Stock optimizing: maximizing reinforcers per session on a variable-interval schedule.

A. Silberberg, R. Bauman, S. Hursh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In Experiment 1, 2 monkeys earned their daily food ration by pressing a key that delivered food according to a variable-interval 3-min schedule. In Phases 1 and 4, sessions ended after 3 hr. In Phases 2 and 3, sessions ended after a fixed number of responses that reduced food intake and body weights from levels during Phases 1 and 4. Monkeys responded at higher rates and emitted more responses per food delivery when the food earned in a session was reduced. In Experiment 2, monkeys earned their daily food ration by depositing tokens into the response panel. Deposits delivered food according to a variable-interval 3-min schedule. When the token supply was unlimited (Phases 1, 3, and 5), sessions ended after 3 hr. In Phases 2 and 4, sessions ended after 150 tokens were deposited, resulting in a decrease in food intake and body weight. Both monkeys responded at lower rates and emitted fewer responses per food delivery when the food earned in a session was reduced. Experiment 1's results are consistent with a strength account, according to which the phases that reduced body weights increased food's value and therefore increased subjects' response rates. The results of Experiment 2 are consistent with an optimizing strategy, because lowering response rates when food is restricted defends body weight on variable-interval schedules. These contrasting results may be attributed to the discriminability of the contingency between response number and the end of a session being greater in Experiment 2 than in Experiment 1. In consequence, subjects lowered their response rates in order to increase the number of reinforcers per session (stock optimizing).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-399
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Volume59
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1993
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Psychology(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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