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Resurgence and order effects in humans

Latent behaviours are learned behaviours that have not been recently observed in an individual’s behavioural history. These behaviours can reappear under many different conditions. Resurgence refers to the reappearance of latent behaviour during extinction. Resurgence is one of the behavioural effects which increases behavioural variability during extinction. This increase in behavioural variability contributes to the complex responses produced in problem solving situations. In typical resurgence research there are three phases: a training phase, an alternative reinforcement phase and a resurgence phase. However, in real-life situations, people often have more extensive learning histories and multiple behaviours may reappear when extinction occurs. The aim of this study was to research whether the order that behaviours were acquired in, for either three or four behaviours, would affect their prevalence during extinction. University students were randomly assigned into one of two groups. The first group took part in a four-phase resurgence procedure and learnt three responses sequentially before transitioning to the extinction phase. The second group learnt an additional response before transitioning to the extinction phase. A primacy and recency effect was found in the three response group; the first trained response and the last trained response were the most prevalent trained responses during extinction. This was consistent with previous research. The behaviours of the participants in the second, four-response, group were more idiosyncratic and no order effects were observed. This study contributes to the research of how different aspects of an individual’s behavioural history can affect resurgence.
Type of thesis
Iddles, L.-R. (2020). Resurgence and order effects in humans (Thesis, Master of Applied Psychology (MAppPsy)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13708
The University of Waikato
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