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ERIC Number: EJ862906
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jan
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-5002
Effect of Reinforcer Magnitude on Performance Maintained by Progressive-Ratio Schedules
Rickard, J. F.; Body, S.; Zhang, Z.; Bradshaw, C. M.; Szabadi, E.
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, v91 n1 p75-87 Jan 2009
This experiment examined the relationship between reinforcer magnitude and quantitative measures of performance on progressive-ratio schedules. Fifteen rats were trained under a progressive-ratio schedule in seven phases of the experiment in which the volume of a 0.6-M sucrose solution reinforcer was varied within the range 6-300 microliters. Overall response rates in successive ratios conformed to a bitonic equation derived from Killeen's (1994) Mathematical Principles of Reinforcement. The "specific activation" parameter, "a," which is presumed to reflect the incentive value of the reinforcer, was a monotonically increasing function of reinforcer volume; the "response time" parameter,delta, which defines the minimum response time, increased as a function of reinforcer volume; the "currency" parameter, beta, which is presumed to reflect the coupling of responses to the reinforcer, declined as a function of volume. Running response rate (response rate calculated after exclusion of the postreinforcement pause) decayed monotonically as a function of ratio size; the index of curvature of this function increased as a function of reinforcer volume. Postreinforcement pause increased as a function of ratio size. Estimates of "a" derived from overall response rates and postreinforcement pauses showed a modest positive correlation across conditions and between animals. Implications of the results for the quantification of reinforcer value and for the use of progressive-ratio schedules in behavioral neuroscience are discussed. (Contains 1 table and 7 figures.)
Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. Available from: Indiana University Department of Psychology. Bloomington, IN 47405-1301. Tel: 812-334-0395; FAX: 812-855-4691; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom