Share
Explore BrainMass

Peak Shift Effect, & Free-operant Avoidance Learning

Explain the peak shift effect.

What is the fundamental problem in the analysis of avoidance behavior? How can the concept of a safety signal be used to explain free-operant avoidance learning?

When a parent is shopping, why is using a threat "we'll go home if you keep that behavior up" to a child an ineffective punishment (in most cases)? Use all the ideas behind what makes an effective punishment to support your answer.

Solution Preview

Please see response attached, which is also presented below. I hope this helps and best of luck!

RESPONSE:

1. Explain the peak shift effect.

"Peak shift effect" is a behavioral response bias arising from discrimination learning in which animals display a directional, but limited, preference for or avoidance of unusual stimuli. Its hypothesized evolutionary relevance has been primarily in the realm of aposematic coloration and limited sexual dimorphism. However, Lynn, Cnaani, and Papaj (2005), developed a novel functional approach to peak shift, based on signal detection theory, which characterizes the response bias as arising from uncertainty about stimulus appearance, frequency, and quality (Lynn, Cnaani, & Papaj, 2005). (2)

This approach allows the influence of peak shift to be generalized to the evolution of signals in a variety of domains and sensory modalities. The approach is illustrated with a bumblebee (Bombus impatiens) discrimination learning experiment. Bees exhibited peak shift while foraging in an artificial Batesian mimicry system. Changes in flower abundance, color distribution, and visitation reward induced bees to preferentially visit novel flower colors that reduced the risk of flower-type misidentification. Under conditions of signal uncertainty, peak shift results in visitation to rarer, but more easily distinguished, morphological variants of rewarding species in preference to their average morphology. Peak shift is a common and taxonomically wide-spread phenomenon. This example of the possible role of peak shift in signal evolution can be generalized to other systems in which a signal receiver learns to make choices in situations in which signal variation is linked to the sender's reproductive success (Lynn, Cnaani, & Papaj, 2005) (2)

2. What is the fundamental problem in the analysis of avoidance behavior? How can the concept of a safety signal be used to explain free-operant avoidance learning?

Avoidance behavior is either discriminate avoidant or free-operant avoidance learning. Thus, the amount of time, which passes between the aversive stimuli, impacts the analysis process. Perhaps, the analysis of avoidance behavior is also problematic because both reinforcement and punishment produce avoidance behavior, which appears to weaken learning for extinction of the avoidance response. The analysis process may act as either. Whereas, reinforcement is a consequence that causes a behavior to occur with greater frequency; punishment is a consequence that causes example below). Extinction is the lack of any consequence following a response. When a response is inconsequential, ...

Solution Summary

Explains the peak shift effect. This solution also explores the fundamental problem in the analysis of avoidance behavior and how the concept of "a safety signal" be used to explain free-operant avoidance learning. When a parent is shopping, it also explains why using a threat "we'll go home if you keep that behavior up" to a child an ineffective punishment (in most cases). Research validated.

$2.19