Reinforcement rate and interresponse time differentiation

J Exp Anal Behav. 1976 Nov;26(3):471-86. doi: 10.1901/jeab.1976.26-471.


Reinforcement rate and differential reinforcement of IRTs were independently manipulated to assess their relative contribution to the control of interresponse times (IRTs). Modified percentile reinforcement schedules (Platt, 1973) allowed control of reinforcement rate while longest or shortest IRTs were selectively reinforced. In the absence of differential IRT reinforcement, mean IRT decreased with increasing reinforcement rate. Compared to this small effect of reinforcement rate, reinforcement of long IRTs produced large changes in mean IRT at constant reinforcement rates. No interaction of reinforcement rate and IRT reinforcement was detected. The demonstration of large IRT changes in the absence of reinforcement-rate changes indicates the precedence of IRT reinforcement over molar reinforcement-rate correlations in the determination of IRTs in these procedures.