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Matching, maximizing, and the behavioral unit: concurrent reinforcement of response sequences.

Authors
  • Fetterman, J G
  • Stubbs, D A
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of the experimental analysis of behavior
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1982
Volume
37
Issue
1
Pages
97–114
Identifiers
PMID: 7057132
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Pigeons pecked two keys in a probability matching situation in which four two-peck sequences were intermittently reinforced: left-left, left-right, right-left and right-right. In Phase 1, relative reinforcement rate was varied with respect to the first response of a sequence: reinforcers were differentially assigned for left-left and left-right sequences as opposed to right-left and right-right sequences. The second response of reinforced sequences occurred equally on the left and right keys across conditions. In Phase II, relative reinforcement rate was varied for sequences that involve an alternation as opposed to those that did not. The relative outputs of the different sequences matched the relative reinforcement rates for the different sequences in both phases. Relative response rates for key pecks did not always match relative reinforcement rates. The intertrial interval separating responses was varied in both phases; increases in the intertrial interval affected the relative frequency of different sequences. The results demonstrate that response sequences acted as functional units influencing choice and thus support a structural account of choice. At the same time, the matching of relative sequence proportion and relative reinforcement rate supports a matching account.

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