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By George Stanley Reynolds

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Another rule applies to complex stimuli composed of separable Iparts. Generalization can be expected to occur to stimuli which have perceptible aspects in common with the stimulus that originally set the occasion for reinforcement. For example, if a pigeon's pecks on a triangle have been reinforced, the pigeon will be more likely to peck at stimuli with straight edges or sharp corners than to peck at circles or ovals, because stimuli with edges and sharp corners have those elements in common with the triangle.

E that this procedure has established a chain of stimuli and responses, as was discussed at the end of Chapter 1. A response during shaping can now be reinforced by the conditioned reinforcer of the noise of the magazine and the decrease in illumination. These stimuli are, in turn, discriminative stimuli, in whose presence the behavior of approaching and taking the grain will be reinforced by the ingestion of the grain. Primary positive reinforcers, such as the grain, are usually effective only if the organism has been deprived of them in the recent past.

However, reinforcement does not have to be continuous to be effective; in fact, intermittent reinforcement on a schedule is probably more common than continuous reinforcement. Such a schedule of intermittent reinforcement might, for example, prescribe that only every other occurrence of the response will be reinforced. As we will see in Chapters 6 and 7, there is an almost unlimited number of possible schedules of reinforcement. Each schedule of reinforcement is followed by a characteristic and predictable pattern of responding during extinction.

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