of response, and "likely rule governed behavior" where S's responses departed significantly from the expected and favored the most probably reinforced response. A proposition is offered for behavioristic psychology to face complex behavior in a different manner.


ruled governed behavior, contingency shaped behavior, probabilistic task.

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Editor in Chief:

Dr. Carlos J. Flores-Aguirre

ISSN: 0185-4534

ISSN Electrónico: 2007-0802