Satiation is a term that is often used in everyday life. However, it is also a behavioral principle with psychological foundations. The main goal of this paper is to develop a comprehensive understanding of satiation as a behavioral principle. This will be done through a thorough analysis of two previous investigations utilizing the concept of satiation. The investigations will include two types: one applied and one basic or experimental.
The applied investigation that will be utilized and analyzed is a paper completed by Kahng, Iwata, Thompson, & Hanley (2000) on differentiating satiation versus extinction effects for noncontingent reinforcement schedules. The basic investigation that will be utilized is one conducted by Pierce, Epling, & Boer (1986) on satiation and deprivation as related to the interaction between food and wheel running. The mechanism by which satiation was able to act in the two investigations will be identified. The differences and similarities in the role satiation played in both investigations will also be analyzed.
Introduction Satiation is a concept that can be applied to a number of different actions. The act of being satiated, for example, can be related to different behaviors such as eating, drinking, and pleasure-seeking. Although it is a single word, the term satiation has wide and varied applications. This is also due to the fact that it is a term encompassing numerous other basic underpinnings. In the everyday use of the word, satiation refers to the act of being satiated. It is similar in meaning to being full and satisfied. Satisfaction in terms of having enough to eat, for example, is satiation in action.
In fact, satiation will be conceived by the layman to be an event beyond satisfaction. Satiation is being at the maximum capacity of whatever one is satiated with. There is no more room for more. To the layman, satiation is linked to feelings of contentment and pleasure. Technically, satiation is defined as the point wherein the organism under study stops eating or engaging in the behavior under examination. This halting of action indicates that the activity has been performed long enough for the organism to have achieved the goals set for initiating the activity.
This explains why satiation would be linked to layman definitions such as fullness and satisfaction. The purpose of the present paper is to develop a scientific and more precise understanding of satiation. It is hoped that the mechanism of satiation with regards to deprivation in relation to food and wheel running and also to extinction effects under noncontingent reinforcement schedules will be understood. In general, the paper aims to develop a clearer understanding of satiation as a behavioral principle. A comparison of two ways by which satiation operates will be the means establish this understanding. Research Review
A review of previous research is the main means of the present paper at achieving its goals. Two different investigations will be analyzed – one applied investigation and one basic investigation. Identifying Satiation versus Extinction Effects Kahng, Iwata, Thompson, & Hanley (2000) investigated the possibility of formulating a method for identifying satiation versus extinction effects under noncontingent reinforcement schedules. The main goal of the study was to understand whether the suppression of a response during noncontingent reinforcement schedules in experiments was caused by extinction or by satiation. Participants and Setting
The study involved the participation of 3 individuals with developmental disabilities and who engaged in self injurious behavior and other forms of agression. The participants were two females, ages 43 and 31, and one male, age 25. Communication with the participants was done through gestures such as pointing. All three lived in a state residential facility with developmental disabilities. The study was performed in therapy rooms located at the said residential facility. Response Measurement The independent variables in the study were satiation and extinction which were measured through the experimenter’s assessment and treatment procedures.
These included delivery of instructions, prompting, praise upon compliance, and turning away upon non-compliance. Dense reinforcement schedules of the independent variable would imply satiation as it would include more presentations of the reinforcer during a given time period. Thin reinforcement schedules, on the other hand, would indicate extinction. The dependent variable included the target behavior, which was either self injurious behavior (SIB) or aggression, in the participants. These behaviors included skin picking, hand or arm biting, hitting, scratching, pinching, and kicking.
The data for SIB was noted on computers and were recorded in terms of number of responses per minute. The effects of the experiment were measured via a multiple baseline across subjects design. This involved the comparison of baseline rates of SIB and aggression with rates of SIB and aggression under noncontingent reinforcement schedules utilized in the experiment. Procedures The procedure of the experiment was divided into two phases. Phase 1 included the functional analysis and Phase 2 included the analysis of responses during and after noncontingent reinforcement.
Phase 1 was conducted according to five different assessment conditions: play, tangible, attention, demand, and alone. Of these, tangible, attention, demand, and alone were experimental conditions while play was a control condition. In the tangible condition, the experimenter was present in the room and would deliver food to the participant if SIB or aggression was noted. In the attention condition, the participant had access to leisure materials in the room and the experimenter would ignore the participant except when SIB or aggression was noted to which the experimenter would respond with brief attention and light physical contact.
In the demand setup, the experimenter would give instructions on a fixed-time 30-s schedule which would merit praise upon the participants compliance. If SIB or aggression was noted, the experimenter would cease all interaction and would turn away until the next trial. In the alone setup, the participant was simply left alone in a room with access to leisure materials. The play setup was a control setup that involved access to leisure materials. The experimenter was always present and gave noncontingent attention on a fixed-time 30-s schedule. There were no instructions given to the participant and SIB or aggression was ignored.
