The Effects of Delayed Reinforcement on Variability and Repetition of Response Sequences
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Four experiments examined the effects of delays to reinforcement on key peck sequences of pigeons maintained under multiple schedules of contingencies that produced variable or repetitive behavior. In Experiments 1, 2, and 4, in the repeat component only the sequence right-right-left-left earned food, and in the vary component four-response sequences different from the previous 10 earned food. Experiments 1 and 2 examined the effects of nonresetting and resetting delays to reinforcement, respectively. In Experiment 3, in the repeat component sequences had to be the same as one of the previous three, whereas in the vary component sequences had to be different from each of the previous three for food. Experiment 4 compared postreinforcer delays to prereinforcement delays. With immediate reinforcement sequences occurred at a similar rate in the two components, but were less variable in the repeat component. Delays to reinforcement decreased the rate of sequences similarly in both components, but affected variability differently. Variability increased in the repeat component, but was unaffected in the vary component. These effects occurred regardless of the manner in which the delay to reinforcement was programmed or the contingency used to generate repetitive behavior. Furthermore, the effects were unique to prereinforcement delays.
Odum, A. L., Ward, R. D., Barnes, C. A., & Burke, K. A. (2006). The effects of delays to reinforcement on variability and repetition of response sequences. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 86, 159-179.