Right now my gut feeling is pointing my master’s thesis toward something within the realm of conditioned reinforcement… This article seems like a good starting point for further reading.
Kelleher, R. K. & Gollub, L. R. (1962) A review of positive conditioned reinforcement. JEAB 5: 543-597 doi: 10.1901/jeab.1962.5-s543
Four interesting questions from the article:
(1) Is the conditioned reinforcing effectiveness
of S, a function of the frequency of
reinforcement (reinforcements per min) or
the probability of reinforcement (the reciprocal
of responses per reinforcement) in Sl?
(2) Is the conditioned reinforcing effectiveness
of S, a function of the pattern of responding
which occurs in the presence of
(3) Is the conditioned reinforcing effectiveness of SI a function of the type of schedule
of reinforcement occurring in S,? Although
this question is related to the second one,
there is an important distinction. A DRL
schedule and a VI schedule in Sl, for example,
might generate similar rates and
patterns of response, and frequencies of reinforcement,
but the conditioned reinforcing
effectiveness of SI might depend on the
type of schedule used.
(4) Is establishing S1, as a discriminative
stimulus a necessary and sufficient condition
for making S1 a conditioned reinforcer?
—too bad I don’t have time to submerge myself into reading right now…