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ERIC Number: EJ937185
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jul
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 68
ISSN: ISSN-0022-5002
The Isolation of Motivational, Motoric, and Schedule Effects on Operant Performance: A Modeling Approach
Brackney, Ryan J.; Cheung, Timothy H. C.; Neisewander, Janet L.; Sanabria, Federico
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, v96 n1 p17-38 Jul 2011
Dissociating motoric and motivational effects of pharmacological manipulations on operant behavior is a substantial challenge. To address this problem, we applied a response-bout analysis to data from rats trained to lever press for sucrose on variable-interval (VI) schedules of reinforcement. Motoric, motivational, and schedule factors (effort requirement, deprivation level, and schedule requirements, respectively) were manipulated. Bout analysis found that interresponse times (IRTs) were described by a mixture of two exponential distributions, one characterizing IRTs within response bouts, another characterizing intervals between bouts. Increasing effort requirement lengthened the shortest IRT (the refractory period between responses). Adding a ratio requirement increased the length and density of response bouts. Both manipulations also decreased the bout-initiation rate. In contrast, food deprivation only increased the bout-initiation rate. Changes in the distribution of IRTs over time showed that responses during extinction were also emitted in bouts, and that the decrease in response rate was primarily due to progressively longer intervals between bouts. Taken together, these results suggest that changes in the refractory period indicate motoric effects, whereas selective alterations in bout initiation rate indicate incentive-motivational effects. These findings support the use of response-bout analyses to identify the influence of pharmacological manipulations on processes underlying operant performance. (Contains 2 footnotes, 9 tables, and 6 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