Repeated acquisition of response sequences: stimulus control and drugs

J Exp Anal Behav. 1975 May;23(3):429-36. doi: 10.1901/jeab.1975.23-429.


Pigeons obtained food by making four responses on three keys in a specified sequence, e.g., left, right, center, right. Under the "tandem-learning" condition, all three keys were the same color throughout the response sequence, and the sequence was changed from session to session. After total errors per session (overall accuracy) and within-session error reduction (learning) had stabilized, the effects of varying doses phenobarbital and chlordiazepoxide were assessed. For comparison, the drug tests were also conducted under a "tandem-performance" condition, in which the response sequence was the same from session to session, and under corresponding "chain-learning" and "chain-performance" conditions, where different colored keylights were associated with the response sequence. Under all four baseline conditions, the largest dose of each drug impaired overall accuracy. Under the two learning conditions, the error rate decreased across trials within each session, but the degree of negative acceleration was less in the drug sessions than in the control sessions. In contrast, under the two performance conditions, the error rate was relatively constant across trials, but was higher in the drug sessions than in the control sessions. Of the four baselines, the chain-learning condition was the most sensitive to the drug effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chlordiazepoxide / administration & dosage
  • Chlordiazepoxide / pharmacology*
  • Color Perception
  • Columbidae
  • Conditioning, Operant / drug effects*
  • Discrimination, Psychological
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Learning / drug effects
  • Phenobarbital / administration & dosage
  • Phenobarbital / pharmacology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reinforcement Schedule


  • Chlordiazepoxide
  • Phenobarbital