NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: EJ878721
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 22
ISSN: ISSN-0022-5002
The Identities Hidden in the Matching Laws, and Their Uses
Thorne, David R.
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, v93 n2 p247-260 Mar 2010
Various theoretical equations have been proposed to predict response rate as a function of the rate of reinforcement. If both the rate and probability of reinforcement are considered, a simple identity, defining equation, or "law" holds. This identity places algebraic constraints on the allowable forms of our mathematical models and can help identify the referents for certain empirical or theoretical coefficients. This identity can be applied to both single and compound schedules of reinforcement, absolute and relative measures, and to local, global and overall rates and probabilities. The rate matching equations of Hernstein and Catania appear to have been approximations to, and to have been evolving toward, one form of this algebraic identity. Estimates of the bias and sensitivity terms in the generalized ratio and logarithmic matching models are here held to be averaging artifacts arising from fitting procedures applied to models that violate or conceal the underlying identities. (Contains 2 figures and 3 tables.)
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 - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A