Hush Little Baby… Operant Learning Methods Using Maternal Singing to Reinforce the Reduction of Fetal Movement translation missing: zh.hyrax.visibility.files_restricted.text

G. Mayowa Faboyede (Fall 2017)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/5425k9692?locale=zh
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Abstract

The present study explored adaptive behavior in the human fetus. Despite the importance of adaptive behavior in human development, there remains a paucity of evidence on adaptive behavior in the human fetal organism. This study’s overall aim was to develop and explore whether contingencies of reinforcement for motor activity, and attention-holding in the human fetus could be elicited and measured by using maternal singing as a reinforcer. In Experiment 1, the identification of maternal singing as a reinforcer was examined to establish internal validity of operant conditioning experiments. Cumulative record responses from 3 individual participants showed few responses occurring before reinforcement, with an increase in frequency of responses during continuous reinforcement. The increase in Highly Moderated Activity during reinforcement confirmed that a functional relationship exists between maternal singing and fetal movement. Experiment 2 explored how different variable interval schedules of reinforcement affect fetal movement and examined whether fetal operant behaviors are governed by matching law. Herrnstein's equation was fitted to the data obtained for each participant (n=2) using Wilkinson's method. The single-alternative form of matching law accounted for 79% (Highly Moderated Activity) and 84% (Moderated Fetal Activity) of the variance in fetal conditioning of motor inhibition/attention for a 39w GA male. Matching law accounted for 21% (Highly Moderated Activity) and 9% (Moderated Fetal Activity) of variance in fetal conditioning of motor inhibition/attention for a 34w GA female. The magnitude and mean duration of fetal motor activity also differed significantly across various schedules of reinforcement and when compared to baseline conditions. This study suggests that maternal singing could serve as an effective reinforcer in operant conditioning using variable intervals of reinforcement to decrease the magnitude of fetal motor activity, while increasing the duration of moderated fetal movement.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements........................................................................................................6

 

Introduction..................................................................................................................8

 

Significance and Aims.....................................................................................................9

 

Background and Review of Literature..............................................................................15

 

The mechanics of fetal movement in normal fetal development..........................................15

 

Fetal Behaviors Within Sensory Driven Contingencies......................................................17

 

Operant Conditioning in The Developing Organism..........................................................19

 

Cognitive Processes Inferred by Operant Behaviors.........................................................22

 

Methodological Approach..............................................................................................23

 

Participants.................................................................................................................23

 

 

Materials.....................................................................................................................23

 

Design and Procedures.................................................................................................24

 

 

Measurement and Analysis............................................................................................28

 

 

Results.......................................................................................................................29

 

 

Experiment 1- Continuous Reinforcement Learning...........................................................29

 

Experiment 2: Variable Interval Schedules of Reinforcement In 3rd Trimester Fetuses...........33

 

Attention Holding: Duration of Fetal Movement Inhibition..................................................36

 

Discussion...................................................................................................................40

 

Appendix A: Basic Outline of Fetal Behavior.....................................................................48

 

Appendix B: Measurement Criteria for Fetal Activity .........................................................49

 

Appendix C: Participant Demographic Profiles..................................................................53

 

Appendix D: Descriptive Statistics: Elbert Cox..................................................................54

 

Appendix E: Descriptive Statistics: Katharine Johnson.......................................................55

 

References..................................................................................................................56

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