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Preference for mixed versus constant delays of reinforcement: Effect of probability of the short, mixed delay

By David P. Rider

Abstract

Preference for mixed versus constant delays of reinforcement was studied with a concurrent-chain procedure. Lever pressing by rats in concurrently available variable-interval 60-second initial links occasionally produced mutually exclusive terminal-link reinforcement delays. A constant delay of reinforcement (either 15 seconds or 30 seconds) composed one terminal link and mixed delays (.2 second and twice the value of the constant delay) were arranged in the other terminal link. The proportion of .2-second delays in the mixed-delay terminal link took on values of 0, .1, .25, .5, .75, .9, and 1.0 over experimental conditions. Based on relative rates of responding in the initial links, preference for the mixed delays was a negatively accelerated function of the proportion of short, mixed delays. Three of five rats preferred the mixed delays to the constant delays when the proportion of short, mixed delays was .1 or higher, and all five rats preferred the mixed delays when the proportion of short, mixed delays was .25 or higher. Neither Squires and Fantino's (1971) delay-reduction model of choice nor a model based on the harmonic mean reinforcement delay provided a close estimate of choice proportions over the range of short-delay proportions studied. The delay-reduction model underestimated choice for the mixed delays at low and intermediate proportions of short delays, and the harmonic-mean-delay model overestimated choice for the mixed delays at intermediate and high proportions of short delays

Topics: Articles
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:1347919
Provided by: PubMed Central
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