Title

Superstitious Responding and Reinforcement Rate Under Concurrent Variable-Interval Extinction Schedules

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Behavioural Processes

Volume

53

Issue

3

Publisher

Elsevier

Publication Date

2001

First Page

163

Last Page

170

DOI

10.1016/S0376-6357(01)00140-1

Abstract

To examine superstitious responding, four pigeons key pecked under multiple concurrent variable-interval 45 s variable-interval 90 s concurrent variable-interval 90 s variable-interval 180 s schedules in the absence of a changeover delay. The two variable-interval 90 s schedules then were replaced by extinction, and key-peck responding during extinction was examined as a function of the prevailing reinforcement rate. During the first several sessions, extinction-key responding was maintained closer to baseline levels in the presence of the higher reinforcement rate, and this effect dissipated or even reversed with continued exposure to extinction. Although extinction-key responding generally decreased to near-zero levels after several sessions, in a few instances, it continued for 30 and 45 sessions. These results demonstrate how concurrent variable-interval extinction schedules can be used to investigate what often has been labeled superstitious responding.

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