Discriminative properties of shock-correlated reinforcement in an operant context

Document Type


Publication Date



A two-choice discrete operant procedure was devised for the study of shock-correlated reinforcement effects in rats. In the presence of one auditory stimulus, responding on one response lever was reinforced with food; with another auditory stimulus, responding on a second lever was reinforced. It was found that discrimination performance of one group, relative to appropriate control groups, was facilitated when electric shock was correlated with reinforcement on one lever and not on the other. Further, relative discrimination levels were found to be higher on the lever correlated with the shock than on the alternate lever. The significance of the results for operant within-S studies and for a mediational theory of shock-correlated reinforcement was discussed.


DOI:10.3758/BF03200276 Based on a paper presented by the first author at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, 1973. Computer services were provided by the University of Hawaii Computing Center.