Human sensitivity to reinforcement in operant choice: How much do consequences matter?


Journal Article

The results of many human operant conditioning experiments appear to show that humans are less sensitive than nonhumans to operant consequences, suggesting species discontinuities in basic behavioral processes. A reanalysis of 31l data sets from 25 studies employing variable-interval schedules of reinforcement designed to assess sensitivity to reinforcement corroborates the claim that human behavioral allocation among alternatives often deviates from predictions based on rates of experimentally programmed consequences. Close inspection of the studies in question, however, suggests that methodological issues contribute heavily to the differences noted so far between humans and nonhumans and that an explanation based upon species discontinuities is not tenable.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kollins, SH; Newland, MC; Critchfield, TS

Published Date

  • June 1997

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 4 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 208 - 220

PubMed ID

  • 21331827

Pubmed Central ID

  • 21331827

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1069-9384

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3758/BF03209395


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States