Lever pressing of three squirrel monkeys with experience under continuous avoidance schedules was maintained by response-produced shock under a 5-minute variable-interval schedule. Responding decreased when half of the scheduled shocks were delivered independently of lever pressing and decreased further when all shocks were independent of lever pressing. Responding was lowest when all shocks were eliminated. When the proportion of response-dependent shocks increased, responding increased. This relation occurred even though the frequency and temporal distribution of shock delivery remained the same. Responding of two monkeys increased in a graded fashion as the frequency of shock was increased by arranging variable-time 5-minute, 2-minute, and 1-minute schedules jointly with the variable-interval 5-minute schedule. Thus, increasing the proportion of response-independent shocks decreased responding when the overall frequency of shocks stayed the same, but increased responding when the overall frequency of shock delivery increased
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