Yoked variable-ratio and variable-interval responding in pigeons

J Exp Anal Behav. 1977 Sep;28(2):155-61. doi: 10.1901/jeab.1977.28-155.

Abstract

Pigeons' key pecks were maintained by variable-ratio or variable-interval schedules of food reinforcement. For pairs of pigeons in one group, variable-ratio reinforcement was arranged for one pigeon's pecks; for the second pigeon, reinforcement was arranged according to a variable-interval schedule yoked to the interreinforcement times produced by the first pigeon. For pairs of pigeons in another group, variable-interval reinforcement was arranged for one pigeon's pecks; for the second pigeon, reinforcement was arranged according to a variable-ratio schedule yoked to the interreinforcement responses produced by the first pigeon. For each pair, the yoking procedure was maintained for four or five consecutive sessions of 50 reinforcements each. In more than three-quarters of the pairs, variable-ratio response rates were higher than variable-interval rates within two sessions; in all cases, the rate difference developed within four sessions.