As discussed previously in Chapter 6, Konorski (1967) proposed that classical conditioning be analyzed in terms of preparatory and consummatory components. The preparatory component includes all the various drive and emotional factors underlying the event, whereas the consummatory component refers to the specific appetitive or defensive actions elicited. He argued that preparatory or emotional factors are prepotent over con-summatory elements during the conditioning process—that is, learning depends more on emotion than consummatory reflexive actions. This raises a question regarding the emotional substrates underlying punishment. As previously discussed, punishment takes two basic forms: the withdrawal of rewards or the presentation of aversive stimulation. Studies utilizing Kamin's (1968) blocking effect indicate that a similar emotional substrate is involved during both forms of punishment, whether the punitive event is the withdrawal of reward (negative punishment) or the presentation of an aversive event (positive punishment). The blocking effect refers to a phenomenon observed when a compound stimulus is presented (CS1 and CS2) where CS1 has been previously paired with the reinforcing US (e.g., shock). Under an arrangement where CS1 (tone) and CS2
(light) are subsequently presented together, the tone will overshadow the light stimulus, causing the latter to remain neutral with regard to the reinforcing US (shock). CS1 is said to absorb all the associative strength that the US can support.
To determine whether negative punishment and positive punishment function similarly, the following experiment could be performed. First a clicker (CS) is paired with food (US) until a strong conditioned response is evident. The second part of the experiment involves presenting a light stimulus together with the previously conditioned clicker, but this combination is never followed by food. Pairing the clicker with the presentation of food generates a strong conditioned response to the sound of the clicker. in the second case, however (where the clicker and light are presented without food), conditioned inhibition (no response) oc-curs—that is, the compound stimulus composed of the light and clicker predicts no food. Let's take this analysis one step further. Returning to the aforementioned blocking experiment where shock was used as the US, what would occur if the light stimulus previously compounded with the clicker (predicting the absence of food) was compounded with a neutral tone stimulus and paired with shock? This is precisely what Dickinson and Dearing (1979) set out to determine in a similar experiment. interestingly, the researchers found that the light CS1 blocks conditioning of the tone CS2. This is a rather astonishing result, since the light stimulus had never been actually associated with shock, yet it was able to block conditioning of the neutral tone stimulus.
How might this result be interpreted? it appears as though at some level the animal experiences the loss of reward in much the same way it experiences the presentation of an aversive stimulus. Mackintosh (1983) considered this possibility and argued, using Konorski's paradigm, that the preparatory emotions experienced during aversive stimulation are actually very similar to those experienced during the withdrawal of an anticipated food reward—that is, the feelings elicited by the withdrawal of reward are emotionally analogous to those elicited by aver-
sive stimulation. Although the preparatory emotions associated with the two forms of punishment are not identical, their significant emotional impact is identified as though they were the same—that is, they are associatively linked or identified with the same emotional substrate. Theoretically, such a linkage between positive and negative punishment is a very important finding. These distinct modes of punitive stimulation are obviously differentiated on a physiological level. The only way to identify the two is via an independent organizing concept or shared hedonic category, like "not good" or "disappointment" (i.e., a mediating cognitive construct). If the foregoing interpretation is accurate, it may be misleading to view negative punishment (e.g., extinction) as being significantly "better" emotionally than positive punishment (e.g., shock). Both forms of punishment can cause great anxiety, frustration, and distress if not skillfully employed. On the level of emotional integration, punishment is punishment. Panksepp, while discussing various distinctions between hedonic affects and true emotions from psychobiological perspective, speculated along similar lines of analysis:
Certainly at the broad functional level, pleasure is a property of external stimuli which help sustain life, while feelings of aversion arise from stimuli which tend to be incompatible with survival. in the simplest brain scenario, it may turn out that the affective properties of various stimuli funnel into a few, perhaps just two, primary affective processes—generalized pleasure (such as might be mediated by brain opioids and/or dopamine) and generalized aversion (perhaps by anti-opioids and anti-dopaminergics)—with the multitude of apparent distinctions being the result of non-affective sensory details. (1988:44)
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