Rapid acquisition of preference in concurrent schedules: Effects of reinforcement amount

David R. Maguire, Christine E. Hughes, Raymond C. Pitts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Four pigeons were trained on concurrent variable-interval 30-s schedules. Relative reinforcer amounts arranged across the two alternatives were varied across sessions according to a pseudorandom binary sequence [cf., Hunter, I., Davison, M., 1985. Determination of a behavioral transfer function: white-noise analysis of session-to-session response-ratio dynamics on concurrent VI schedules. J. Exp. Anal. Behav. 43, 43-59]; the ratios (left/right) were either 1/7 or 7/1. Reinforcer amount was manipulated by varying the number of 1.2 s hopper presentations. Sessions ended after 30 reinforcers (15 for each alternative). After approximately 30 sessions, response ratios for all pigeons began to track the changes in amount ratio (i.e., subjects' responding showed a moderate increase in sensitivity of responding to reinforcer amount). Characteristics of responding were similar to procedures in which reinforcer rate and immediacy have been manipulated, although sensitivity estimates for amount were lower than those previously obtained with rate and immediacy. This procedure may serve as a useful method for studying the effects of certain environmental manipulations (e.g., drug administration) on sensitivity to reinforcer amount.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-219
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioural Processes
Issue number2 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Choice
  • Generalized matching law
  • Pigeon
  • Preference
  • Reinforcer amount
  • Sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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