A failed attempt to autoshape leverpressing in horses

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In this paper, we describe a study in which we attempted to autoshape three horses to make a leverpress response. This study was motivated by observations made during earlier studies (Dougherty & Lewis, 1991b, 1992) in which we observed horses directing consummatory behaviors toward stimuli signaling the availability of reinforcers. The procedure was similar to that of other autoshaping procedures. Horses received forward conditioning trials in which stimuli (an illuminated panel and a retractable response lever) were periodically presented together for 10 sec and followed by a grain reinforcer. Each horse’s stall served as an experimental chamber. A response panel was positioned in the stall’s doorway, and a computer located nearby controlled and monitored experimental events. Each day, for 14 days, 100 stimulus-reinforcer pairings were presented. Despite 1,400 stimuli-reinforcer presentations, none of the horses were autoshaped. A few possible reasons for these results are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-154
Number of pages3
JournalBulletin of the Psychonomic Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)


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