Citation
Free-operant avoidance of time-out from response-independent food presentation by pigeons pecking a key

Material Information

Title:
Free-operant avoidance of time-out from response-independent food presentation by pigeons pecking a key
Creator:
Galbicka, Gregory, 1956- ( Dissertant )
Branch, Marc N. ( Thesis advisor )
Malagodi, Edward F. ( Reviewer )
Pennypacker, Henry S. ( Reviewer )
Waldbillig, Robert J. ( Reviewer )
Cornell, John A. ( Reviewer )
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publisher:
University of Florida
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:
1981
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Experimental psychology ( jstor )
Mental stimulation ( jstor )
Pecking order ( jstor )
Pigeons ( jstor )
Propagation delay ( jstor )
Psychology ( jstor )
Rats ( jstor )
Response rates ( jstor )
Signals ( jstor )
Termination shock ( jstor )
Dissertations, Academic -- Psychology -- UF
Operant behavior
Psychology thesis, Ph.D.

Notes

Abstract:
The present experiments examined the behavior of food-deprived pigeons pecking a small translucent disc ("key"). Food was occasion- ally presented independently of responding, except during signaled "time-out" periods, during which food was never presented. Key pecking during "time-in" postponed the next time-out according to a free- operant avoidance paradigm. Successive time-outs followed one an- other at 5-sec intervals (i.e., the time-out--time-out interval=5 sec) unless a response occurred during time-in, in which case the next time-out occurred x sec after the last response, where x was the length of the response--time-out interval. During Experiment I, stimuli correlated with time-in and time- out were projected on the key. Lengthening the response--time-out interval while maintaining a constant time-out--time-out interval progressively decreased response rates during time-in for all subjects. During Experiment II, the importance of the delay contingency in maintaining the key pecking observed was examined by presenting time-outs response-independently at variable intervals matched to ones obtained under a proceeding free-operant avoidance condition. Response rates for all subjects decreased when the delay contingency was suspended in this manner. The independent contributions of responding maintained by time- out-postponement and responding elicited by the time-in and time-out stimuli were examined with a two-key procedure during Experiment III. Responses to a continuously illuminated "delay" key during time-in postponed time-out, signaled by stimuli projected on a separate "signal" key. Response rates on the delay key during time-in for two subjects decreased as the response--time-out interval was lengthened. Responding on the signal key was unsystematically related to the response--time-out interval, and generally occurred at very low rates. The third subject responded on the delay and signal keys at comparable rates, and response rates on the delay key during time- in were unaffected by changes in the response--time-out interval. Thus, free-operant time-out-postponement may control key pecking in the relative absence of elicited pecking, but elicited responding may contribute to the behavior observed.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 1981.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographic references (leaves 133-145).
General Note:
Vita.

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
07968343 ( oclc )
ABS2186 ( ltuf )
0028139243 ( ALEPH )

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Full Text
F
RESPONSE-1 NOE
REL-OPERANT avoidance of
DFNDENT FOOD PRESENTATION
TIME-OUT FROM
BY PIGEONS PECKING A
BY
GREGORY GALBICKA
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN
PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS
FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1981


io all nineteenth-century scientists, living or dead
magnetism notwithstanding--


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The verbal behavior which follows is, in a very real sense,
not my own. Rather, it is the culmination of interactions
with a verbal community which, particularly during the past
seven years, has progressively shaped that verbal behavior.
I would hope that this influence is clear enough in the behav
ior itself, such that others will call it "their own." Should
the contingencies responsible for this behavior have been less
than exact, however, I would like to formalize some of them,
and in that way express my gratitude.
First, the the members of the supervisory committee:
To Marc N. Branch, for his guidance and support
during the past four years, which, while substantial,
was never totally complete, lest my behavior become
rule-governed and echoic.
To Edward F. Malagodi, for providing an integra
tive intraverbal repertoire found in no other single
person, as well as sound advice.
To Henry S. Pennypacker, most responsible for
the development of a minimal behavioral repertoire
from which extensions were later formed, for not pro
viding autoclitics until they were manded, thus strength
ening my own.
iii


