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, 11 (4), 405-14

Fixed and Variable Schedules of Response-Independent Reinforcement

Fixed and Variable Schedules of Response-Independent Reinforcement

M D Zeiler. J Exp Anal Behav.

Abstract

After response-dependent reinforcement established key-pecking as the predominant response, pigeons received schedules in which reinforcements occurred without reference to responding. These response-independent schedules involved either a reinforcement every 5 min, or reinforcements at irregular intervals that averaged 5 min. The response-independent schedules generated characteristic patterns of responding. The fixed schedule produced positively accelerated responding between reinforcements, and the variable schedule produced either steady rates, erratic, or negatively accelerated patterns. The patterns developed independent of the distribution of responses existing when the schedule was first imposed. The rate of responding varied for the three birds, but, for all, response-independent schedules decreased the rates below the level maintained by response-dependent reinforcement. Although the rate of responding was affected primarily by the events contiguous with reinforcement, the pattern of responding appeared to be determined mainly by the presentation of reinforcements in relation to time.

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