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Initial-link duration and acquisition of preference in concurrent chains

Authors
  • Berg, Mark E.1
  • Grace, Randolph C.1
  • 1 University of Canterbury, Department of Psychology, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand , Christchurch (New Zealand)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Learning & Behavior
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2006
Volume
34
Issue
1
Pages
50–60
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3758/BF03192871
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Initial-link response allocation in concurrent chains becomes less extreme as the absolute duration of the initial links increases (Fantino, 1969). The present study asked whether initial-link duration affected how quickly response allocation reached asymptote (i.e., acquisition of preference). Six pigeons were trained on a concurrent-chains procedure in which the terminal links were fixed-interval (FI) 8 sec FI 16 sec or FI 16 sec FI 8 sec and were reversed every 20 sessions. Across conditions, all possible combinations of transitions between variable-interval (VI) 8-sec (short) and VI 24-sec (long) initial-link schedules were studied. Overall, the rate of acquisition was faster when the durations of the initial links preceding the reversal were short rather than long, and when the durations of the initial links following the reversal were long rather than short. By contrast, initial-link duration had no effect on acquisition or asymptotic measures of temporal control of terminal-link responding. These results support the core principle of delay-reduction theory (Fantino, 1969) that the impact of a conditioned reinforcer varies directly with initial-link duration, but also suggest that temporal learning during the terminal links proceeds independently of initial-link duration. nt]mis|These data were presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis, Boston, May 2004.

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