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Habituation and Dishabituation of Physical Activity

Three experiments with single subject research designs were conducted to see whether habituation occurred as human participants completed physical activity. Experiment 1 had an arrangement where participant’s rates of stationary cycling were recorded throughout 20 minute sessions. Instead of habituation, stationary cycling rates increased over time, likely to be due to a rule that controlled behaviour derived from previous reinforced responding in the same setting as the experimental context. Experiment 2 was arranged similarly to Experiment 1 with an added concurrent task to disrupt the behaviour chain causing the rule-governed behaviour seen in Experiment 1. Despite this concurrent task, rates of stationary cycling again increased due to rule-governed behaviour. Experiment 3 had stationary cycling rates associated with a salient reinforcer that could lose its effectiveness to reinforce over time and thus habituate. Instead, Experiment 3 resulted in stable rates of stationary cycling consistent with task adherence, a rule-governed behaviour. With the failure of habituation to predict the results of this study, they are instead discussed from the more applicable perspective of motivating operations.
Type of thesis
Crawford, D. (2015). Habituation and Dishabituation of Physical Activity (Thesis, Master of Applied Psychology (MAppPsy)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/9517
University of Waikato
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