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Response rate, reinforcement frequency, and behavioral contrast

, : Response rate, reinforcement frequency, and behavioral contrast. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 22(2): 427-432

Pigeons responded for food on a multiple schedule in which periods of green-key illumination alternated with periods of red-key illumination. When behavior had stabilized with a variable-interval 2-min schedule of reinforcement operating during both stimuli, low rates of responding (interresponse times greater than 2 sec) were differentially reinforced during the green component. Conditions during the red stimulus were unchanged. Response rates during the green component fell without changing the frequency of reinforcement but there were no unequivocal contrast effects during the red stimulus. The frequency of reinforcement during the green component was then reduced by changing to a variable-interval 8-min schedule without reducing the response rates in that component, which were held at a low level by the spacing requirement. Again, the conditions during the red stimulus were unchanged but response rates during that stimulus increased. These results show that reductions in reinforcement frequency, independently of response rate, can produce interactions in multiple schedules.


PMID: 16811806

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