Differential satiation for a social reinforcing stimulus as a determinant of its efficacy in conditioning

Rivka Landau, Jacob L. Gewirtz

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21 Scopus citations


Four satiation levels for a social reinforcing stimulus (the Hebrew word yafeh, meaning "well done") were implemented by a woman E dispensing that stimulus different numbers of times in a 10-minute treatment period to 5 1 2year-old Israeli boys. The stimulus was dispensed contingent upon Ss verbal responses. The Ss received the stimulus either 4, 12, 30, or 60 times (according to one of four fixed-interval schedules). This treatment phase was followed almost immediately for all Ss by a 75-trial two-choice simultaneous discrimination-learning test, under 100% reinforcement with yafeh, to determine whether the differential satiation for the stimulus had lowered proportionately its reinforcing potency. A reliable linear trend for the order of the group means indicates that the effectiveness of the social reinforeing stimulus in learning the test discrimination approximates an inverse rank order with the number of times a group has received the stimulus, i.e., the level of satiation for it. (Also, conditioning was demonstrated in the test phase for Ss who had received the stimulus 4 or 12 times during treatment, but not for those who had received it 30 or 60 times.) Therefore, an interpretation of the treatment levels as representing different degrees of (reinforcing) stimulus satiation is supported. The function appears analogous to deprivation-satiation functions for appetitive stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-405
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1967
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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