Human responding with mutual reinforcement: Baseline and effects of an intervention

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Pressing a key by one undergraduate provided another undergraduate with points exchangeable for money, and vice versa. Four types of response patterns were found. Points were often delivered with a delay from the last response or with no response. When a contingency that responses lost points (punishment) was added to participants who had emitted more responses than the partner had, their response rates decreased while the rates of their partners increased. These results demonstrate that, under the contingency of mutual reinforcement: (a) response patterns that had occurred between monkeys were replicated between humans; (b) obtained response-reinforcer relations were different from those generally programmed in the basic reinforcement schedules; and (c) the behavior of the participant was controlled by changing the behavior of the partner.

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