Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Martin T. Gipson

First Committee Member

Kenneth L. Beauchamp

Second Committee Member

Roseann Hannon


The prediction of Capaldi's sequential learning theory (i966, 1967, 1970) that resistance to extinction (Rn) increases as a function of the number of successive nonrewarded trials (N-length) conditioned to the instrumental response has recently been supported in a discrete-trials leverpress situation but not in a free-operant leverpress situation (Wolach & Ferraro, 1971). To investigate this discrepancy, 32 male albino rats were trained to leverpress in the presence of a visual sD under one of two N-length conditions (8 or 16) and one of four intertrial interval (ITI) conditions (5, 10, 15, or 30 sec.), the lowest of which corresponded to a freeoperant interresponse time. A subsequent extinction phase revealed that the 16 N-length group displayed greater Rn than the 8 N-length group at each ITI investigated on the dependent measures of extinction speed (p is less than .01) and trials to extinction criterion (p is less than .05). The results were interpreted as supporting the applicability of sequential theory to both discrete-trials and free-operant methodologies.



Included in

Psychology Commons



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

No Known Copyright. URI:
The organization that has made the Item available reasonably believes that the Item is not restricted by copyright or related rights, but a conclusive determination could not be made. Please refer to the organization that has made the Item available for more information. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use.