History effects on induced and operant variability

Alessandra Da Silva Souza, Josele Abreu-Rodrigues, Ana Amélia Baumann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Two experiments evaluated history effects on induced and operant variability. College students typed three-digit sequences on a computer keyboard. Sequence variability was induced (by no reinforcement or variation-independent reinforcement) or reinforced (by variation- or repetition-dependent reinforcement). Conditions with induced and operant variability were presented according to a reverse between-groups design. In Experiment 1, we examined transitions from the variation or repetition contingencies to no reinforcement, and vice versa. In Experiment 2, the variation or repetition contingencies were followed or preceded by variation-independent reinforcement. The results showed that (1) a history of no reinforcement impaired operant variability learning; (2) induced variability levels were higher and lower after a history of reinforcement for variation and repetition, respectively; (3) repetition was more easily disrupted by no reinforcement and independent reinforcement than was variation; and (4) response variability and stability were a function of past and current reinforcement conditions. These results indicate that reinforcement history influences both induced and operant variability levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-437
Number of pages12
JournalLearning and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2010


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