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Some relations between classically conditioned aggression and conditioned suppression in squirrel monkeys.

By D F Hake and R L Campbell


During three experiments with squirrel monkeys, stimulus and shock pairings were given in the presence of a bite tube. Experiments 1 and 2 used a conditioned-suppression procedure in which bar pressing was reinforced with food. A transparent shield prevented biting of the bar. When the stimulus was paired with shock, bar pressing decreased (conditioned suppression) and tube biting increased during the stimulus (classically conditioned aggression). When the bite tube was removed on alternate sessions in Experiment 2, there was more suppression when the tube was present, thus suggesting that biting competed with bar pressing. However, this simple competing-response interpretation was complicated by the findings of Experiment 3 where, with naive monkeys, bar pressing was never reinforced with food, yet bar pressing was induced during the stimulus and was highest when the bite tube was absent. The fact that stimulus-induced bar pressing developed inciated that bar pressing in conditioned-suppression procedures, suppressed or not, may be maintained by two types of control--the food reinforcer and induced CS control. The higher rate of induced bar pressing during the stimulus with the bite tube absent confounds a simple competing response interpretation of conditioned suppression. It suggests that shock-induced responses during conditioned suppression could be both contributing to and competing with responding maintained by food, with the net effect depending on specific but ill-defined features of the situation

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