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By George Stanley Reynolds

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Another rule applies to complex stimuli composed of separable Iparts. Generalization can be expected to occur to stimuli which have perceptible aspects in common with the stimulus that originally set the occasion for reinforcement. For example, if a pigeon's pecks on a triangle have been reinforced, the pigeon will be more likely to peck at stimuli with straight edges or sharp corners than to peck at circles or ovals, because stimuli with edges and sharp corners have those elements in common with the triangle.

The yellow and blue general illuminations indicate whether responses to the ground or to the figure will be reinforced. The bird quickly comes to respond appropriately. ,'.

The reader should note, however, that the word contingency and the phrase contingencies of reinforcement are very frequently used in the current literature to refer to all relationships that are involved in the reinforcement of behavior, whether they be contingencies or dependencies. Nevertheless, as we shall see, the distinction we have made between them is real and important. itio~~ b~havior results from the chance reinforcement of behavior, a true contingency. Suppose that a reinforcer is presented every fifteen seconds, no matter what the organism happens to be doing.

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A primer of operant conditioning by George Stanley Reynolds

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