The effect of signaled reinforcement availability on concurrent performances in humans

J Exp Anal Behav. 1979 Jul;32(1):65-74. doi: 10.1901/jeab.1979.32-65.

Abstract

During Phase I, three female human subjects pressed a button for monetary reinforcement in two-component concurrent variable-interval schedules. Five different reinforcement frequencies were used in component A, whereas the reinforcement frequency in component B was held constant. Absolute rates of responding conformed to equations proposed by Herrnstein to describe concurent performances, and the ratios of the response rates and the times spent in the two components conformed to the matching law. During Phase II, the availability of reinforcement in component A was signaled by the illumination of a lamp. This resulted in suppression of response rates in component A and elevation of response rates in component B, these changes being reflected in a distortion of the matching relationship which took the form of a bias in favor of component B.