For Phase 2, the same reinforcements present in Phase 1 were used. For the baseline experimental sessions lasted 10 minutes each with reinforcers delivered on a continuous schedule.. For noncontingent reinforcement sessions, fixed-time schedules were applied and SIB or aggression was ignored. Schedule thinning and terminal schedules for each participant was utilized. Extinction sessions or post-noncontingent reinforcement sessions lasted 20 minutes after every noncontingent reinforcement session; conditions were similar to that at baseline except that no reinforcers were delivered.
Results The results of Phase 1 of the study showed that all three participants engagement in SIB and aggression were due to social-positive reinforcement. The male participant’s problem behavior occurred most frequently during the tangible setup while the two female participants’ problem behavior occurred most frequently during the attention setup. For Phase 2, it was seen that noncontingent reinforcement sessions automatic declines in the rate of problem behavior of the participants.
The investigation showed that the mechanism, whether satiation or extinction, of noncontingent reinforcements may be different across individuals and that these may also change during the period of the treatment. This was evidenced by the different reactions of the three participants to thick and thin fixed-time schedules where the male exhibited satiation during thin noncontingent reinforcement schedules and one of the female participants exhibited extinction during the dense noncontingent reinforcement schedules. Contributions
One of the main contributions of the study is in the finding that thin noncontingent reinforcement schedules could produce satiation. This was an unexpected finding and was inconsistent with previous investigations that showed thick noncontingent reinforcement schedules to be the ones that produce satiation effects. The understanding that reaction to noncontingent reinforcements may be idiosyncratic across individuals implies that the mechanisms behind reactions to noncontingent reinforecements can be arrived at through observations similar to that conducted for the study.
This will have numerous applications in the medical field. If dense schedules of noncontingent reinforcement schedules can produce satiation effects, as stated by the results of the study, there might no longer be any need for extinction sessions to take place. Also, if extinction plays a greater role than satiation in behavior suppression during noncontingent reinforcement, individuals applying the treatment should be made aware that there is a possibility of an increase in responses to occur temporarily during the transition.
The findings and methodology of the study can also be extended to include other behavior-reduction techniques and not just noncontingent reinforcement. Limitations The study had several limitations. Pinpointing the true mechanism behind behavior suppression was indirect because the schedules used contained an extinction component. The analysis of the findings were also dependent on expected response patterns caused by satiation versus extinction, which could be caused by other factors. Also, the intervals for the extinction sessions were chosen arbitrarily and were not based on empirical data.
Longer and shorter intervals might have led to different results. Also, the differences in the results of all three participants caused a limitation in the conclusions that could be drawn regarding satiation, extinction, behavior suppression, and noncontingent reinforcement. Deprivation and Satiation Pierce, Epling, and Boer (1986) also conducted an investigation to better understand the effects of satiation and deprivation on behavior. The main goal of the study was to assess the reinforcement power of food for wheel running when rats were deprived and also for when rats were satiated.
The entire study was thus divided into two experiments: Expirement 1 which involved deprivation and Experiment 2 which involved satiation. Participants and Setting The subjects for Experiment 1 were 5 female and 4 male Sprague-Dawley rats. Upon the initiation of the experiment, the rats were all 50 days old. For Experiment 2, 4 male Sprague-Dawley rats, all of which were 45 days old were used. The dietary needs of the rats, nutrition and water, were always kept available in the cages where the rats were placed when they weren’t in the experimentation set-up.
The rats cages which were kept under continuous light and temperature conditions. The room in which the cages were located was always at approximately 20 degrees Celsius. Experiment 1 took place in a room with a running wheel (Wahmann Co. ) with a solenoid-operated brake. The equipment used by the experimenters for programming and recording the rats activities on the wheel were placed in a separate room. Expeiment 2 employed 2 running wheels (Wahmann Co. ), one that freely turned and one that was locked. Another modified activity wheel was used. This turned when a motorized metal shaft was rotated.
The experiment took place in an operant-conditioning chamber with a pellet feeder, houselight and response lever. This was placed in an enclosure with a fan that provided masking noise. Control and recording apparatus were again placed in a separate room. Response Measurement The independent variables in the study were deprivation (Experiment 1) and satiation (Experiment 2). Deprivation was measured by the decrease in the rats’ body weight. Satiation, on the other hand, was measured by a decrease in frequency of the rat’s wheel running behavior.
The dependent variable for Experiment 1 was the reinforcement effectiveness of wheel running for the rats. The dependent variable was measured by the highest ratio to be completed and the total number of lever presses. In Experiment 2, the dependent variable was the reinforcement effectiveness of food. The total number of presses the rats made on the food-reinforced lever measured the dependent variable. Procedures For Experiment 1, a progressive-ratio schedule was utilized to determine the potency of wheel turning as a reinforcer when the rats were either deprived or not deprived of food.
