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Rule-Governed Behavior


Laura Lyons

on 4 May 2011

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Transcript of Rule-Governed Behavior

Rule-Governed Behavior How verbal contingencies effect human performance and learning Presentation Overview
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 cognitive vs. Behavioral approach Types of behavior (cognitive and behavioral views) Examples of types of behavior Definition of Rules and RGB Taxonomy of Rules Relevant
summaries Why this is important
(Future Research)
How cognitive psychologists approach behavior (WHY-behind behavior) -Information processing approach (Miller, 1956)
(attempts to explain how humans transform information between a stimulus and a response).

-Applies a computer programming
analogy to human behavior. 1.) input (an external stimulus) is put in,
2.) a filter takes out important information,
3.) the specific pattern is recognized
4.) important parts are selected,
5.) put into short term memory.
6.) response (Broadbent, 1958). Ault, (1983) -four elements of thought / cognitive units. schemata, symbols, concepts and rules. Schemata are the mental representations of world:
symbols are arbitrary expressions that stand for other things,
concepts represent attributes common to several different events,
RULES are statements which specify a relationship between two or more concepts... Rules bring all other units together and allow them to relate stimuli & experiences in new and different ways.

Rules simplify problems, much like computer programs.

Piaget (1936) called rule-making ORGANIZATION, because rules are the way we code raw information. Rules specify a relationship between concepts. Behaviorists view of Behavior (HOW-cause and effect-change behavior) BEHAVIOR= an interaction between an organism and it’s environment,

which is characterized as a detectable displacement of space through time of the organism or part of the organism.

This interaction results in a measureable change in the environment (Cooper, Heron & Heward, 2007). Types of Behavior Contingency-Shaped Skinner, (1957) defines all behaviors selected directly by consequences as contingency-shaped behavior.

contingency-shaped behavior is acquired through direct exposure to environmental consequences,
We tell someone our own phone number

We turn a door knob

We read these words RGB Behavior not solely under control of its consequence/s. This is rule-governed behavior (skinner, 1966).
Only present in humans as rule-governed behavior requires language or is made possible by verbal behavior (Hayes, Barnes-Holmes & Roche, 2001).

Deciding not to drink, when you know it will make you feel immediately great RGB DEFINED Hayes & Hayes, (1989) stated that Skinner’s definition of rule-governed behavior was like all other behavior except the discriminative stimulus specified a contingency. The problem is in that in Skinner’s definition, he does not define “specify.”
Hayes & Hayes (1989) argued that “if a discriminative stimulus specifies contingencies….then rule-governed behavior is not different from contingency shaped behavior,” (p. 17).

Because of this lack of distinction, they proposed their own definition of rule-governed behavior stating that rule-governed behavior is “behavior controlled by antecedent verbal stimuli.”

Gagne, (1970) takes this definition even further by adding that rule-governed behavior allows individuals to respond to entire classes of stimuli with classes of responses. Therefore, not only is rule-governed behavior verbal, solely human, and independent of behavior, it allows individuals to make classes of response classes of stimuli. RULE
a verbal stimulus that specifies either directly or indirectly the consequences for a behavior (Skinner, 1966).

Glenn, (1987) -a rule must be “identifiable independent of behavior which it controls,” (P. 30).
whenever a subject is not exposed directly to contingencies, but instead to descriptions to contingencies a rule is involved.

Vaughen, (1989) -a rule is not only independent of the behavior it controls, it is a “function-altering stimulus in that it alters the probability of some response at another time in the presence of a different stimulus,” (p. 107). It CAN lead to abstraction) More Examples Rule-governed behavior is controlled by verbal stimuli that specify the contingencies.

For example if someone tells you to “press that button three times a minute so a big cookie comes out of that box over there,” that behavior is rule-governed. The rule, verbally stated, specifies the contingencies, but is independent of the behavior itself. The behavior is not under direct control of its consequences, but instead under control of the verbal antecedent that specifies those contingencies. (Can a puppy do that?) refraining from drinking -Even though drinking behavior may result in immediate reinforcement of feeling happier, warmer, or more at ease, the long term, verbal stimuli controlling the behavior state that if he/she drinks there is the possibility of falling down, getting sick, or making a fool out of oneself.

Fasting- During fasting, two sets of contingencies are at play, and one is a verbal antecedent (Zettle & Hayes, 1982). Fasting provides negative punishment in that there is a removal of food, but later it produces positive reinforcement in the form of social attention or praise.
RGB Taxonomy (Hayes & Hayes, 1989) Normal rules,

the actualization depends entirely on the physical completeness of the antecedent set of events.
EX: patterns of key pecking and reinforcement contingencies in a pigeon box experiment.

a normal rule is knowing how.

Normative rules,

on the other hand, cannot be actualized, they can only lead to actual behavior.
specifics a specific three-term contingency in the presence of a particular discriminative stimulus.

states that a behavior that happens in a particular setting will elicit a specific consequence (Skinner, 1969).

