Response Differentiation

Observing the animal while being trained in a Skinner-Box, it becomes clear, that it has to learn the nature of the operant - this is known as response differentiation. By changing the response requirement, for example the force required to depress the lever, it comes out that animals learn response requirements very precisely. It is also clear, however, that they are not simply learning a set of muscle movements. Once a rat has learned to press one lever he does not have to relearn the whole process if he is extinguished and presented with a new learning task - we do not need to go through the whole trained procedure again even if the lever is now on the opposite side of the Skinner-box.

This document has been restructured from a lecture kindly provided by R.W.Kentridge.