Chapter Seven: Stimulus Control: Discrimination and Generalization
-consequences are important in the control of operant behavior. Operant behavior is strengthened
when it is followed by a reinforcing consequences; it is weakened when the reinforcing consequence no
longer follows the behavior (exitinction)
-a punishing consequence also weakens the behavior
-bc operant behavior is controlled by its consequences, behavior analysts analyze the events that follow
the behavior to understand why it is occurring, than they manipulate the consequences of the behavior
to modify it.
Antecedents: stimulus events that precede an operant response. The antecedents f a behavior are the
stimuli, events, situations, or circumstances that are present when it occurs or were present
immediately before the behavior.
-when we understand the antecedents of operant behavior, we have info on the circumstances
in which the behavior was reinforced and the circumstances in which the behavior was not reinforced or
a behavior will continue to occur in a situation in which it as reinforced in the past, and stops
occuring in situations in which it has not been reinforced or has been punished.
Example of Stimulus Control
-jake wants cash from his parents. He asks his mom and she usually gives him money. When he asks his
dad, his dad usually refuses to give him any money and tells him to get a job. STORY OF MY LIFE :P. As a
result, he usually asks his mom for money instead of his dad. His behavior of asking for money was
reinforced in one situation (the presence of his mom) and was not reinforced in another situation
(presence of his dad). The ANTECEDENT STIMULUS(presence of his mom) reinforces his behavior so he is
more likely to ask his mom for money instead of his dad.
-another example is picking bright red strawberries instead of green ones bc the green ones are sour.
The bright red antecedent stimulus is reinforced, which the green strawberry antecedent stimulus is
punished (its tastes nasty). She will pick strawberries when an establishing operation is present (she in
hungry) she will not pick strawberries if the EO is not present.
Defining Stimulus Control
Stimulus Control: a behavior is more likely to occur when a specific antecedent stimulus is present
-a behavior is said to be under STIMULUS CONTROL when there is an increased prbability that the
behavior will occur in the presence of a specific antecedent stimulus or a stimulus from a specific
stimulus class (stimulus class- ie. red strawberries are a stimulus class. any one particular red strawberry
is a member of this stimulus class.) Developing Stimulus Control: Stimulus Discrimination Training
-stimulus control develops bc a behavior is reinforced only in the presence of a particular antecedent
stimulus. Therefore, the behavior continues to occur in the future only when that antecedent stimulus is
Discriminative Stimulus (S ): the antecedent stimulus that is present when a behavior is reinforced
Stimulus Discrimination Training: the process of reinforcing a behavior only when a specific antecedent
stimulus (S ) is present
2 STEPS are involved in stimulus discrimination training:
1. when the (S ) is present, the behavior is reinforced
2. When any other antecedent stimuli except the (S ) are present, the behavior is reinforcced. During
discrimination training, any antecedent stimulus that is present when the behavior is NOT REINFORCED
is called the S-DELTA.
-as a result of discrimination training, a behavior is more likely to occur in the future when the (S ) is
present but is LESS likely to occur when an S-DELTA is present
-THIS IS THE DEFINITION OF STIMULUS CONTROL
-important: the presence of an (S ) DOES NOT cause behavior to occur, it does NOT strengthen a