Publications of Place that refer to Rescorla (1991). Associative relations in instrumental learning: The eighteenth Bartlett Memorial Lecture.
Place, U. T. (1992b). Is there an operant analysis of animal problem-solving? [Conference presentation, presented at 18th Annual Convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis - May 25-28 1992 - San Francisco, California]. Association for Behavior Analysis. Abstract published in Proceedings of 18th Annual Convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis - May 25-28 1992 - San Francisco, California (p. 155). Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis.
In 'An operant analysis of problem-solving', Skinner (1966/1969/1988) develops an account of problem-solving based on the distinction between two different ways in which an organism can learn to adapt to environmental contingencies: (1) contingency-shaped behavior in which the behavior of an organism is progressively shaped by repeated exposure to the contingency itself, and (2) rule-governed behavior in which a verbally competent human being adapts to a contingency by constructing a verbal formula or rule which is said to specify" the contingency in question. A rule may be constructed, as in the case of contingency-shaped behavior, in the light of repeated exposure to the contingency itself. It may equally well be based on information about the contingency supplied by another speaker, on information derived from a written text, or on an inference from other rules derived from any or all these sources. It is this case where the agent infers a new rule tailor-made for the problem with which he/she is confronted that Skinner has in mind in offering an analysis of problem-solving in these terms. There is a growing body of empirical evidence (Hayes 1989) which confirms the accuracy of Skinner's description of problem-solving as it occurs in the case of verbally competent human beings. But animals also solve problems; and so do pre-verbal human infants. This kind of problem-solving cannot simply be a matter of contingency-shaping, though previous contingency-shaped behavior is the only resource from which a pre-verbal organism can draw in selecting an appropriate problem-solving strategy. It requires some mechanism like that which Köhler (1925) refers to as "insight" whereby the stimulus class which currently controls a particular response class is somehow stretched so as to include the current stimulus situation. The case for postulating such a behavior mediating mechanism within the conceptual framework of radical behaviorism is argued by appealing (a) to the analogy between attending behavior and thinking by talking to oneself, and (b) to the process whose existence is implied by Skinner's (1938) account of "stimulus class" whereby an organism learns to break up its stimulus environment into stimulus classes "along the natural lines of fracture."
[References]  [1 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1992b Is There an Operant Analysis of Animal Problem-Solving.pdf
Place, U. T. (1992j). Towards a reconciliation between the associationist and radical behaviorist traditions in the experimental analysis of behavior. [Unpublished paper. Presented under the title 'The three term contingency as a link between the associationist and radical behaviorist traditions in the experimental analysis of behavior' as Invited Address to the First International Congress on Behaviorism and the Sciences of Behavior, Guadalajara, Mexico, 6th October 1992].
It is an implication of the Law of Non-Contradiction that two incompatible descriptions of the same class of phenomena cannot both be true. This suggests that the future for radical behaviorism must lie in achieving a reconciliation with other disciplines and approaches studying the same or closely related phenomena. The approach known as "associative learning theory" shares a common data basis with radical behaviorism in the area of the experimental analysis of animal behavior. It is separated from radical behaviorism by a different view of the nature of what is learned. According to the radical behaviorist, under certain antecedent conditions (discriminative stimulus + establishing condition) an organism learns to emit a response. According to associative learning theory what is learned is an association between a pair of consecutive stimulus events. When presented with the first member of the pair, the organism learns to "predict" or "expect" the second member of the pair. Until recently, the principal application of this principle was Rescorla and Wagner's (1972) analysis of Pavlovian (respondent) conditioning. More recently, Adams and Dickinson's (1981) reinforcer-devaluation experiment has led associationists to pay more attention to instrumental (operant) learning. It has also opened up an interesting divergence of views between Dickinson (1988; Heyes and Dickinson, 1991; Dickinson & Balleine, forthcoming) who takes it as evidence of a discontinuity between respondent conditioning, which he interprets in terms of the establishment of mechanical associations, and operant learning which he interprets in terms of the ‘beliefs’ and ‘desires’ of philosophical action theory, and Rescorla (1991) who uses it as evidence for an interpretation of operant learning based on the same principles of stimulus-stimulus association invoked by Rescorla and Wagner to account for respondent conditioning. Standing in the way of a reconciliation between radical behaviorism and associative learning theory are the misgivings of the former about the use made by the latter of ‘mentalistic’ concepts, such as ‘expect,’ ‘anticipate,’ and ‘predict.’ These misgivings may be allayed if attention is paid to the results of applying to such concepts the technique, known as ‘conceptual analysis,’ developed by Wittgenstein (1953; 1958) and the philosophers of the Oxford ‘ordinary language’ school. A recent application of this technique to the linguistic phenomenon known variously as ‘intentionality’ or ‘intensionality’ shows that it consists of two distinct varieties of ‘referential anomaly’ which ‘infect’ the grammatical objects of certain verbs. In one case, the grammatical object is used to indicate a range of possible events any one of which, if it were to occur, would constitute a manifestation or satisfaction of a disposition. In the other case, the grammatical object functions as a quotation of what the agent either has said or might be expected to say or have said. Referential anomaly of the dispositional kind is both unavoidable and benign, but the use of quotations to characterize behavioral dispositions is acceptable for scientific purposes only in those cases where the behavior in question is in fact subject to linguistic control. Since the grammatical object of the verbs ‘know,’ ‘believe’ and ‘think,’ as they occur in belief/desire explanations, takes the form of an embedded indicative sentence in oratio obliqua or indirect reported speech, Dickinson's explanation of instrumental/operant learning in animals involves the scientifically unacceptable metaphor of linguistic initiation and control. Rescorla's theory, on the other hand, requires nothing more than that the organism learn to ‘expect’ or ‘anticipate’ an event (the outcome), given the combination of an antecedent discriminative stimulus and the stimulus constituted by the incipient emission of the response which it evokes. In this case the anomaly of reference in the noun phrase which occurs as the grammatical object of the verb reflects its use as a device for indicating a range of possible outcomes any one of which, if it occurred, would fulfill and confirm the expectation which it specifies.
