Maintenance Of Keypecking In Pigeons By A Food Avoidance But Not By A Shock Avoidance Contingency

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Animal Learning And Behavior


Response key illuminations were followed by food delivery or shock, and keypecks were programmed to prevent the occurrence of whichever stimulus was scheduled. At high shock intensity, pigeons did not peck: at low shock intensity, pigeons pecked in about half of the trials. When different key colors signaled food and shock trials, pigeons pecked on food trials, thus preventing food delivery, but not on shock trials, thus failing to avoid shock delivery. That pecks occurred despite the fact that they avoided food but did not occur when they avoided shock is taken as evidence that the keypeck is frequently governed by biological predispositions, and not by its consequences.

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