Normative rules are applied and can cause behavior. A normative rule is a rule that allows one to know that. (Zettle and Hayes, 1982) A ply controls pliance.

Pliance is behavior that is under control of a history of socially mediated reinforcement for coordination between behavior and verbal stimuli, which functions as the antecedent.
The reinforcement is based on frame of coordination between rule and behavior.

An example of a ply is when a mother tells a child “eat breakfast right now”.

A track-a type of rule that produces tracking.

Tracking is behavior under the control of a history of coordination between the rule and the way the environment is arranged independent of the delivery of the rule.
(Kid eats breakfast…kid will have more energy). –contingencies contacted because of properties of behavior (form/frequency) (Palaez and
Moreno,1999) rules are classified by four dimensions and then can differ across all four of those dimensions.

A rule can be either explicit or implicit, meaning that the rule either indentifies the entire contingency (“if you come to the carpet in the next three seconds you will earn a sticker”), or that the contingencies do not gain verbal expression and can not be identified in space or time (“keep your eyes on the board”).

Rules can be accurate or inaccurate. Accurate meaning they correspond with the environment, and inaccurate meaning they do not.

Rules can be of low or high complexity, which relate to the number of dimensions of antecedent stimuli and there relations (“put the small green circle into the hole that is two inches wide and is outline in black ink”).

The fourth dimension is the source of rules. Rules can come from others such that they are taught or abstracted. These rules are often taught by imitation or modeling and when one behaves according to the rules they are said to be complying. Rules can also be self-generated. These rules allow an individual to arrive at, or derive abstract relations to others. When one adheres to a self-generated rule it is said that they are conforming. By combining the four dimensions of explicitly, accuracy, complexity, and source, there are sixteen possible types of rules. For example, an explicit, accurate, rule of lower complexity that is taught could be- “pick up your pencil right now if you want to go to recess.” On the other hand, an implicit, inaccurate, high complexity, self-derived rule could be “I should go up to my teacher like Billy does when he wants something, not like when he goes up to her when he has a question.” Experiments Testing RGB Catania, Shimoff, Mattews (1989) came to the logic that to be sure that behavior is under verbal stimulus control (rule-governed) and not under direct control of contingencies, experiments would need to test the effects of when contingencies and rule are pitted against each other.
(All experiments were conducted with college students, button pressing to earn points) Experiment 1: Periodically stopped to make "contigency hypotheses (how they would press to contact reinfrocment). Results showed students responded in accordance of their rule (reguardless of change in the contingency) Experiment 2: Experimenters shaped the contingency guesses (hypotheses). As a result of hypothesis shaping, all participants responded in accordance with their hypothesis and not in accordance with actual contingencies. Experiment 3: tested the effect of incorrect hypotheses on the performance of button pressing. All participants were misled in terms of writing their performance hypothesis. Results showed that three participants responded consistent with their incorrect performance hypothesis. For three participants, behavior was under the control of the consequences themselves, while for the other three participants, behavior remained rule-governed. Experiment 4: Participants received instructions on how to discriminate between interval and ratio schedules. This was done in an attempt to make non-verbal human behavior sensitive to contingencies. The rationale was that to do this, experimenters needed to make verbal behavior specifically describe the experimental contingencies. The results of experiment four showed that all 10 participants were insensitive to contingencies in the absence of contingency descriptions (hypotheses). However, the schedule instructions were sufficient to generate a response that adhered to performance schedules. With the knowledge of these schedules, students may have used self-generated rules to respond correctly. Experiment 5: Same as 4 EXCEPT-extinction period was randomly inserted among sessions with various schedules of reinforcement. Results showed that although behavior did decrease during the extinction phases eventually, participants responded extremely different than non-verbal organisms, applying several rules consistent with schedule instruction before not responding or decrease the number of responses. Joyce & Chase (1990) Button pressing in college students. Summary: data showed that when verbal behavior described appropriate performance, then the identification of the contingency produced appropriate responses. Experiments four and five showed that rule governed behavior and contingency sensitivity is unique to humans, because in humans, behavior remains under control of verbal antecedents. In non-humans, behavior is only under the control due to the relationship between responding and its consequences. Experiment 1:Some students were given complete instructions “press the button 40 times fast.” Two other groups of students were given incomplete instructions.

The results showed that participants who received the complete instructions showed little variability when the schedule changed. Those given incomplete instructions were sensitive to the natural contingencies and responses became contingency-shaped for four of the six participants receiving the incomplete schedule. Experiment 2: Same as 1, but SSR. After receiving this instruction, the variability in all subjects increased. Results showed that responses that were variable at the time of schedule change may be more subject to the effects of direct contingencies.

