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Effects of methadone on alternative fixed-ratio fixed-interval performance: latent influences on schedule-controlled responding.

Authors
  • M Egli
  • T Thompson
Publication Date
Sep 01, 1989
Source
PMC
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Computer Science
  • Ecology
  • Geography
License
Unknown

Abstract

Effects of methadone on pigeons' key pecking were examined under four conditions selected to analyze the control of behavior under alternative fixed-ratio fixed-interval schedules. In Condition 1, pigeons pecked under one of three different alternative schedules (alternative fixed-ratio 50 fixed-interval 90 s, alternative fixed-ratio 75 fixed-interval 90 s and alternative fixed-ratio 200 fixed-interval 90 s) each week. In Condition 2, fixed-ratio 50 or fixed-ratio 75 schedules were in effect during baseline sessions, and alternative fixed-ratio 50 fixed-interval 90-s or alternative fixed-ratio 75 fixed-interval 90-s schedules were in effect during sessions in which methadone was administered. In Condition 3, effects of methadone on key pecking maintained under fixed-ratio 50 and fixed-ratio 75 schedules were examined, whereas in Condition 4 the effects of methadone on key pecking under a fixed-interval 90-s schedule as well as fixed-ratio 50 and fixed-ratio 75 schedules were investigated. Control by the fixed-interval contingency was assessed by computing the proportion of total session reinforcers delivered under the fixed-interval schedule. Methadone administration (0.5-4.0 mg/kg) shifted the predominant source of schedule control under the alternative schedule from the fixed-ratio schedule to the fixed-interval contingency. This shift was dependent on methadone dose and fixed-ratio size. Control by the fixed-interval contingency was greatest following extensive exposure to the interval component embedded within the alternative schedule (Condition 1), but was apparent to a lesser degree with even very limited exposure to the alternative fixed-ratio fixed-interval schedule (Condition 2). Interreinforcement intervals comparable to those under fixed-interval schedule were not observed under the fixed-ratio schedules presented alone (Condition 3). Repeated exposure to the fixed-interval contingency outside the context of the alternative fixed-ratio fixed-interval schedule did not engender performance changes under a fixed-ratio schedule which would mimic those of increased fixed-interval contingency control (Condition 4). These data suggest that drug administration can be used to unmask the influence of contingencies that are latent under baseline conditions and reveal influences of both past and present environmental variables.

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