The Matching Law and Schedule: Induced Drinking
Thompson, Curtis R.
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The problem. The present study was conducted to replicate the findings of a previous study and to determine if the matching law would apply to different categories of schedule-induced drinking. Procedure. Rats were taught to press a lever for food. Food was made available by a concurrent variable-interval variable-interval reinforcement schedule. One schedule alternative provided one pellet of food every 90 seconds on the average. The other alternative was varied over a range from 30 to 180 seconds. A drinking tube was freely available in the chamber. Time allocated to lever pressing and total licking was obtained for each animal. In addition, time allocated to licking was divided into three categories; post-changeover, post-food lever, and post-pellet licking. Findings. Lever pressing ratios undermatched reinforcement ratios. Licking ratios also undermatched reinforcement ratios. Slopes for post-food lever and post-pellet licking were very similiar while postchangeover licking failed to surface to any measureable degree. Conclusions. Undermatching was obtained for terminal and interim activities. This is inconsistent with the findings of the previous study. The present results indicate that no advantage is gained by dividing the licking behavior into the categories as they were defined. Recommendations. It was recommended that future studies examine the indirect influence of schedule-induced behaviors on lever pressing in concurrent VI schedules. More research should also be conducted to determine if different classes of licking behavior can be identified in concurrent schedules.
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