Observable Changes of Hypotheses under Positive Reinforcement

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Science  30 Apr 1965:
Vol. 148, Issue 3670, pp. 661-662
DOI: 10.1126/science.148.3670.661


In mathematical models of concept learning it has consistently been assumed that positive reinforcement cannot lead to a change of the hypothesis determining the overt response. When hypotheses are experimentally identified and recorded along with positive and negative reinforcements of stimulus-response pairs, it can be shown that hypotheses may change after a positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement has an information content for subjects that has not yet been adequately recognized in concept formation studies.