On the Functions of the Changeover Delay

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior






Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior

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The function of changeover delays in producing matching was examined with pigeons responding on concurrent variable-interval variable-interval schedules. In Experiment 1, no changeover delay was compared to two different types of changeover delay. One type, designated generically as response- response but in the present example as peck-peck, was timed from the first response on the switched-to key; the other, designated generically as pause-response but in the present example as pause-peck, was timed from the last response on the switched-from key. High changeover rates occurred with no changeover delay. Peck-peck and pause-peck changeover delays produced low and intermediate changeover rates, respectively. In Experiment 2, pause-peck and peck-peck changeover delays were compared across a range of relative reinforcement rates. Similar matching relations developed despite differences in the changeover rates and local response patterns as a function of the type of changeover delay. In Experiment 3, both types of changeover delay yielded similar changeover rates when their obtained durations were equal via yoking. The results suggest that changeover delays function to separate responses on one key from reinforcers on the other or to delay reinforcement for changing over. In addition, the distribution of responding during and after the changeover delay may vary considerably without affecting matching.