Effects of a Mere-Presence Conspecific on Extinction of an Operant.


In a 2 × 2 factorial design, 32 hunger-motivated albino rats were trained to press a bar for food in a Skinner box. Animals practiced this operant, with or without a mere-presence conspecific, on a VR reinforcement schedule for 10 days and were extinguished with or without a conspecific in a nearby compartment. The results showed that the presence of a conspecific did not enhance this operant during practice sessions nor its resistance to extinction. During extinction the animals that experienced the presence or absence of a conspecific for the first time showed a reduced rate of responding. The findings cast doubt on a drive theory of social facilitation and support a generalization-decrement hypothesis.

DOI: 10.1080/00221309.1984.9709943

Cite this paper

@article{Huang1984EffectsOA, title={Effects of a Mere-Presence Conspecific on Extinction of an Operant.}, author={I N Huang and Gay A. Wood}, journal={The Journal of general psychology}, year={1984}, volume={110 1}, pages={3-9} }