Effects of reinforcement magnitude and ratio values on behaviour maintained by a cyclic ratio schedule of reinforcement

Julian Leslie, C Boyle, David Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In Experiments 1 and 2, lever pressing by rats was reinforced on a cyclic ratio schedule of food reinforcement, comprising a repeated sequence of fixed-ratio component schedules. Reinforcement magnitude was varied, on occasional sessions in Experiment 1 and across blocks of sessions in Experiment 2, from one to two or three 45-mg food pellets. In the one-pellet condition, post-reinforcement pauses increased with component schedule value. At higher magnitudes, post-reinforcement pauses increased, and overall response rates declined. Response rate on component schedules was a decreasing linear function of the obtained rate of reinforcement in all conditions. Plotted against component schedule value, response rate increased exponentially to an asymptote that decreased when reinforcement magnitude increased. These findings are consistent with regulatory accounts of food-reinforced behaviour. In Experiment 3, rats were trained under a cyclic ratio schedule comprising fixed-ratio components including higher values, and some inverted U-shaped response functions were obtained. Those rats that did not show this relationship were trained on cyclic ratios with even higher values, and all showed inverted U-shaped response functions. This suggests that behaviour on cyclic ratio schedules can reflect activating of reinforcement as well as the satiating effects seen in Experiments 1 and 2.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-308
JournalThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section B: Comparative and Physiological Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Nov 2000


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