Pigeons' responses in the presence of two concurrently available (initial‐link) stimuli produced one of two different (terminal‐link) stimuli. Entrance into the mutually exclusive terminal links was arranged by different and independent variable‐interval schedules for each key, while responses during the mutually exclusive terminal‐link stimuli produced a single food reinforcement according to identical and independent variable‐interval schedules. The pigeons emitted more initial‐link responses on the key with the shorter average inter‐reinforcement interval in the initial link. This difference in initial‐link response rates varied directly with the difference between the average inter‐reinforcement intervals of the initial‐link schedules and decreased when the initial‐link schedule with the longer average interreinforcement interval was followed by several consecutive food reinforcements on the variable‐interval schedule in the terminal link on that key. These results are incompatible with previous formulations of choice behavior with the concurrent‐chains procedure. A modified formulation with a multiplier for the overall rate of primary reinforcement obtained on each key provides a better description of choice. In addition, the new formulation applies to behavior in simple (concurrent) choice situations, an advantage not achieved by previous formulations.
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 1971
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