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Ninth International Conference; Paris, France; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #76
Experimental Research on Stimulus Control and Discrimination in Humans: Observing and Attending
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
10:30 AM–12:20 PM
Loft A, Niveau 3
Chair: Laurent Madelain (Universite Lille)
Abstract: The stimulus control of behavior is a critical aspect of how organisms adjust their behavior to the state of their environment and the survival of animals (including humans) often depends on their ability to perform responses that are appropriate to their circumstances. Therefore the ability to appropriately attend to the important features of a complex environment and perceive their relations is a critical survival skill. Importantly, problems related to the allocation of attending are associated with various psychological disorders ranging from attention deficit to substance abuse. Among the many factors contributing to the allocation and persistence of attending, the relation between patterns of attending and the resultant consequences plays an important role. The aim of this symposium is to bring together researchers to discuss current experimental findings and conceptualization regarding the effects of environmental contingencies on stimulus control in humans ranging from associations discrimination and class formations in respondent schedules to eye-movement based observing in operant schedules. These studies reveal both the complexity of attending and observing for stimulus control and the strong need for a unitary theoretical framework to account for the range and diversity of environmental effects on the establishment and persistence of stimulus control.
Instruction Level: Advanced
Keyword(s): discrimination stimulus-control, observing attending
The Perception of Associations
(Basic Research)
JEREMIE JOZEFOWIEZ (Université de Lille), Noelia Do Carmo-Blanco (Universite Lille), Susana Maia (York University)
Abstract: Associative learning is at the core of several important learning phenomena, notably operant and Pavlovian conditioning. Allan and collaborators have proposed that it could be conceptualized as a perception problem, entailing the application to it the full psychophysical toolbox to quantify a subjects ability to perceive relations between events. This psychophysical framework goes along with a new procedure for the study of associative learning in humans, the streamed-trial procedure, where participants are exposed to rapid flows of stimuli at the end of which a contingency judgment is asked of them. This presentation will review results from an ongoing research project building on Allans pioneering work. Among the conclusions highlighted, (a) Participants are better at perceiving positive contingencies between stimuli; (b) The variability in their is constant; (c) The sensitivity to stimulus contingency cannot be modified through feedback; (d) It relies, at least in the streamed-trial procedure, on attention-dependent visual processing while verbal coding strategies (such as counting stimuli) only play a marginal role.
Evaluating Transfer of Function as a Product of Temporal Contiguity or Functional Classes
(Basic Research)
Rafael Alaiti (University of Sao Paulo), Alceu Martins-Filho (University of Sao Paulo), Pedro Piovezan (University of Sao Paulo), Jean Abilio Silva (University of Sao Paulo), PAULA DEBERT (University of Sao Paulo)
Abstract: Researches indicated that stimuli pairing in training is responsible for transfer of discriminative function. The present study evaluated whether transfer of function was a product of temporal contiguity between stimuli or the formation of a functional class. Six college students were exposed to a three-phase procedure: the first phase was a successive discriminative training with three compound stimuli as S+ (A1B1, A1C1, A1D1) and three compound stimuli as S- (A1B2, A1C2, A1D2). The second phase was a successive discriminative training to establish R1 in the presence of B1 and R2 in the presence of B2. The third phase was a test, in extinction, to evaluate whether R1 or R2 would be emitted in the presence of A1, B1, C1, D1, B2, C2, D2 stimuli presented separately and successively. The results showed that 4 of the 6 participants showed R1 in the presence of stimuli from Class 1 and R2 in the presence of stimuli from Class 2. None of the subjects emitted the same response for all the single stimuli presented in the test. Results indicated that transfer of function was probably the product of the formation of functional classes and not a product of temporal contiguity.
CANCELED: Assessing Eye Movements During Discrimination Training With and Without Errors
(Basic Research)
Gonzalo Fernandez (UNIVERSITY OF GUADAJARA), Gerson Yukio Tomanari (Universidade de Sao Paulo), PETER ENDEMANN (University of São Paulo)
Abstract: Selective observing plays a primary role in a discrimination training established by differential reinforcement. However, no empirical data has been provided regarding observing behavior during progressive presentations of S- (i.e., fading in), known as error-less discrimination training. An experiment was conducted in order to assess the control exerted by discriminative stimuli over eye movements in a discrimination training with and without errors. Six undergraduate students served as participants; they were divided into two groups. One group was exposed to a successive discrimination training with errors, and the other without errors, immediately followed by a discrimination reversal for both groups. Participants exposed to errorless training showed faster acquisition and reversal, compared to training with errors. Analysis of observing durations showed shorter fixations to S- than to S+ during its fading in, which were maintained across conditions for most of the participants during the errorless training. Data from the reversal conditions denoted a reversed observing as well, with longer fixations to the new S+ (former S-) than the corresponding S-. Results suggest that fading in S- might lead to selective observing in early stages of training. This proficient and selective observing could be an important contribution for learning new discriminations.
CANCELED: Ocular Observing Responses Acquisition and Irrelevant Stimuli
(Basic Research)
PETER ENDEMANN (University of São Paulo), Laurent Madelain (Universite Lille), Gerson Yukio Tomanari (Universidade de Sao Paulo)
Abstract: Studies with human and non-human have demonstrated that properties of irrelevant stimuli have an effect on discrimination. Generally, these effects are attributed to changes in attention to distinguishable stimuli in the progress of discrimination establishment. According to some researchers, these attentional processes are modulated by observing operant contingences. To put the subjects in contact with relevant stimuli (S+ and S-), the observing response is selected and strengthened in differential reinforcement or discriminative training. The present experiment evaluated ocular observing acquisition as a function of irrelevant stimuli variations. Through eye tracking measurement, ocular observing was analyzed in a simultaneous visual discrimination task with discrete trials. Constant, successive, and simultaneous irrelevant variations were used. 32 Participants were divided in 4 groups. The manipulations affected the number of trials to criterion and early probability of observing duration to relevant stimuli. The temporal relationships between the last observing in a discrete trial and the differential reinforcement were analyzed.


Modifed by Eddie Soh