REINFORCEMENT MAGNITUDE AND PAUSING ON PROGRESSIVE‐RATIO SCHEDULES

Alan Baron, Jeffrey Mikorski, Michael Schlund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Rats responded under progressive‐ratio schedules for sweetened milk reinforcers; each session ended when responding ceased for 10 min. Experiment 1 varied the concentration of milk and the duration of postreinforcement timeouts. Postreinforcement pausing increased as a positively accelerated function of the size of the ratio, and the rate of increase was reduced as a function of concentration and by timeouts of 10 s or longer. Experiment 2 varied reinforcement magnitude within sessions (number of dipper operations per reinforcer) in conjunction with stimuli correlated with the upcoming magnitude. In the absence of discriminative stimuli, pausing was longer following a large reinforcer than following a small one. Pauses were reduced by a stimulus signaling a large upcoming reinforcer, particularly at the highest ratios, and the animals tended to quit responding when the past reinforcer was large and the stimulus signaled that the next one would be small. Results of both experiments revealed parallels between responding under progressive‐ratio schedules and other schedules containing ratio contingencies. Relationships between pausing and magnitude suggest that ratio pausing is under the joint control of inhibitory properties of the past reinforcer and excitatory properties of stimuli correlated with the upcoming reinforcer, rather than under the exclusive control of either factor alone. 1992 Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-388
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the experimental analysis of behavior
Volume58
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1992

Keywords

  • inhibitory effects of reinforcement
  • lever press
  • postreinforcement pause
  • progressive‐ratio schedules
  • ratio schedules of reinforcement
  • rats
  • reinforcer magnitude
  • timeout from reinforcement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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