College students received points exchangeable for money (reinforcement) on a variable‐time 60‐second schedule that alternated randomly with an extinction component. Subjects were informed that responding would not influence either the rate or distribution of reinforcement. Instead, presses on either of two levers (“observing responses”) produced stimuli. In each of four experiments, stimuli positively correlated with reinforcement and/or stimuli uncorrelated with reinforcement were each chosen over stimuli correlated with extinction. These results are consistent with prior results from pigeons in supporting the conditioned‐reinforcement hypothesis of observing and in not supporting the uncertainty‐reduction hypothesis.
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 1983
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