Discrimination of variable schedules is controlled by interresponse times proximal to reinforcement

Takayuki Tanno, Alan Silberberg, Takayuki Sakagami

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4 Citations (Scopus)


In Experiment 1, food-deprived rats responded to one of two schedules that were, with equal probability, associated with a sample lever. One schedule was always variable ratio, while the other schedule, depending on the trial within a session, was: (a) a variable-interval schedule; (b) a tandem variable-interval, differential-reinforcement-of-low-rate schedule; or (c) a tandem variable-interval, differential-reinforcement-of-high-rate schedule. Completion of a sample-lever schedule, which took approximately the same time regardless of schedule, presented two comparison levers, one associated with each sample-lever schedule. Pressing the comparison lever associated with the schedule just presented produced food, while pressing the other produced a blackout. Conditional-discrimination accuracy was related to the size of the difference in reinforced interresponse times and those that preceded it (predecessor interresponse times) between the variable-ratio and other comparison schedules. In Experiment 2, control by predecessor interresponse times was accentuated by requiring rats to discriminate between a variable-ratio schedule and a tandem schedule that required emission of a sequence of a long, then a short interresponse time in the tandem's terminal schedule. These discrimination data are compatible with the copyist model from Tanno and Silberberg (2012) in which response rates are determined by the succession of interresponse times between reinforcers weighted so that each interresponse time's role in rate determination diminishes exponentially as a function of its distance from reinforcement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-354
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the experimental analysis of behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Nov
Externally publishedYes


  • Copyist model
  • Lever press
  • Rats
  • Schedule discrimination
  • Variable interval
  • Variable ratio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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