This study focused on variables that may account for response-rate differences under variable-ratio (VR) and variable-interval (VI) schedules of reinforcement. Four rats were exposed to VR, VI, tandem VI differential- reinforcement-of-high-rate, regulated-probability-interval, and negative-feedback schedules of reinforcement that provided the same rate of reinforcement. Response rates were higher under the VR schedule than the VI schedule, and the rates on all other schedules approximated those under the VR schedule. The median reinforced interresponse time (IRT) under the VI schedule was longer than for the other schedules. Thus, differences in reinforced IRTs correlated with differences in response rate, an outcome suggestive of the molecular control of response rate. This conclusion was complemented by the additional finding that the differences in molar reinforcement-feedback functions had little discernible impact on responding.
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