iv
To Robert J. Waldbillig, for providing additional
"inside information." May we indeed by more closly al
igned in the future.
And to John A. Cornell, whose central tendancy was
always to understand this vast amount of verbiage.
Next, to my parents, Joseph A. and Dorothy M. Galbicka, and
other members of my family, as well as to Janet Siwy, for supporting
and nuturing my conviction in a natural science of behavior more
strongly than they may imagine.
To the associated menbers of the Main Branch Lab, for tech
nical as well as intellectual support.
To the Mew Wave Behaviorists, for providing a verbal commun
ity which did not severely punish novel verbal statements at odds
with the prevailing contingencies, while heavily reinforcing oc
casional ones that were not.
To the other faculty and students (graduate and undergraduate)
associated with the Experimental Analysis of Behavior at Fort Skinner,
for accepting and, I am afraid, occasionally reinforcing certain ,
behavioral eccentricities.
To Janie Partin, who independently acquired an intraverbal
repertoire comparable to my own, for occasionally telling me what
I should be saying.
And finally, to John T. McArthur and Ray A. Preston, without
whom I would never have "ventured so far from home," intellectually
or physically.
To all these the Tall Kid says "Thanks," hoping that my behavior in
the future will be such that they will accept the recognition they deserve.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iii
LIST OF TABLES vi
LIST OF FIGURES vii
ABSTRACT vi i i
GENERAL OVERVIEW 1
CHAPTER
INEGATIVE RINFORCEMENT. I: PROCEDURES ... 4
Deletion Procedures 4
Delay Procedures 11
Stimulus Modification Procedures ... 18
II NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT. II: CONTROLLING VARIABLES 23
Contiguous \/s. Consequent Control ... 23
Two-Factor Theories 25
One-Factor Theories 33
III INTRODUCTION TO THE PRESENT EXPERIMENTS ... 41
IV EXPERIMENT I 50
Method 51
Results 56
Discussion 67
V EXPERIMENT II 77
Method 80
Results 81
Discussion 88
VI EXPERIMENT III 91
Method 93
Results 96
Discussion 107
VII GENERAL DISCUSSION 122
APPENDIX DAILY SESSION DATA FROM EXPERIMENT II . . 131
REFERENCES 133
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 146
v


LIST OF TABLES
TABLE PAGE
1 List of conditions end summary measures for
each subject during Experiment I
2 List of conditions and summary measures for
each subject during Experiment II 82
3 List of conditions and summary measures for
each subject during Experiment III ..... 95
VT
CJT


LIST OF FIGURES
FIGURE PAGE
1 Response rates during time-in for each subject
as a function or the RT interval 59
2 Numbers of time-outs delivered to each subject
as a function of the RT interval 61
3 Representative cumulative records for each subject
under the different RT intervals 64
4 Relative frequency and conditional probability
distributions for IRTs in fifths of the RT interval .... 66
5 Cumulative records depicting transitions in
key pecking of P-6441 between different RT intervals ... 69
6 Daily session response rates for each subject
under the delay and yoked-VT contingencies 84
7 Cumulative records from selected sessions under the
delay-contingency and under the corresponding yoked-VT session 87
8 Response rates on the delay-key during time-in for
P-7820 and P-6441 as a function of the RT interval 100
9 Representative cumulative records for P-7820 and P-6441
under the RT intervals of the two-key procedure 104
10 Numbers of time-outs delivered to P-7820 and P-6441
under the two-key procedure as a function of the RT interval 106
11 Relative frequency and conditional probability distributions
of IRTs in fifths of the RT interval under the two-key
procedure for P-7820 and P-6441 109
vii


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council of the
University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
FREE-OPERANT AVOIDANCE OF TIME-OUT FROM
RESPONSE-INDEPENDENT FOOD PRESENTATION BY PIGEONS PECKING A KEY
By
Gregory Galbicka
August, 1981
Chairman: Marc N. Branch
Major Department: Psychology
The present experiments examined the behavior of food-deprived
pigeons pecking a small translucent disc ("key"). Food was occasion
ally presented independently of responding, except during signalled
"time-out" periods, during which food was never presented. Key peck
ing during "time-in" postponed the next time-out according to a free
operant avoidance paradigm. Successive time-outs followed one an
other at 5-sec intervals (i.e., the time-out--time-out interval=5
sec) unless a response occurred during time-in, in which case the
next time-out occurred x sec after the last response, where x^ was
the length of the response--time-out interval.
During Experiment I, stimuli correlated with time-in and time
out were projected on the key. Lengthening the response--time-out
interval while maintaining a constant time-out--time-out interval


