Response strength in multiple schedules.

Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (Impact Factor: 1.07). 06/1974; 21(3):389-408.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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.

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