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Schedule-induced electrodermal responding in children


  • This research was supported, in part, by grant RO1 MH 61731 funded by NIMH and ACYF, and, in part, by grant R01 HD-46789 funded by NICHD, John F. Knutson, principal investigator. The authors acknowledge Lloyd Frei and Troy Frei for their efforts in hardware and software development for this research.

Address reprint requests to: Don C. Fowles, Department of Psychology, University of Iowa, 11 Seashore Hall E., Iowa City, IA 52242, USA. E-mail:


The current studies were designed to determine whether different intermittent schedules of reinforcement would have a differential effect on the skin conductance responses (SCRs) of children in the 8–12-year-old age range. Results of two experiments indicated that the amplitude of children's SCRs immediately following the occurrence of reinforcement were a function of the schedule of reinforcement, with larger SCRs associated with longer inter-reinforcement intervals. The findings are consistent with the research literature suggesting that long inter-reinforcement intervals can be evocative of aversively motivated emotions, as well as with research on the effects of interstimulus intervals on SCRs. Possible implications for these findings are discussed.