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Differential reinforcement is a paradigm in operant conditioning in whichreinforcement is contingent on more than one behavior. For example a rat in a skinner box may be reinforced for pressing a lever in response to one type of signal but not to another.

This is useful in establishing the ability of a subject to discriminate across a wide range of variables. So can pigeons distinguish between red and green? This is how we find out.

Further elaboration of the paradigm involves:

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