IX
progressively decreased response rates during time-in for all sub
jects .
During Experiment II, the importance of the delay contingency
in maintaining the key pecking observed was examined by presenting
time-outs response-independently at variable intervals matched to
ones obtained under a preceeding free-operant avoidance condition.
Response rates for all subjects decreased when the delay contingency
was suspended in this manner.
The independent contributions of responding maintained by time
out-postponement and responding elicited by the time-in and time-out
stimuli were examined with a two-key procedure during Experiment III
Responses to a continuously illuminated "delay" key during time-in
postponed time-out, signalled by stimuli projected on a separate
"signal" key. Response rates on the delay key during time-in for
two subjects decreased as the response--time-out interval was length
ened. Responding on the signal key was unsystematically related to
the response--time-out interval, and generally occurred at very low
rates. The third subject responded on the delay and signal keys at
comparable rates, and response rates on the delay key during time-
in were unaffected by changes in the response--time-out interval.
Thus, free-operant time-out-postponement may control key peck
ing in the relative absence of elicited pecking, but elicited re
sponding may contribute to the behavior observed.


GENERAL OVERVIEW
The analysis of operant behavior (i.e., behavior modified by
its consequences) may be partitioned into four broad classes, de
pending on whether increases dr decreases in some characteristic
property of a consequent stimulus are programmed as response con
sequences, and the effect of such consequences on the subsequent
frequency of said response. (Morse and Kelleher (1977) present
a classification scheme similar to the one here but emphasize con
sequent stimulus presentation or termination, respectively, rather
than increases or decreases in some aspect of the stimulus.) In
creases in the frequency of a response via response-contingent in
creases in some characteristic (e.g., frequency, magnitude, dura
tion, etc.) of a consequent stimulus are generally termed instances
of "positive reinforcement." Increases in response frequency pro
duced in this manner are distinguished from increases produced via
response-contingent decreases in consequent ("aversive") stimula
tion, which are termed "negative reinforcement." The cornnon use
of the term "reinforcement" highlights the increases in response
rate observed with both manipulations, regardless of whether re
sponses increase ("positive") or decrease ("negative") some aspect
of consequent stimulation. The analysis of these two types of con
trol has developed simultaneously and for the most part independently.
1


2
However, a number of parallels exist in both the development of pro
cedures and interpretations (see Hineline (1977) for a recent treat
ment of these similarities). The remaining two classes of analysis
are those in which response frequency decreases following a history
of response-contingent stimulation ("punishment"), and may be simi
larly classed as "positive" or "negative." (The present paper is
concerned primarily with reinforcement operations and in particular
negative reinforcement, and as such punishment will subsequently be
discussed only occasionally.)
What follows is a review of the study of negative reinforcement,
first with respect to the procedures that have been employed and
second in terms of the controlling variables suggested as necessary
for the acquisition and maintenance of behavior under this type of
aversive control. The majority of the data to be reviewed involve
the behavior of rats, and in particular rats depressing a small,
generally rectangular piece of metal protruding perpendicularly from
one wall of an experimental chamber (i.e., "bar" or "lever" press
ing). This subject/response combination has so frequently been
used in the analysis of negative reinforcement contingencies that
exceptions need be, and have been, noted. The research conducted
in the present studies represents one such exception and involves
the modification of a frequently used procedure in the analysis of
negative reinforcement. Under this modified procedure, food-deprived
pigeons pecked a small translucent disc ("key"), and each peck post
poned for a fixed period the occurrence of a signalled period of
time-out from response-independent food presentation.


One final note is in order before proceeding. The response
most often studied under negative reinforcement contingencies has
not always been the lever press. Prior to the mid-1950's, a num
ber of investigators (e.g., Mowrer & Lamoreaux, 1942) examined the
effects of negative reinforcement contingencies on running in a
"shuttle-box." This apparatus consists of a rectangular enclosure
partitioned along the major axis into "sides" and some means of de
termining which side the subject occupies at different points in
time. The response defined by such an apparatus is movement to the
opposite side. Results from these experiments have, not imperti
nently, largely been excluded from the review. Running in a shut
tle-box is affected by negative reinforcement contingencies in ways
comparable to effects noted when bar pressing is the measured re
sponse. Since studies involving the latter are generally more con
temporary, they have taken precedence over the former in the pre
sent review. Where important, however, either for historical rea
sons or in discussing response topography per se, results from ex
periments involving "shuttling" have been included.


