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ERIC Number: EJ993362
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Jan
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 33
ISSN: ISSN-0022-5002
Resistance to Extinction Following Variable-Interval Reinforcement: Reinforcer Rate and Amount
Shull, Richard L.; Grimes, Julie A.
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, v85 n1 p23-39 Jan 2006
Rats obtained food-pellet reinforcers by nose poking a lighted key. Experiment 1 examined resistance to extinction following single-schedule training with different variable-interval schedules, ranging from a mean interval of 16 min to 0.25 min. That is, for each schedule, the rats received 20 consecutive daily baseline sessions and then a session of extinction (i.e., no reinforcers). Resistance to extinction (decline in response rate relative to baseline) was negatively related to the rate of reinforcers obtained during baseline, a relation analogous to the partial-reinforcement-extinction effect. A positive relation between these variables emerged, however, when the unit of extinction was taken as the mean interreinforcer interval that had been in effect during training (i.e., as an omitted reinforcer during extinction). In a second experiment, rats received blocks of training sessions, all with the same variable-interval schedule but with a reinforcer of four pellets for some blocks and one pellet for others. Resistance to extinction was greater following training with the larger (four pellets) than with the smaller (one pellet) reinforcer. Taken together, these results support the principle that greater reinforcement during training (e.g., higher rate or larger amount) engenders greater resistance to extinction even when the different conditions of reinforcement are varied between blocks of sessions. (Contains 8 figures and 2 tables.)
Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. Available from: Indiana University Department of Psychology. Bloomington, IN 47405. 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