Behaviour stereotypy and timing behaviour - PhDData

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Behaviour stereotypy and timing behaviour

The thesis was published by Tierney, Ian R, in September 2022, University of Stirling.


“Just as the problem of action at a distance created conceptual difficulties in philosophical analyses of causation, action delayed over time remains with us to create conceptual difficulties. . . In other modalities, such as vision, the question of whether behavior mediates simple discriminations such as the discrimination of intensity does not arise. It is not felt that such sensory processes must have the same dimensions as behavior. In temporal discriminations, however, the temporal gap is there to be bridged, and the analysis of mediating or timing behavior may be regarded as a kind of search for the temporal receptor”. (Catania, 1970, p.36).
The research reported in this thesis arose from a review of the literature on timing behaviours in organisms. This revealed that while many experimenters have described behaviour, produced by both animals and humans, where responses have been spaced accurately in time, the empirical results are open to equivocal explanations.
One aspect of timing behaviour which has received little experimental attention is the function, if any, of the stereotyped behaviours which often occur collaterally with accurately spaced responding in time. These stereotyped collateral behaviours have sometimes been termed mediating behaviours because several researchers claim that they mediate accurately spaced responding in time (Kramer and Rilling, 1970, p.234 ff.). A detailed functional analysis of these “mediating” behaviours has not appeared in the literature. This is possibly because the initial appearance of such behaviours is outwith the experimenter’s control and, furthermore, these behaviours are normally peculiar to the individual and therefore difficult to measure
The present investigation used a technique which made it likely that a certain behaviour would occur as the stereotyped collateral behaviour, and allowed a degree of quantitative measurement of this behaviour.
It was hoped that investigation of stereotyped collateral behaviours would throw some light on the wider question of how organsisms space responses accurately in time.

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