A comparison of variable-ratio and variable-interval schedules of reinforcement

J Exp Anal Behav. 1970 May;13(3):369-74. doi: 10.1901/jeab.1970.13-369.


Four pigeons responded under a two-component multiple schedule of reinforcement. Responses were reinforced in one component under a variable-ratio schedule and in the other component under a variable-interval schedule. It was found that when rates of reinforcement were equal in the two components, the rate of response in the variable-ratio component was nearly twice that in the variable-interval component. Furthermore, for three of the four subjects, the function relating response rate to relative rate of reinforcement in the variable-ratio component had a slope 2.5 to 3 times the slope of the corresponding function for the variable-interval component.