The form of the auto-shaped response with food or water reinforcers

J Exp Anal Behav. 1973 Sep;20(2):163-81. doi: 10.1901/jeab.1973.20-163.


The relation between the form of auto-shaped responses to the lighting of a key and the consummatory responses of pecking grain and drinking water was examined in pigeons. Responses on the key were analyzed by means of high-speed photography, recordings of the force of contact, and judges' ratings of response-form based on film and videotape recordings. The first experiment showed that food-deprived birds presented grain as a reinforcer responded on the key with a grain-pecking movement, while water-deprived birds presented water as a reinforcer responded with drinking-like movements. The second and third experiments showed that the resemblance between auto-shaped and consummatory responses does not require the dominance of the deprivational state appropriate to the reinforcer. Changing the dominant state of deprivation did not immediately change the form of the key response, and in subjects simultaneously deprived of food and water, the form of response depended on the reinforcer. In the fourth and fifth experiments, subjects simultaneously deprived of food and water received one stimulus signalling food and another signalling water in a random series. In most subjects, the response to each stimulus resembled the consummatory response to the particular reinforcer that was signalled by the stimulus. This result demonstrates the role of association between a stimulus and a reinforcer in producing a resemblance of the auto-shaped response to the consummatory response.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Columbidae
  • Conditioning, Classical*
  • Conditioning, Operant
  • Drinking Behavior*
  • Extinction, Psychological
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Food Deprivation
  • Housing, Animal
  • Hunger
  • Male
  • Motion Pictures
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reinforcement, Psychology*
  • Thirst
  • Videotape Recording
  • Visual Perception
  • Water Deprivation