The Naked Emperor

[From Rick Marken (950628.0900)]

Bill Powers (950628.0400 MDT) --

More good data, there. Did the authors make any comment at all about the
fact that more reinforcement goes with less behavior?

Bruce Abbott (950628.0900 EST) quotes Priddle-Higson, Lowe, & Harzem

These functions would appear not to be consistent with the Law of Effect
(Herrnstein, 1961; 1970), as the Law would predict an direct and not an
inverse relationship between response rate and rate of reinforcement, as
determined by the schedule parameter.

and adds:

However, these authors felt that these results might be explained by the
complex interaction between running rate and postreinforcement pause
observed in the data.

This may be why Bill Powers once suggested that there might be a conspiracy
among EABers to keep quiet about the failure of reinforcement theory. Here we
have data that seems to be completely inconsistent with reinforcement theory
(an inverse relationship between response rate and rate of reinforcement).
And how do reinforcement theorists deal with what this monumentally
important observation? They "feel" that it can be "explained" by the
complex interaction between running rate and postreinforcement pause
observed. Can it be explained by these observations? Apparently, nobody cares
because reinforcement theory MUST be right.

I really don't see how the "complex interaction between running rate and
postreinforcement pause" could possibly explain the inverse relationship
between response rate and rate of reinforcement anyway. After all, whatever
complex interaction between running rate and postreinforcement pause exists,
it exists right along with the finding of the inverse relationship between
response rate and rate of reinforcement. Perhaps the authors meant that this
interaction can "explain away" rather than explain the inverse relationship;
perhaps the hope was that by removing the variance due to the interaction,
the unpleasant inverse relationship between response rate and rate of
reinforcement would magically disappear.

It's amazing that there has never been ONE little boy in the EAB community -
- in the entire psychological community-- who was willing to say that the
Emperor of reinforcement has no clothes.

Best

Rick

From Tom Bourbon [950629.0213]

Wow. I've been away from csg-l for a few months and the first thing I see
when I return is:

[From Rick Marken (950628.0900)]

. . .

I really don't see how the "complex interaction between running rate and
postreinforcement pause" could possibly explain the inverse relationship
between response rate and rate of reinforcement anyway. After all, whatever
complex interaction between running rate and postreinforcement pause exists,
it exists right along with the finding of the inverse relationship between
response rate and rate of reinforcement. Perhaps the authors meant that this
interaction can "explain away" rather than explain the inverse relationship;
perhaps the hope was that by removing the variance due to the interaction,
the unpleasant inverse relationship between response rate and rate of
reinforcement would magically disappear.

It's amazing that there has never been ONE little boy in the EAB community
- in the entire psychological community-- who was willing to say that the
Emperor of reinforcement has no clothes.

Why, Rick, I'll bet you would even say behaviorists are stark naked when
they claim that one "behavior" "interferes with" another "behavior," or that
one "behavior" "inhibits" another. :wink:

Later,
Tom