Extinction : New Learning Versus Unlearning

2386 Words10 Pages
Louis Vazquez
Extinction As New Learning Versus Unlearning
Queens College, City University of New York

This study was conducted to test the effects of extinction by viewing shaping before and after extinction. Extinction refers to a decrease of a behavior when the reinforcer is removed (Bouton, Todd, Vurbic, and Winterbauer, 2011). Extinction was formerly theorized in the Recorla-Wagner model to be a complete unlearning of a previously learned association. However, extinction has also be theorized as the retaining of learning and not the destruction of it. Using virtual rats in the CyberRat program. The current study measures the response rate during shaping before and after extinction. Operant conditioning was used to shape a rat for lever pressing with reinforcement. After the behavior was shaped, the rat went through three consecutive 60 minute sessions of extinction. When lever pressing was extinguished, rats were shaped again to lever press for reinforcement. Expecting shaping after extinction to have a shorter duration if the learning of the association is retained.

Extinction refers to the removal of the reinforcer that results in the decrease in responding. In operant conditioning extinction happens when a response is no longer reinforced. Extinction is seen as a process that can either reverse the original S-R association or establish new competing associations (CITE). One of these competing theories is the reversal

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