Mathematical Psychology and Psychophysiology

By Stephen Grossberg | Go to book overview

SIAM-AMS Proceedings Volume 13 1981


Psychophysiological Substrates of Schedule Interactions and Behavioral Contrast

STEPHEN GROSSBERG1

1. Introduction: An interdisciplinary approach to schedule interactions. This chapter analyses some properties of schedule interactions, notably behavioral contrast effects, in terms of concepts that are suggested by the thought experiment in Grossberg [ 1981a]. None of these concepts was derived with schedule interactions in mind, and in that sense these behavioral properties, albeit interesting, are not fundamental constraints on neural design. On the other hand, without a knowledge of a few basic mechanistic concepts, questionable conclusions about schedule interactions can be generated. I will discuss Hinson and Staddon [ 1978] recent article on schedule interactions to illustrate this point. Schedule interactions are nonetheless challenging both as complex data and in terms of their historical treatment by Skinnerian psychologists. I will argue that schedule interactions are strongly influenced by processes which are currently studied as if they were parts of different disciplines, whereas really these processes work together to help determine the cues to which we pay attention. Chemical transmitters are usually discussed in neuropharmacology or neurophysiology. Expectancies are often discussed in cognitive or social psychology. Extinction, reinforcement, and behavioral contrast effects are often analysed in operant conditioning experiments. I will suggest below how these seemingly disparate concepts work together during reinforced behavior.

A conceptual roadblock in psychopharmacological no less than learning studies has been due to insufficient understanding of how chemical transmitters act as gates. I will review below how chemical gates acting in competitive geometries can cause intracellular adaptation and habituation, antagonisitic rebound in response to specific cue offset or to nonspecific arousal onset that is driven by an unexpected event, and inverted U effects. I will then indicate how

© 1981 American Mathematical Society

____________________
1980 Mathematics Subject Classification. Primary 92A09, 92A25.
1
Supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF IST-80-00257).

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