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Chapter 7 review.docx

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Zachariah Campbell

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Chapter 7 Stimulus Control: Discrimination and Generalization
Antecedents: stimulus events that precede an operant response. The antecedents of a
behaviour are the stimuli/events/situations/circumstances that are present when it
occurs or were present immediately before the behaviour.
Examples of Stimulus Control
Boy asks for money from mother, who gives it to him. Asks father for money, who does
not give it to him. The boy ends up only asking his mother for money because he knows
his father won’t give it to him. The first situation was reinforced while the second was
not. Mother’s presence = antecedent for boy’s behaviour of asking for money = mother’s
presence has stimulus control over boy.
Defining Stimulus Control
Stimulus control: a behaviour is more likely to occur when a specific antecedent
stimulus is present.
A behaviour is said to be under stimulus control when there is an increased
probability that the behaviour will occur in the presence of a specific antecedent
stimulus or a stimulus from a specific stimulus class.
Most human behaviours are under stimulus control. Behaviours usually don’t occur
randomly; they occur in the specific situations or circumstances in which they were
reinforced in the past.
Example: A man says ‘I love you’ to his wife but not to anybody else.
Antecedent Behaviour Consequence
Wife is present He says ‘I love you’ Wife says the same to him
The behaviour is more likely to occur when the antecedent stimulus is present because
that is the only time the behaviour has been reinforced.
Developing Stimulus Control: Stimulus Discrimination Training
Stimulus control develops because a behaviour is reinforced only in the presence of a
particular antecedent stimulus. Therefore the behaviour continues to occur in the future
only when that particular stimulus is present.
Discriminative stimulus (SD): the antecedent stimulus that is present when a behaviour
is reinforced.
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