Document Detail

Choice between reliable and unreliable reinforcement alternatives revisited: Preference for unreliable reinforcement.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16812746     Owner:  NLM     Status:  PubMed-not-MEDLINE    
Pigeons' choices between a reliable alternative that always provided food after a delay (i.e., 100% reinforcement) and an unreliable one that provided food or blackout equally often after a delay (i.e., 50% reinforcement) was studied using a discrete-trials concurrent-chains procedure modified to prevent choice between alternatives following a blackout outcome. Initial links were fixed-ratio 1 schedules, and terminal links were fixed-time schedules. Stimuli presented during the terminal-link delays were correlated with the food and blackout outcomes. In Experiment 1, terminal-link durations were varied. With short terminal links (i.e., 10 s), 6 of 8 subjects showed strong preference for the 50% side. As terminal-link duration increased to 30 s, preference, regardless of direction, became less extreme. In Experiment 2, the side-key location of the 50% and 100% alternatives was reversed for 3 subjects. Preference for the 50% alternative reoccurred following the key reversal. When a 5-s separation was subsequently interposed between the initial and terminal links for both alternatives, all birds reversed to a preference for the 100% side. In general, the strong preference for the 50% side was qualitatively consistent with the expectation that the procedure enhanced the conditioned-reinforcement effectiveness of the food-associated terminal-link stimulus on the 50% side. Implications of the results for various accounts of choice of the 50% alternative are discussed.
T W Belke; M L Spetch
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of the experimental analysis of behavior     Volume:  62     ISSN:  0022-5002     ISO Abbreviation:  J Exp Anal Behav     Publication Date:  1994 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-06-29     Completed Date:  2010-06-29     Revised Date:  2010-09-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0203727     Medline TA:  J Exp Anal Behav     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  353-66     Citation Subset:  -    
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