A fixed number of lever presses released the solenoid-brake on the running wheel for 60-s. The fixed number of lever presses required for the release of the wheel was increased systematically until the rat stopped pressing the lever after a period of 1 hour had elapsed or until 8 hours had elapsed. For Experiment 2, three procedures were employed: progressive ratio, variable interval, and forced running. Prior to implementing the progressive ratio and the variable interval procedures, rats were placed for 19 hours in a running wheel with access to water.
The experimental setup had wheels that turned while the control setup had wheels that were locked. They were also deprived of food for 20 hours. For the progressive ratio, the rats were then placed in an operant chamber where 45-mg food pellets would be released after a fixed number of level presses had been done. The required number of lever presses increased incrementally after each pellet release until 8 hours had elapsed or until the rat had stopped responding for a 1 hour duration.
For the variable interval, continued lever pressing produced food pellets based ona variable interval 30-s schedule. After 60 food pellets had been dispensed, the session would be stopped. When an interreinforcement schedule went beyond 1 hour, the session was also terminated. For the forced running procedure, a motorized wheel was used to force running. The run was equivalent to 750 wheel turns and was based on the turns generated by the rats from the previous procedures. Throughout the day of forced running, the rat was deprived of food.
This meant that this rat underwent 44 hours of food deprivation as opposed to the 20 hours of deprivation experienced by the other rats for Experiment 2. After the total number of turns for the forced run was completed, the rat was tested on a variable interval 30-s food reinforcement schedule through a procedure similar to the variable interval procedure. Results In Experiment 1, seven of the 9 rats were recorded to spend less time in the experimental setup when they were at 100% of their body weight as opposed to when they were at 75% of their body weight.
Higher ratios of lever pressing were also sustained when the rats were food deprived. The rats responses increased as deprivation became more severe. However, at the most severe deprivation levels, responses decreased. This suggested an inverted-U function between deprivation and reinforcement effectiveness of wheel running. In Experiment 2, fewer lever presses were made during the progressive ratio schedule. The number of food-reinforced lever presses and the accomplished ratios were smaller when the rats had been allowed to run on the wheel as opposed to when they were not.
Responding also occurred less frequently during the variable interval schedule. Rats that been placed in the locked wheels showed equivalent responses to those that had simply been placed in the home cage. This showed that food reinforcement was not affected by mere placement in a wheel. Those that had been placed in the open wheel, however, showed a significant decrease in lever pressing upon introduction of the variable interval 30-s schedule of reinforcement. The rat placed in the forced running procedure was shown to have almost twice the number of lever presses as the other rats.
This may have been due to the fact that it was subject to 44 hours of food deprivation while the other rats were only placed under 20 hours of food deprivation. Lever pressing for the forced running procedure was reduced from 39. 6 responses per minute to 3. 6 responses per minute. This is a significant decrease in local response rate. Contributions The contributions of the investigation is in its finding that food deprivation increases reinforcement effectiveness of wheel running and that satiation decreases the reinforcement effectiveness of food.
A major contribution of the findings is in the fact that forced running more effectively decreases the effectiveness of food reinforcement. The study was the first to attain scientific measurements and numerical values to back up these claims regarding the operation of deprivation and satiation. Further research regarding the effects of deprivation and satiation on reinforcing properties of certain activities and substances will be encouraged by the success of the findings of the Pierce et al. (1986) study.
The limitations of the study include the possibility of warm up effects in the rats. The differences between closed and open wheel setups were also exaggerated with the progress of the sessions because of the long intervals that began to crop up in between responses. Comparison between sessions and procedures was then made more difficult. Also the rats used for the experiment were sedentary and this might have caused their responses to be exaggerated. In a population that had free access to wheel running, the same treatment might not have the same effects.
It is clear that satiation played an important role in both the basic investigation as well as the applied investigation. In both investigations, satiation was studied in contrast to another behavioral principle; extinction for the applied investigation and deprivation for the basic investigation. One distinct difference between the two investigations is in the fact that in the applied research, satiation was expected to lead to an increase in the desired behavior or response. In the basic research, however, satiation was expected to lead to a decrease in the desired response.
This difference shows the dynamic nature of satiation in the behavioral processes of an organism. In the basic research, satiation was able to show that two behavioral principles can have effects on one event while successfully altering reinforcement effectiveness of another event. In the case of the experiment deprivation-satiation operations with respect to wheel running altered the reinforcing properties of food. Deprivation-satiation operations also altered the reinforcement effectiveness of wheel running with regard to food. That is that satiation is able to work with another behavioral principle reciprocally.
In the applied research, the mechanism of satiation was similar to that of extinction. It was a question of which principle could more effectively bring about the desired response and behavior. It is clear, then, that satiation or the organism’s tendency to feel full or to have enough of a given activity or substance has multi-faceted qualities. Achievement of satiation can result in a decrease in certain behavior and an increase in others. Also, it may interact with other behavioral principles reciprocally or take the same mechanism of others.