Because variable responses are more subject to contingencies, this may add weight to the insensitivity to rule-governed behavior, in that when individuals follow rules, they respond in the same way regardless of contingencies. Hayes, Brownstein, Haas & Greeenway, (1986)
(More Button Pressing) Given Directions to respond fast, slow, or a combonation.
instructions were minimal, or accurate.
Results showed that when given accurate and complete rule, RGB, transfered to the contingencies. (experimenters knew this because they changed contignecies and responses changed with them)
Several experiments have tested the effects of instruction and rules on learning in students who are typically developing and students with diagnosed disabilities. Deacon and Konarski (1987) tested correspondence training and reinforcement training on change in three different target behaviors dealing with computer use. Participants were students with mental retardation.

Results of this study showed that using both correspondence training and the use of reinforcement can teaching students new behaviors, and can also teach them to verbalize, or explain these behaviors.

Experimenters that conducted this study attempted to put forth a theory, which stated that correspondence training can be used to develop rule-governed behavior. Falcomata, Northup, Dutt, Sticker, Vinquist, and Engebretson (2008), tested the effects of contingency specific instructions and incomplete instructions on instructional control and the maintenance of appropriate in-seat behavior. Participants were three seven-year old males, all diagnosed with ADHD.

During instructional sessions, participants in experimental setting A (the complete-instruction phase) were told to “sit quietly in their chair and they might get a coupon.” In the next phase, participants were given the same instructions, but after they emitted the target behavior, they did not receive reinforcement in the form of praise or a coupon.

Results of the study showed that all participants reached and maintained sitting still for a targeted duration during both phases. Because students emitted correct responses, even without reinforcement after a correct response, experimenters proposed that instructional control was established during the experiment and behavior was rule-governed. Vaughan, (1985) tested the effects of instructional stimuli on chained responses during acquisition. The method of using verbal instructional stimuli, was compared to instruction that taught the chained tasks under direct contingencies of the response. Participants were typically developing three to five year- olds.

The group that received the instruction, emitted nearly zero errors during the training, while the students who did not receive the instruction via the lights, made many errors and emitted nearly zero correct responses.

In the second experiment, the experimenter tested the effects of the verbalization of the instruction and determined its effects. (Do self-generated rules and stating them have an effect on behavior?) The procedure was similar to experiment one, except that during certain sessions, participants were required to verbalize the contingencies.

Results showed that participants who verbalized the contingences decreased their rates of errors during sessions where the instruction lights were on. During later sessions, the participants sat down in front of the apparatus and immediately started to vocalize their self-generated rule.

Results showed that in some typically developing children, rules can be learned and affect behavior more quickly than the direct contingencies they describe. When combining the results of all of these studies, several trends emerge.

results showed that rules tend to govern the performance behavior of humans regardless of whether they are inaccurate, incomplete, taught or self-generated.
Not only did rules govern behavior, they also made the various behaviors resistant to extinction and produced less variability in participants’ responses.
Also showed that the self-generation of rules, or verbal correspondence with behavior may have the greatest control of behavior.
In the three learning studies, participants were able to acquire the new operants faster when given a rule. rather then solely contacting the direct contingencies of the behavior.
Why all this is Important With a clear definition of rule-governed behavior, we will be able to categorize behaviors we teach into rule-governed and contingency-shaped behaviors. Once we determine the type of target behavior, we can begin to think about what repertoires should be taught under direct or indirect verbal antecedent control.

Eventually, we want all behaviors that are initially rule-governed to become contingency-shaped and automatic. Repertoires in spelling, math and reading may start as rule-governed repertoires, but eventually become contingency-shaped behaviors. Without a clear definition to help make this distinction, it would be tough to even begin to study how to teach both types of behavior, and how to transfer control. The different taxonomies of rules are important to future study. Through the categorization and identification of different types of rules, we can attempt to further understand the existing rules that govern students' behavior. Whether these behaviors be in the social, self-management or the academic realm, categorizes of rules can narrow the specific control for these behaviors.

- also important to consider because if we can categorize rules, then we can test them against each other to see what type of rules are best to control specific operants. Research can be done on what types of rules are better for what types of repertoires. Performance and learning studies offer good starting points for future experiments. Results of these studies showed that rules can most clearly control the behavior of humans, and that this can occur even in the when there is a change of schedule or the absence of reinforcement. Also, these experiments showed that rule-governed behavior can lead to faster acquisition and maintenance of behavior than direct environmental contingencies.

Future research could test whether or not there is a faster acquisition of behavior when students are given a rule or whether they only contact direct contingencies across different academic domains.
Other experiments can attempt to determine whether this rate of acquisition is uniform or similar across students who are typically developing and students who are diagnosed with disabilities such as autism.

Perhaps the specific diagnosis wouldn’t’ t be as interesting as what pre-requisite skills are required for students to learn more quickly from a rule than from contacting direct contingencies over multiple exemplars.

It would be interesting to explore at what point certain behaviors go from being rule-governed to contingency-shaped, as this is an academic goal for almost all skills. Putting the “I” before “e” except after “C”
Placing a fork on the left side of the plate
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