CHAPTER I
NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT.
I:
PROCEDURES
The procedures most often employed in the study of the main
tenance of behavior by aversive stimuli may be broadly classified
in terms of whether a response is experimentally programmed to
delete, delay, or otherwise modify some characteristic property of
the aversive stimulus. While the functional effects of these pro
cedures may not be so clearly discernible, classification in terms
of the experimentally programmed effects of responses provides a
convenient, if arbitrary, means of distinction.
Deletion Procedures
Aversive events may be presented continuously or intermittently.
When a response terminates a continuously present aversive event
for some period of time, an escape paradigm is defined. The ear
liest studies involving such procedures were conducted by invesi-
gators interested in respondent conditioning (e.g., Bechterev, 1913;
Pavlov, 1927). Bechterev (1913), using electric shock delivered
through a panel on which a dog's foot rested, reliably observed
flexion following the onset of shock. Since in many cases flexion
resulted in the termination of shock, it is difficult to discern
whether the response was "elicited" by the presentation of the
4


5
"unconditional stimulus" or was maintained as an effective escape
response through response-contingent termination of shock.
Under the procedure described above, a single response resulted
in termination of the aversive stimulus. Dinsmoor and his colleagues
(e.g., Dinsmoor, 1968; Dinsmoor & Winograd, 1958) developed a pro
cedure under which responses terminated shock according to a vari
able-interval (VI) schedule. Under this procedure, in the presence
of continuous electric shock, the first response after some average
interval of time produced a fixed period of shock-free time. They
reported that rates of bar pressing in rats were directly related
to the intensity of shock delivered (Dinsmoor & Winograd, 1958) and
that responding maintained by escape from continuous shock was simi
lar to responding maintained by a comparable VI schedule of dele
tion of frequent, irregularly-spaced brief shocks (Dinsmoor, 1968).
(Whether this latter procedure should be termed "escape" is debat
able, since shock was not continuously present. The distinction
may be of little use, however, if the behavior maintained is simi
lar. Rather, it may be more fruitful, as Hineline (1977) suggested,
to consider both procedures as shock-deletion procedures which vary
only with respect to the background density of aversive stimulation.)
Deletion procedures involving more intermittent shock include
both free-operant procedures (where the opportunity to respond is
continuously present) and discrete-trials procedures (where response
opportunity is restricted). Sidman (1966) maintained bar pressing
in rats under a procedure he termed "fixed-cycle avoidance" where


6
a brief shock was scheduled to occur every t sec. A single response
anytime during the inter-shock-interval cancelled the delivery of
shock at the end of that cycle. DeVilliers (1972, 1974) modified
this procedure such that shocks viere scheduled to occur at variable
rather than fixed intervals ("VI shock deletion"). Rats' bar press
ing rates under this latter procedure were linearly related to the
number of shocks deleted (deVilliers, 1974). When an independent
VI shock deletion schedule was programmed simultaneously for each
of two responses, relative response rates and relative rates of shock
deletion were also linearly related (Logue and deVilliers, 1978).
This latter relationship is similar to those obtained under analo
gous procedures involving positive reinforcement (See deVilliers
(1977) for a recent review of this literature). Additionally, de-
Vi Hiers (1974) observed both positive and negative behavioral con
trast (cf. Reynolds, 1961; Schwartz & Gamzu, 1977) with rats lever
pressing under a multiple schedule (in which two or more schedules,
or "componenents," alternate in succession, each in the presence
of a unique exteroceptive stimulus) with VI shock deletion schedules
in the two components. He also noted that these contrast effects
increased with decreases in component duration, an effect similar
to that obtained under schedules of positive reinforcement (e.g.,
Shimp ?< Wheatley, 1971; Todorov, 1972).
Herrnstein and Hineline (1966) developed a procedure under which
shocks could be delivered at random intervals according to one of
two constant-probability distributions of inter-shock-intervals.


7
One distribution, the "post-shock" distribution, was effective if a
response had not occurred since the last delivered shock. A single
response deleted shocks scheduled by this distribution, and the shock
delivery was subsequently controlled by the second ("post-response")
distribution until a shock was delivered according to that distribu
tion. Following this shock delivery, control reverted back to the
post-shock distribution. Unlike the previously described shock-
deletion procedures, not all shocks could be deleted by responding;
responding deleted only those shocks scheduled according to the post
shock distribution. Responding was maintained under this procedure
whenever the frequency of shock programmed by the post-response dis
tribution was less than the frequency scheduled by the post-shock
distribution, even with shock frequencies as close as six and nine
per min, respectively, scheduled by the post-response and post-shock
distributions.
A classification system originally developed by Schoenfeld and
Cole (1972) to describe schedules of positive reinforcement can be
extended to describe certain other free-operant negative reinforce
ment procedures. The system involves continuously repeating cycles
T sec in duration. These cycles are further divided into subcycles
denoted t^ and tf\ The first response during t^ deletes shock
scheduled to occur at the end of T. All other responses are ineffec
tive. Hurwitz and Mi Henson (1961) programmed cycles of constant
A D
duration comprised of a t and following t_ period, and manipulated
the relative amount of time occupied by t in X- With increases in


