Interval timing relative to response inhibition in the differential reinforcement of low-rate responding in normally developing young adults

Sci Rep. 2023 Jul 24;13(1):11977. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-39160-z.


With recent proposal suggesting the multifaceted nature of impulsivity, researchers have been intrigued by the question of whether the impulsive behaviour measured in the traditionally psychological paradigms is unitary. One such paradigm, the differential reinforcement of low-rate responding (DRL), has been used to assess response inhibition, but its underlying mechanism has still been debated. In present research, we examined and differentiated the effects of both response inhibition and interval timing on a multisession DRL-10 s (DRL-10 s) in a large sample of normally developing young adults, as well as with three other measures including the stop-signal reaction task (SSRT), time production task-10 s (TPT-10 s), and the Barrett impulsivity scale-11 (BIS-11). The results showed that behavioural changes existed in DRL. As the task sessions progressed, there was an increase in both reinforcement probability and peak time, but a decrease in burst responses. Most importantly, both principal component analysis and generalized multilevel modeling yielded consistent results that as the task progressed, there was an increasing involvement of the TPT in the late sessions of DRL. However, none of the effect of SSRT was found. In sum, the differential degrees of involvement of the timing process, relative to response inhibition, were observed in DRL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Conditioning, Operant* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Reinforcement, Psychology*
  • Young Adult