Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Alyce M. Dickinson

Second Advisor

Dr. Dale Brethower

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The present study examined the effect that three magnitudes of extrinsic reinforcement had on wheel running following the termination of reinforcement. After an initial baseline period, three groups of rats were assigned to one of three conditions: a variable interval 60 second schedule of reinforcement, a variable time 60 second schedule of reinforcement, or a control condition. Each subject in the reinforcement groups was exposed to three different magnitudes of reinforcement. Each reinforcement phase was followed by a return to baseline. The results indicated that contingent reinforcement increased wheel running although rates were comparable for all magnitudes of reinforcement. No decrease in wheel running below baseline level was found following the termination of reinforcement. Extrinsic food reinforcement did not, thus, decrease the intrinsic performance of wheel running suggesting that the detrimental effects of extrinsic rewards may be limited to humans.

Included in

Psychology Commons