Response strength in multiple schedules

Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (Impact Factor: 1.87). 06/1974; 21(3):389-408.
Source: PubMed


In several different experiments, pigeons were trained with one schedule or condition of food reinforcement for pecking in the presence of one key color, and a different schedule or condition in the presence of a second key color. After responding in both of these multiple schedule components stabilized, response-independent food was presented during dark-key periods between components, and the rates of pecking in both schedule components decreased. The decrease in responding relative to baseline depended on the frequency, magnitude, delay, or response-rate contingencies of reinforcement prevailing in that component. When reinforcement was terminated, decreases in responding relative to baseline rates were ordered in the same way as with response-independent food. The relations between component response rates were power functions. Internal consistencies in the data, in conjunction with parallel findings in the literature, suggest that the concept of response strength summarizes the effects of diverse procedures, where response strength is identified with relative resistance to change. The exponent of the power function relating response rates may provide the basis for scaling response strength.

Full-text preview

Available from:
  • Source
    • "Generally, consistent with BMT predictions, rates of task completion were more resistant to the disruptor under conditions involving the denser reinforcement schedule, regardless of whether the experimenters increased reinforcer rate by response-dependent or response-independent delivery. Nevin (1974) originally showed that manipulations other than reinforcer rate that also influence reinforcer density (e.g. reinforcer delay, magnitude) could operate similarly on resistance to change. "

    Autism Service Delivery: Bridging the Gap Between Science and Practice, Edited by Florence D. DiGennaro Reed, Derek D. Reed, 01/2015: chapter Implications of Behavioral Momentum Theory for Intervention in Autism Spectrum Disorder: pages 353-374; Springer., ISBN: 978-1-4939-2655-8
  • Source
    • "The present results showed greater persistence of behavior in the rich component relative to the lean during extinction across Experiments 1 and 2. These effects were obtained despite higher response rates in the rich component during baseline. These experiments replicate previous research (e.g., Nevin, 1974), demonstrating that stimuli associated with more reinforcement (i.e., an enhanced stimulus–reinforcer relation) tend to result in behavior that is more persistent upon disruption. These data suggest that maladaptive behavior (e.g., overeating) may be more persistent in the face of disruption in settings that have previously provided high rates of reinforcers. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Renewal is a relapse phenomenon that occurs when the contextual stimuli present during extinction change, and consequently, an extinguished response increases in rate. Two experiments assessed extinction and renewal of key-pecking in pigeons in a two-component multiple schedule wherein baseline reinforcer rates were delivered at relatively rich or lean rates. In Experiment 1, an ABA design was used in which baseline stimuli were steady key lights (Context A). Food was then removed during extinction, and simultaneously, the context was changed by flashing the key lights (Context B). Following extinction, steady key lights were reintroduced, but food remained unavailable. Key-pecking was more resistant to extinction and recovered to a greater degree in the rich relative to the lean component. In Experiment 2, we introduced novel stimuli following extinction (ABC renewal) rather than reintroducing baseline stimuli. Similar to Experiment 1, in Experiment 2 resistance to change and renewal remained greater in the component associated with higher reinforcer rates during baseline. These findings provide additional support for the context-specificity of operant extinction, and support the prediction of behavioral momentum theory that stimuli associated with higher rates of reinforcement engender greater persistence and relapse than those associated with lower rates of reinforcement.
    Behavioural Processes 09/2014; 108:87-93. DOI:10.1016/j.beproc.2014.09.009 · 1.57 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "A considerable amount of research has proven consistent with behavioral momentum theory, which offers a useful conceptualization for understanding reinforcement history and current behavior , including persistence of drug use (Quick & Shahan, 2009), relative relapse of responding across rich and lean contexts (Podlesnik & Shahan, 2009), and resistance to disruption of discriminations by individuals with severe mental retardation (Dube & McIlvane, 2001). Greater resistance to disruption of behavior following higher rates of reinforcement has also been demonstrated across a number of species including rats, pigeons, and humans (Dube & McIlvane, 2001; Podlesnik & Shahan, 2009; Quick & Shahan, 2009), and occurs regardless of relative baseline response rates in the rich and lean components (e.g., Nevin, Tota, Torquato, & Shull, 1990; Podlesnik & Shahan, 2009), the qualitative nature of the reinforcer (e.g., food or milk; Grimes & Shull, 2001; drug or nondrug; Shahan & Burke, 2004), or the way in which reinforcers are delivered (e.g., rate or magnitude; Nevin, 1974). Behavioral momentum has typically been used to describe and understand the rate and resistance to change of free operant behavior. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The present experiment investigated the effects of reinforcer magnitude on resistance to disruption of remembering and response rates. Pigeons were exposed to a variable-interval (VI), delayed-matching-to-sample (DMTS) procedure with two components (rich and lean, distinguished by differing discriminative stimuli and hopper presentation duration). Completion of a VI 20 s schedule resulted in DMTS trials. In a DMTS trial, a choice of one of two comparison stimuli resulted in food if the choice matched the color of the previously presented sample stimulus. Separable aspects of the forgetting functions (initial discrimination and rate of forgetting) were examined by determining accuracy across a range of delays. Response rates and accuracy were higher in the rich relative to the lean component during baseline, and were more persistent during disruptors (extinction and prefeeding). During DMTS trials, extinction decreased initial discrimination more in the lean than the rich component, but had no systematic effect on rate of forgetting. During prefeeding, the rate of forgetting increased more in the lean than the rich component, but initial discrimination was not systematically affected. These results show persistence of response rates and remembering are positively related to reinforcer magnitude. The type of disruptor also influences the way in which remembering is disrupted.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 05/2014; DOI:10.1002/jeab.86 · 1.87 Impact Factor
Show more