Concurrent schedule assessment of food preference in cows

J Exp Anal Behav. 1979 Sep;32(2):245-54. doi: 10.1901/jeab.1979.32-245.


Six dairy cows (Bos taurus) were trained on several pairs of concurrent variable-interval schedules with different types of food available on each alternative. The required response was a plate press made by the animal's muzzle. Performance generally replicated that found with other species. The generalized matching law accounted for the preference data, showing that food preference could be quantitatively analyzed as a special case of response bias. The preference functions showed that the response- and time-allocation ratios were not as extreme as obtained reinforcement rate ratios (undermatching).