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Schedules of response-independent conditioned reinforcement1

By M. Jackson Marr and Michael D. Zeiler


Rates and patterns of responding of pigeons under response-independent and response-dependent schedules of brief-stimulus presentation were compared by superimposing 3-min brief-stimulus schedules on a 15-min fixed-interval schedule of food presentation. The brief-stimulus schedules were fixed time, fixed interval, variable time, and variable interval. When the brief stimulus was paired with food presentation, its effects depended upon the schedule and ongoing rates. Fixed- and variable-interval brief-stimulus schedules enhanced the low rates normally occurring early in the 15-min interval, whereas fixed- and variable-time schedules suppressed these rates. Although the overall rates later in the interval were not affected to any great extent, the fixed brief-stimulus schedules generated patterns of positively accelerated responding between stimulus presentations. These patterns appeared less frequently under the variable brief-stimulus schedules. Initially, when not paired with food delivery, presentations of the brief stimulus produced relatively little effect on either response rate or patterning. However, once the stimulus had accompanied food presentation, the original performance under the nonpaired condition was not recovered. The effects were more like those occurring when the stimulus was paired with food

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OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:1333216
Provided by: PubMed Central
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