The effects of varyng the spatial localization of the conditioned stimulus in an autoshaping/automaintenance situations.

Carlos A. Bruner, Jorge E. Landaverde



Three pigeons were exposed to an autoshaping/autonzaintenance situation where a 4-second stimulus preceded a food delivery, every 128 seconds. For each block of 20 sessions, the stimulus was presented in one of four keys, placed at 0, 6, 18 and 42 cm for the food hopper, in this same order. During the first series of stimulus presentations, the interval between the stimulus and the response was held constant at 4 seconds. During a second and third series, the stimulus-reinforcer interval was lengthened to 8 and 16 se­conds, respectively. It was found that the rate during the stimulus, the number of stimulus presentations with a response and a running rate during the stimulus were generally decreasing functions of increasing the separation between the stimulus and the -en­forcer. For al! values of the distance variable, lengthening the stimulus-reinforcer interval produced decrements in the absolute levels of these three dependent variables. They latency of the first response was an increasing function of the distance variable but did not vary systematically with the stimulus-reinforcer interval. It was concluded that the reports from the experiments using the “long box” can mislead the readers into believing that pigeons are equally inclined to peck at keys whether distant or adjacent to the location of reinforcement. The data from the present study however, show that the strength  of the response diminishes as the temporal and the spatial separation between the stimulus and the  reinforcer increases, as predicted by traditional causality theories.


Spatial location, autositaping, automaintenance, pigeons


Editor in Chief:

Dr. Carlos J. Flores-Aguirre

ISSN: 0185-4534

ISSN Electrónico: 2007-0802