Pigeons' choices between alternatives that provided different percentages of reinforcement in mixed schedules were studied using the concurrent‐chains procedure. In Experiment 1, the alternatives were terminal‐link schedules that were equal in delay and magnitude of reinforcement, but that provided different percentages of reinforcement, with one schedule providing reinforcement twice as reliably as the other. All pigeons preferred the more reliable schedule, and their level of preference was not systematically affected by variation in the absolute percentage values, or in the magnitude of reinforcement. In Experiment 2, preference for a schedule providing 100% reinforcement over one providing 33% reinforcement increased systematically with increases in the duration of the terminal links. In contrast, preference decreased systematically with increases in the duration of the initial links. Experiment 3 examined choice with equal percentages of reinforcement but unequal delays to reinforcement. Preference for the shorter delay to reinforcement was not systematically affected by variation in the absolute percentage of reinforcement. The overall pattern of results supported predictions based on an extension of the delay‐reduction hypothesis to choice procedures involving mixed schedules of percentage reinforcement.
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 1987
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