Prediction of Discrimination from Generalization after Variations in Schedule of Reinforcement

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Science  18 Oct 1963:
Vol. 142, Issue 3590, pp. 412-413
DOI: 10.1126/science.142.3590.412


The relationship between generalization and discrimination is explored in the present study by utilizing the results of systematic changes in the generalization gradient to predict changes in discrimination behavior. In the first of two experiments, differing groups of pigeons were trained to respond to a wavelength of 550 mµ under conditions of varying schedules of reinforcement. Generalization gradients were then obtained and the ratios of the responses to selected discriminative stimuli calculated. These were used to predict discrimination behavior in a second experiment using the same stimuli. Both the number of trials to a discrimination criterion and the ratio of response indicate the plausibilty of an inverse hypothesis, and the applicability of the generalization model to related behavior such as discrimination.