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Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica

Print version ISSN 0102-7972On-line version ISSN 1678-7153


ALBUQUERQUE, Luiz Carlos de; MATOS, Maria Amélia; SOUZA, Deisy das Graças de  and  PARACAMPO, Carla Cristina Paiva. Investigation of rule control by controlling the effetcts of reinforcement history on human behavior. Psicol. Reflex. Crit. [online]. 2004, vol.17, n.3, pp.395-412. ISSN 0102-7972.

This study investigated the role of experimental history and of relative density of reinforcement on rule following behavior. Sixteen undergraduate students participated. Under a matching-to-sample procedure, with 3 comparison stimuli, the participants were asked to point the comparisons in sequence, according to their dimension, Color, Thickness or Form, in common to the sample. At the beginning of Phases 1, 2, 3 and 4, participants were exposed, respectively, to minimal instructions, a discrepant rule (specifying a non reinforced sequence), a corresponding rule (specifying a TFC sequence) and a repeated discrepant rule. Only the CTF sequence was reinforced in all phases. In Phase 3, two sequences, TFC and CTF, were concurrently reinforced (Concurrent FR 2 FR6 and FR2 FR6). Control by rules and by reinforcement history were both observed, under specific conditions. These findings have implications for drawing a distinction between behaviors controlled by rules and those shaped by contingencies.

Keywords : Rules; contingencies; experimental histories; relative reinforcement rate; matching-to-sample; undergraduate students.

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