__ Instructor: ____________
___ Grade: ________LO: 39
Conceptual Work Sheets for
Differential Reinforcement and
3. Along what response dimension are you differentially reinforcing the response? In other words,
what physical property is different in right paw
pressing than in left paw pressing? (Subtle hint: I
consider right vs. left paw presses to differ topographically.)
f. other ____________________
Differential Reinforcement in the
Skinner providing water contingent on lever pressing
You had been
regardless of which paw Rudolph used to press the lever,
but now you’ve decided to demonstrate differential reinforcement. Each time thirsty Rudolph presses the lever with
his right paw, you give him a drop of water. When he
presses with his left paw, you give him nothing. Now he
presses the lever with his right paw.
1. Please diagram the plain old vanilla reinforcement
with any paw
Differential Reinforcement by the
Removal of an Aversive Stimulus
2. Please analyze Rudolph’s behavior and put this example in the contingency diagram. First behavior:
right-paw press in the top branch of the diagram,
and then the left paw press in the bottom branch(4).
Tom got a splinter when he stepped on an old wooden
board with his bare feet. So, Tom got the tweezers and tried
to pull the small, pointy splinter out. If Tom grasps the
splinter with sufficient care, then his foot will hurt less because the splinter will be removed. However, if he grasps
the splinter with insufficient care, he will not manage to
remove the splinter and his foot will continue to hurt.
4. Please diagram the plain old vanilla reinforcement/escape contingency. (the behavior should be
“Tom grasps the splinter”)(2)
5. Please diagram the first behavior: Grasping the
splinter with sufficient care; put it in the top branch
of the diagram. (Remember that even though this
first contingency is an escape contingency, the escape contingency is really a type of reinforcement
contingency, so it does go in that top branch, the
reinforcement branch.) Then diagram the second
behavior: Grasping the splinter with insufficient
care; put it in the bottom branch (4).
Use the pink Contingency Diagram Checklist (Table of Criteria) to analyze this example.
November 21, 2013
Differential Punishment by a Nasty Beverage
Matt enjoys having a full cup of coffee in the morning before going to class (or any time of the day really). Sometimes he’s in too much of a hurry when he pours his cup of
coffee and immediately takes a huge gulp. Ouch! If he
would have just waited 10 or 15 seconds he wouldn’t have
burned his tongue again.
10. Punished behavior: Immediately taking a gulp. Recovered behavior: Taking a gulp after a short pause
(10 or 15 seconds)(4).
6. Does this example pass the pink Contingency Diagram Checklist (Table of Criteria)?
7. What is the length of time you take to get the splinter out?
8. What response dimension refers to how hard you
pull the splinter out?
11. Does this example pass the pink Contingency Diagram Checklist (Table of Criteria)? Yes or No
12. What’s the response dimension along which that
response is being differentially punished?
f. other _________________
9. What response dimension refers to how you hold
the tweezers and pull the splinter out?
13. Why did you pick latency rather than duration?
19. Please diagram your original example (3):
Differential Reinforcement or
Punishment in Everyday Life
Differential Reinforcement or
14. What’s your original example of differential reinforcement or punishment? (Real student examples:
I have to push the door hard, to get it to lock; when
I am using the hose, if I turn the nozzle to the left,
the water stays on. If I turn the nozzle to the right,
the water turns off; if I talk on my cell phone outside I get good reception but if I talk inside, I don’t;
if I drink my shot slowly I don’t gag, if I drink it
quickly I gag.)
Reinforcement or Punishment
No Reinforcement or Punishment
15. What is the set of contingencies?
a. differential reinforcement
b. differential punishment
20. Does this example pass the pink Contingency Diagram Checklist (Table of Criteria)? Yes or No
16. Diagram the plain old vanilla reinforcement or
It is important not to confuse response dimensions with
stimulus dimensions. You’ll get more into stimulus dimensions in Chapter 13, but for now let’s preview the concepts.
The stimulus dimensions are the physical properties of a
stimulus (what the organism sees, hears, or smells). Response dimensions are the physical properties of a response
(what the organism does). The lever being 1.5 inches above
the floor of the Skinner box is an example of a stimulus
dimension, not a response dimension. Brightness of a light
and sweetness of a drink are also examples of stimulus dimensions.
17. What is the reinforced or punished behavior?
18. What is the behavior that is not reinforced/punished?
21. Pushing the lever down with extreme force is an
a. response dimension
b. stimulus dimension
More student examples:
Kristen, the converted slob gets a glare from her fiancé if
she puts a dish away in the sink, but not if she puts it in the dishwasher.
Jimmy works at a Mexican restaurant, cooking quesadillas. If
he cooks them too long they get burned instead of golden brown,
and he doesn’t get any compliments from the other cooks.
Since Anne’s hair is extremely curly it hurts to comb it unless
she starts combing it immediately after she gets out of the shower.
22. In your original example, what’s the response dimension along which that response is being differentially reinforced or punished?
f. other ___________________________
When Sean’s girlfriend whines, he mocks and makes obnoxious comments, but when she talks normally he doesn’t.
Note that the sixty second test and the response unit test do
not apply to the latency measure.
To open the knife drawer in the group home where she was
working, Tina had to put the key in upside down. If she put it in
right side up, it would stay locked.
Graphic Display of Frequency
Imagine that you have just collected baseline data for a differential-reinforcement experiment. You’ve recorded a total
of 12 responses. The grams of force of each response are
1, 5, 2, 5, 4, 2, 5, 2, 3, 2, 4, 3
23. Prepare a frequency table for the preceding data
(the grams of force with which Rudolph the rat
pressed the lever). In the left-hand column, write
the grams of force from 1 to 5 grams. In the right
hand column, write the number of times the rat
pressed with the corresponding grams of force. I’ve
done the first row for you--1 gram of force and one
Grams of Force | # of responses
24. Now prepare a frequency graph. Don’t forget to label and scale both axes (this should be a bar graph)
X axis is _______________________
Y axis is _______________________