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The Structure of Learning by Beatrix Gardner, R. Allen Gardner

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CHAPTER  8

Contiguity Versus Contingency

Since Skinner invented the procedure in the 1930s, armies of experimenters have conditioned hordes of rats and pigeons to press levers and peck keys in Skinner boxes. The success of this procedure is supposed to support traditional, almost biblical, faith in reward and punishment. This chapter reviews the modern evidence that bears on this ancient belief.

SHAPING AND AUTOSHAPING

Instrumental conditioning in the Skinner box is easily and cheaply automated, which makes it cost-effective and popular with experimenters. The most inefficient step in the procedure used to be the wait for the first response. Without some intervention from the experimenter, a great deal of waste time often elapsed before a naive ...

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