Eight rats responded on concurrent Variable-Ratio 20 Extinction schedules for food reinforcement. The assignment of variable-ratio reinforcement to a left or right lever varied randomly following each reinforcer, and was cued by illumination of a stimulus light above that lever. Postreinforcement preference levels decreased substantially and reliably over time when the lever that just delivered reinforcement was now in extinction; however, if that lever was once again associated with variable ratio, this decrease in same-lever preference tended to be small, and for some subjects, not in evidence. The changes in preference level to the extinction lever were well described by a modified version of Killeen, Hanson, and Osborne's (1978) induction model. Consistent with this model's attribution of preference change to induction, we attribute preference change in this report to a brief period of reinforcer-induced arousal that energizes responding to the lever that delivered the last reinforcer. After a few seconds, this induced responding diminishes, and the operant responding that remains comes under the control of the stimulus light cuing the lever providing variable-ratio reinforcement.
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