UTP made changes to the text of the presentation in 1995 and in 1999.
Download: 1992j 1999 Towards a Reconciliation between the Ascociationist and Redical Behaviorist Traditions in the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.pdf
Place, U. T. (1993i). Following 'the natural lines of fracture': Concept formation in neural networks [Conference presentation, presented at the Symposium on Associationism, Behaviour Analysis and Connectionism, held at the Annual Conference of the Experimental Analysis of Behaviour Group, University College, London 31st March 1993].
It is an implication of Darwin's theory of evolution by variation and natural selection that the survival and reproduction of complex free-moving living organisms, animals in other words, depends on their ability to change the spatial relations between themselves and other objects, including other organisms of the same and of different species, and so bring about the conditions necessary for that survival and reproduction. In order to do that the organism requires a system - its nervous system - whose function is to match the output to the current stimulus input on the one hand and the organism's current state of deprivation with respect to conditions required for its survival and successful reproduction on the other. Matching behaviour to the conditions required for survival and reproduction is the function of the motivational/emotional part of the system. Matching behaviour to current stimulus input is the function of the sensory/cognitive part of the system. The sensory/cognitive system cannot perform its function successfully without the ability to group inputs together in such a way that every actual and possible member of the class or category so formed is a reliable indicator of the presence of an environmental situation in which a particular behavioural strategy or set of such strategies is going to succeed. In other words the survival and reproduction of an organism of this kind depends crucially on its having a conceptual scheme, a conceptual scheme moreover, which reliably predicts the actual behaviour-consequence relations operating in the organism's environment. Although verbs such as ‘classifying’, ‘categorizing’ and ‘conceptualizing’ are not to be found in Skinner's writings, there is an important passage in The Behavior of Organisms (Skinner 1938) where he addresses the issue which others talk about when they use such terms. Thus in Chapter One, after outlining his "System of Behavior", he goes on to say
The preceding system is based upon the assumption that both behavior and environment may be broken into parts which retain their identity throughout an experiment and undergo orderly changes. If this assumption were not in some sense justified, a science of behavior would be impossible. But the analysis of behavior is not an act of arbitrary sub-dividing. We cannot define the concepts of stimulus and response quite as simply as ‘parts of behavior and environment’ without taking account of the natural lines of fracture along which behavior and environment actually break. (Skinner 1938 p.33).
What Skinner has primarily in mind in this passage is the way the scientist's concepts need to be shaped into conformity with what he calls "the natural lines of fracture." But on the Darwinian argument the same must be true of the stimulus classes within which any living organism's behaviour generalises and between which it discriminates. It is argued that studying the properties of artificially constructed neural networks helps us to understand how the brain develops patterns of generalisation and discrimination which do indeed "follow the natural lines of fracture along which behavior and environment actually break." Attention is drawn to the role of the ‘hidden layer’ in responding to resemblances of pattern, to the role of re-entrant/recurrent and reverberatory circuits in establishing expectations on the basis of consecutive stimulus patterns, and to the role of error-correction in bringing stimulus classes into line with the contingencies experienced during learning.
Download: 1993i Following 'The Natural Lines of Fracture' - Concept Formation in Neural Networks.pdf
Place, U. T. (1998d). Behaviourism as a standpoint in linguistics. Connexions, (4), 26-30. www2.open.ac.uk/arts/journals/connexions/Connexions_4.pdf
Download: 1998d Behaviourism as a Standpoint in the Science of Linguistics.pdf