Delay of reinforcement effects under temporally defined schedules of reinforcement



Response maintenance under temporally defined schedules has proven insensitive to change in response-reinforcer temporal separation. This finding could probably be attributed to lack of adequate stability criteria and carry over effects. In the present study performance based stability criteria and a reversible experimental design were used. Three rats were exposed to different 32-s repetitive time cycles of fixed duration (T). Each cycle was divided into two portions td and t delta. A response during td produced reinforcement at the end of T; responses that occurred during t delta had no programmed consequences. td placement was varied (early and late) in order to produce two different response-reinforcer temporal relations; td duration was also varied (4 or 8-s) for the same reason. Three different signal conditions were assessed: 1. Unsignaled td 2. Response produced signal may occur during td 3. Non-contingent signal occurred during td. Results showed response rates were significantly lower in the early placement condition; td duration produced inconsistent effects on response rate. Response rates were significantly higher in unsignaled and response produced signal conditions. Results suggest delay of reinforcement effects may be produced by temporally defined schedules of reinforcement. Results also suggest signal effects be strongly related to schedule contingencies.


delay of reinforcement; lever-pressing; rats; temporally defined schedules of reinforcement

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Editor in Chief:

Dr. Carlos J. Flores-Aguirre

ISSN: 0185-4534

ISSN Electrónico: 2007-0802