Paper in Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes
  • Harris, J. A., Livesey, E. J., Gharaei, S., & Westbrook, R. F. (2008) Negative patterning is easier than a biconditional discrimination. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 34, 494-500.

    Two groups of rats were trained for 50 days on different discriminations in a magazine approach paradigm. One group was trained with a negative patterning schedule and a positive patterning schedule concurrently: they received intermixed trials of A+, B+, AB-, C-, D-, CD+ (A, B, C, and D are four distinct stimuli; the plus sign denotes reinforcement with food, and the minus sign denotes nonreinforcement). The second group of rats was trained with the same four stimuli arranged as compounds and reinforced according to the biconditional schedule AB+, CD+, AC-, and BD-. The first group learned the positive patterning schedule much more quickly than the negative patterning schedule, but they learned the negative patterning schedule more effectively than the second group learned the biconditional schedule. The authors discuss the implications of these findings for models of stimulus representation.