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Choice, rate of reinforcement, and the changeover delay.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of the experimental analysis of behavior
Publication Date
Volume
13
Issue
2
Pages
187–197
Identifiers
PMID: 16811435
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Pigeons distribute their responses on concurrently available variable-interval schedules in the same proportion as reinforcements are distributed on the two schedules only when a changeover delay is used. The present study shows that this equality between proportions of responses and proportions of reinforcements ("matching") is obtained when the value of the changeover delay is varied. When responses are partitioned into the set of rapid response bursts occurring during the delay interval and the set of responses occurring subsequently, the proportion of neither set of responses matches the proportion of reinforcements. Instead, each set deviates from matching but in opposite directions. Matching on the gross level results from the interaction of two patterns evident in the local response rates: (I) the lengthening of the changeover delay response burst is accompanied by a commensurate decrease in the number of changeovers; (2) the changeover delay response burst is longer than the scheduled delay duration. When delay responses are eliminated by introducing a blackout during the delay interval, response matching is eliminated; the pigeon, however, continues to match the proportion of time spent responding on a key to the proportion of reinforcements obtained on that key.

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