Concurrent‐chains schedules of reinforcement were arranged for humans and pigeons. Responses of humans were reinforced with tokens exchangeable for money, and key pecks of 4 birds were reinforced with food. Variable‐interval 30‐s and 40‐s schedules operated in the terminal links of the chains. Condition 1 exposed subjects to variable‐interval 90‐s and variable‐interval 30‐s initial links, respectively. Conditions 2 and 3 arranged equal initial‐link schedules of 40 s or 120 s. Experimental conditions tested the descriptive adequacy of five equations: reinforcement density, delay reduction, modified delay reduction, matching and maximization. Results based on choice proportions and switch rates during the initial links showed that pigeons behaved in accord with delay‐reduction models, whereas humans maximized overall rate of reinforcement. As discussed by Logue and associates in self‐control research, different types of reinforcement may affect sensitivity to delay differentially. Pigeons' responses were reinforced with food, a reinforcer that is consumable upon presentation. Humans' responses were reinforced with money, a reinforcer exchanged for consumable reinforcers after it was earned. Reinforcers that are immediately consumed may generate high sensitivity to delay and behavior described as delay reduction. Reinforcers with longer times to consumption may generate low sensitivity to delay and behavior that maximizes overall payoff.
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 1989
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