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Acta Comportamentalia

Print version ISSN 0188-8145


MOREIRA, Júnnia Maria. Conditioned reinforcing function: Discriminative function interactions. Acta comport. [online]. 2014, vol.22, n.3, pp.365-378. ISSN 0188-8145.

Conditioned reinforcement has been studied for more than 60 years and is defined as the stimulus which became a reinforcer in function of its relation with another reinforcer. In spite of this simple definition, different and sophisticated procedures have been used to investigate the phenomenon, which consequently resulted in the use of different measures. Some studies have investigated the relationship between the discriminative and reinforcing functions such as studies that used the observation procedure. The objective of this paper is to present some traditional studies to discuss the relationship between the reinforcing and discriminative functions. The question raised is related to the stimulus functioning in a S-S contingency besides in a three terms contingency as a necessary or sufficient condition to establish a conditioned reinforcer. To achieve this goal, studies that aim to explicitly investigate the relations between discriminative and reinforcing functions and studies that did not have this goal but also evoke the question are discussed. Among the latter studies, are located the response suppression studies, that allowed to discuss the contiguity and contingency relations between stimulus, and the observation procedure studies, that allowed to discuss the relationship between the signaling, discriminative and reinforcing functions. The results of studies stress the relevance of the discriminating function, as well as other variables, like S-S contingency, to establish the reinforcing function, but indicate that the first one is not necessary for the establishment of the conditioned reinforcer. These fruitful discussions highlight the relevance of carrying out further research on the subject in order to integrate and consolidate existing findings in the literature.

Keywords : behavior analysis; conditioned reinforcement; reinforcing function; discriminative function; observing procedure.

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