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Human performance on conjunctive fixed-interval fixed-ratio schedules

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Abstract

Eighteen young adults performed a lever-pulling task for money. Subjects were initially exposed to a fixed-interval 80-second schedule and subsequently to one of three conjunctive schedules in which the added fixed-ratio requirement was set at either 10, 80, or 120 responses. Three fixed-interval response patterns emerged: high constant rate, intermediate rate, or low rate, with most subjects displaying the last. Conjunctive performance was related to the subjects' prior fixed-interval patterns and the conjunctive ratio requirements. Low-rate subjects tended to optimize reinforcement (maximum reinforcers for minimum responses) on conjunctive schedules. Response rate was directly related to ratio requirements. Subjects' performance closely corresponded to their verbal statements of the contingencies.

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