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Magnitude and frequency of reinforcement and frequencies of interresponse times1

  • Charles P. Shimp
Publication Date
Sep 01, 1968


The relative magnitude and relative frequency of reinforcement for two concurrent interresponse times (1.5 to 2.5 sec and 3.5 to 4.5 sec) were simultaneously varied in an experiment in which pigeons obtained grain by pecking on a single key. Visual discriminative stimuli accompanied the two time intervals in which reinforcements were arranged by a one-minute variable-interval schedule. The resulting interresponse times of each of three pigeons fell into two groups; “short” (1.0 to 2.5 sec) and “long” (3.0 to 4.5 sec). Steady-state relative frequencies of these interresponse times were orderly functions of both reinforcement variables. The combined effects of both independent variables were well summarized by a linear function of one variable, relative access to food. Unlike corresponding two-key concurrent variable-interval schedules, the present schedule did not produce an equality between the relative frequency of an operant and either the relative magnitude or the relative frequency of reinforcement of that operant. A tentative account is provided for this difference between one-key and two-key functions.

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