Title

Concurrent variable-ratio schedules: Implications for the generalized matching law

Disciplines

Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

Rats' responses were reinforced on concurrent variable-ratio variable-ratio schedules in which responses on one lever incremented the ratio counter and responses on a second lever changed the schedule and correlated stimulus. The relative frequency of reinforcement was varied from .10 to .99. In one set of conditions, responding on the main lever incremented both ratio counters, but reinforcement required a response in the presence of the stimulus correlated with the ratio that had been completed. In a second set of conditions, responses on the main lever incremented only the ratio correlated with the stimulus that was currently present. When main-lever responses incremented both ratio counters, subjects distributed responding and time in a manner consistent with the generalized matching law. When responses on the main lever incremented only the schedule currently in effect, the rats responded almost exclusively on the schedule producing the higher frequency of reinforcement. These results extend the applicability of the generalized matching law to dependent ratio schedules.