In Experiment 1, rats were trained on either a random-interval or a variable-interval 60-sec schedule of reinforcement, and reinforcement magnitude was varied across conditions between one and four pellets. Although the two schedules maintained different patterns of behaviour, patterns and rates of responding were not systematically affected by the variation in reinforcement magnitude. In Experiment 2, a regulated probability interval schedule that generated similar rates of reinforcement to those of the schedules of Experiment 1 was used, with the pattern of behaviour generated resembling that typical of a random-interval schedule. Changing reinforcement magnitude again produced few systematic changes in behaviour. In Experiment 3, a variable-ratio schedule was used within a procedure that otherwise resembled that of Experiments 1 and 2. Increasing the reinforcement magnitude now decreased the rates of responding, and examination of the patterns of responding showed that this came about because rates of responding were higher early in the interreinforcer interval in the one-pellet condition. These experiments demonstrate the insensitivity of behaviour under interval schedules to changes in reinforcement magnitude and suggest the operation of mechanisms different from those engaged by ratio schedules and discrete trial learning procedures.
|Journal||The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section B: Comparative and Physiological Psychology|
|Publication status||Published (in print/issue) - Feb 1994|