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EXTINCTION OF CONDITIONED BEHAVIOR
Often the goal is to reverse the effects of acquisition. However, a true reversal of
acquisition is rarely achieved and may not be possible. The phenomena of spontaneous
recovery, renewal, reinstatement and resurgence all attest the fact that extinctions do not
erase what has been learned previously. Partial reinforcement permits organisms to learn
about non-reward as to immunize themselves against the effects of extinction. Not many
reinforcement schedules remain in effect forever. Responses that are successful at one
point may cease to work later.
Extinction: omitting the US or reinforce. In classical conditioning, extinction involves the
repeated presentations of the CS without the US. In instrumental conditioning, extinction
involves no longer presenting the reinforcer when the response occurs. During both of
these procedures, conditioned responding declines. The behavior change that occurs in
extinction is the opposite of what happens during acquisition.
Forgetting: is a decline in responding that may occur due to the passage of time and
does not require the nonreinforcement of the CS or the Instrumental Response.
Extinction: active process produced by omission of an expected US or the reinforcer.
•THEY ARE NOT THE SAME!
It is one of the most studied areas of research today looking to improve clinical practices
based on lab findings.
Effects of Extinction Procedures
Primary: the most obvious behavioral effect is that the target response decreases
Secondary: effects of extinction show an increase in variability.
Experiment on figure 9.1 -> participants that were reinforced to vary their responses
showed much more variability than those who did not have too. This indicates that the
other group was faster due to the fact that they did not have to move as much to try
different ways to respond.
both groups showed a significant increase in variability of the response sequences
they performed during the extinction phase. The extinction produced a decline in
the number of response sequences that participants completed but it did increase
the variability in those sequences.
Response sequences that were highly likely to occur during the reinforcement
phase continued during the extinction phase.
If an organism has become accustomed to receiving reinforcement for a particular
response, it may become upset when the reinforcers are no longer delivered. The
emotional reaction that is produced is known as frustration. This energizes behavior
which may become intense enough to induce aggression.
EX: two pigeons placed in a Skinner Box. Both birds had experienced continuous
reinforcement (CRF) and extinction. One was pecking the key while the other stood at
the back of the box. However when extinction was introduced, the pigeon that received a
reward for pecking the key attacked the partner standing in the back of the box claiming
it was their fault. This occurred as well if there was a stuffed animal in the box.
Forms of Recovery from Extinction
Traditionally the focus of studies of extinction has been on the decline in conditioned
behavior that is evident with continued exposure to an extinction procedure. They are
often used in therapeutic settings. However they do no reverse or eliminate the effects.
That being said, because it does not erase what has been originally learned, the
extinguished response reappears under different circumstances.
1, Spontaneous Recovery
Definition: the decline in conditioned behavior that occurs with extinction dissipates with
time. IF a rest period is introduced after extinction training, responding comes back.
Because nothing specific is done during the rest period to reduce recovery the effect is
known to be spontaneous.
It was originally defined by Pavlov.
Experiment: The effect is illustrated by a well controlled experiment in which original
acquisition was conducted with either a drop of sucrose or a solid food pellet delivered
into the cups on one wall of the chamber.
For one of the CS an eight day period separated extinction and testing; while the second
CS the test trials started right away after the extinction training. Responding tended to
recovery with the group that had a rest period in between.
The critical factor for Spontaneous Recovery: introducing a period of rest between the
end of extinction training and assessments responding.
•View figure 9.2.
2. Renewal of Conditioned Responding
Definition: refers to a recovery from conditioned responding when the contextual cues
that were present during extinction are changed. In most experiments they tend to do a