This procedure, introduced by Geller and Seifter, involves a multiple schedule of reinforcement. In one segment of the schedule (signaled by a tone or light), responding is reinforced under a VI schedule. In the second segment (signalled by a different signal), every response is reinforced (FR 1). However these reinforced responses are also punished by the delivery of a brief, inescapable electric shock. Consequently an animal trained under these contingencies of reinforcement, shows
- stable and relatively high rates of responding during the VI unpunished component,
- but low levels of suppressed responding during the punishment component.
Geller & Seifter found that anxiolytic drugs (drugs that reduce anxiety in humans)
- increased the rate of responding in the punishment component,
- but had relatively little effect on unpunished responding.
- thus, we can develop drugs that have this effect in the hope that the drugs will be useful anxiolytics.