We thought it fitting to precede the contributions to this special issue with a reprint of the original report of Carey’s (1951) early experimental analysis of what is now called resurgence. Although there were earlier experiments that can be interpreted as resurgence (see Epstein, 2015, this issue; Keller & Schoenfeld, 1950; and Lattal & St. Peter Pipkin, 2009), Carey’s appears to be the first conducted within an operant tradition using what has become the standard resurgence paradigm: train one response, eliminate that response and train an alternative response, then eliminate the alternative response and observe the effects on the original response. Furthermore, his subsequent doctoral dissertation (Carey, 1953) on this same topic (and with almost the same title) was conducted in the operant laboratories at Columbia University during the heyday of operant conditioning there. Indeed, Keller and Schoenfeld (1950), in their classic textbook on operant conditioning, briefly discuss regression, noting “[i]f present behavior is not capable of getting reinforcement, one reverts to older forms of response which were once effective” (p. 81). When we earlier attempted to retrieve Carey’s original dissertation document from Columbia, it was reported missing by the university library.
Kennon A. Lattal and David P. Wacker,
Editors of the Special Issue