Reinforcement, skin conductance, and performance in a vigilance-reaction time task. Academic Article uri icon


  • Three experiments were conducted using normal adults to assess the effects of contingencies of reinforcement on vigilance-reaction time performance and skin conductance. There was a significant, direct relationship between rate of skin conductance responding and speed of performance. Performance was faster and skin conductance responses were more frequent when response-contingent monetary reinforcement was available than when either feedback alone or no feedback was provided. The data suggest that central facilitating mechanisms are activated by complex interactions among several factors, including the likely consequences of task performance.

publication date

  • April 1981