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Psicologia: Teoria e Pesquisa
Print version ISSN 0102-3772
HUNZIKER, Maria Helena Leite; YAMADA, Marcos Takashi; MANFRE, Fernando Nunes and AZEVEDO, Érika Ferreira de. Operant variability and repetition learned after uncontrollable aversive stimuli. Psic.: Teor. e Pesq. [online]. 2006, vol.22, n.3, pp. 347-354. ISSN 0102-3772. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-37722006000300012.
The aim of the present experiment was to verify whether the previous experience with uncontrollable aversive events interferes in the learning of operant variability and repetition. Rats responses to lever pressure (n=45) were reinforced positively in CRF and FR 4 contingencies and then divided into three groups, exposed to electric shocks that could be either controllable, uncontrollable or none. After that, nine to 12 positive reinforcement sessions were conducted for sequences of four lever pressure responses in a box with two levers (right - D and left - E): half subjects was reinforced for varying (VAR) and half for repeating a same sequence (REP). The results showed that the previous shock treatment did not interfere in the learning of repetition and variability patterns which were only dependent on the contingence in force. These data are in disagreement with the learned helplessness hypothesis prediction.
Keywords : operant variability; operant repetition; uncontrollable shocks; learned helplessness.