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ERIC Number: EJ991549
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-5002
Contingency Tracking during Unsignaled Delayed Reinforcement
Keely, Josue; Feola, Tyler; Lattal, Kennon A.
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, v88 n2 p229-247 Sep 2007
Three experiments were conducted with rats in which responses on one lever (labeled the functional lever) produced reinforcers after an unsignaled delay period that reset with each response during the delay. Responses on a second, nonfunctional, lever did not initiate delays, but, in the first and third experiments, such responses during the last 10 s of a delay did postpone food delivery another 10 s. In the first experiment, the location of the two levers was reversed several times. Responding generally was higher on the functional lever, though the magnitude of the difference diminished with successive reversals. In the second experiment, once a delay was initiated by a response on the functional lever, in different conditions responses on the nonfunctional lever either had no effect or postponed food delivery by 30 s. The latter contingency typically lowered response rates on the nonfunctional lever. In the first two experiments, both the functional and nonfunctional levers were identical except for their location; in the third experiment, initially, a vertically mounted, pole-push lever defined the functional response and a horizontally mounted lever defined the nonfunctional response. When the roles of the two responses were reversed, vertical-lever response rates were higher. These results taken together suggest that responding generally tracked the response-reinforcer contingency. The results further show how nonfunctional-operanda responses are controlled by a prior history of direct reinforcement of such responses, by the temporal delay between such responses and food delivery, and as simple generalization between the two operanda. (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