The Effects of Repeated Resurgence Conditions on the Magnitude of Resurgence

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Redner, Ryan Nathaniel
Resurgence; extinction; behavioral history; response recovery; animal model
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Resurgence is defined as the recurrence of a previously reinforced behavior, under the condition that reinforcer delivery ceases for a more recently reinforced behavior. The current study investigated the effect of repeating the resurgence procedure six times with pigeons and two times with rats to determine the effect of repetitions on the magnitude of resurgence. Three phases were repeated: (a) Response 1 was reinforced while there were no programmed consequences for Response 2, (b) Response 2 was reinforced and Response 1 was extinguished, and finally (c) there were no programmed consequences for either response. The results indicated that the magnitude of resurgence increased for pigeons and decreased for rats as subjects were exposed to repeated resurgence procedures. Additionally, the level of Response 2 decreased in the final condition indicating that the level of extinction responding decreases following repeated training and extinction conditions. Results were discussed in terms of their similarities to other resurgence investigations and potential implications for clinical relapse.