8
the relative duration of t^, response rates first increased then de
creased in a manner similar to relations obtained by Hearst (1960)
with comparable manipulations under at: analogous schedule of response-
contingent food presentation. Sidman (1962aJ obtained results simi
lar to Hurwitz and Millenson's when _t^ occurred at the end of each
cycle; however, when was shifted towards the middle of T (such
that t^ periods occurred both prior to and after t ), responding
ceased. Kadden, Schoenfeld and Snapper (1974) independently manipu
lated the probabilities of shock given a response during t and given
no response, and found that bar pressing of rats was maintained when
ever the former was less than the latter. They also noted that re-
a
sponse rates were positively accelerated across T when t^ occupied a
large portion of T, provided the probability of shock given a response
in tP was greater than 0.0 but less than that which suppressed respond
ing.
Responding under the free-operant procedures described thus far
deletes only the scheduled occurrence of brief, intermittent aversive
stimulus presentations. Responding may also be maintained when it
terminates a stimulus correlated with aversive stimulation, as well
as deleting the aversive stimulus itself. Hake and Campbell (1972)
produced positively accelerated patterns of lever pressing in squirrel
monkeys resonding under a fixed-interval schedule of stimulus-shock
complex termination. In the presence of a unique exteroceptive
stimulus, brief shocks were delivered every 30 sec, and the first
response after 3 min terminated for 3 min the stimulus correlated
with shock delivery and interrupted the periodic delivery of shock.


9
Byrd (1977), also using squirrel monkeys, maintained patterns of
lever pressing characterized by a pause followed by an abrupt tran
sition to a high rate under a procedure similar to Hake and Cambell's
except that a fixed number of responses (fixed-ratio) was required
for termination, and Kelleher and Morse (1964) maintained schedule
appropriate responding in squirrel monkeys when fixed-interval and
fixed-ratio schedules of stimulus-shock complex termination alter
nated in the presence of distinctive stimuli.
Krasnegor, Brady and Findley (1971) examined various pairs of
ratio requirements under a slightly different stimulus-shock complex
termination procedure. Sessions consisted of repeating 90 sec cycles.
The first 30 sec of each cycle was signalled by the illumination of
a blue light (S-j), unless the subjects (rhesus monkeys) emitted a
fixed number of lever presses. Completion of the ratio requirement
terminated S-j and produced a "blackout" for the remainder of the
90 sec cycle. If the ratio requirement was not met within the first
30 sec, the blue light was replaced by a green one (S2) for 30 sec,
again unless a fixed number of responses (not necessarily the same *
as that required in the presence of S-j) was emitted within 30 sec.
Completion of the ratio requirement in S2 likewise produced a black
out for the remainder of that cycle. If neither requirement was met,
S2 was followed immediately by illumination of a red light for 3 sec,
during which 3 brief shocks were delivered at one-sec intervals, then
by a 27-sec blackout. Subjects almost invariably completed one of
the two ratio requirements and, hence, few shocks were delivered.
When the ratio requirements in the presence of S-| and S2 were identical,


10
responding was slightly "biased" towards S£ (i.e., slightly more ratios
were completed during S2 than during Sj). When the requirement in
one component was varied while maintaining the requirement in the
other component constant at 30, the frequency with which ratios were
completed during the varied component was inversely related to the
ratio value but was directly related to this value in the constant
component.
Studies of discrete-trials deletion procedures are less numerous
than the above described free-operant ones. Hineline and Herrnstein
(1970) used a discrete-trials procedure they termed "fixed-cycle
deletion" to maintain bar pressing in rats. Twenty-sec trials ended
with presentation of a brief shock unless a single response occurred
during the trial, in which case the lever immediately retracted for
the remainder of the trial and shock presentation at the end of that
trial was deleted. Neffinger and Gibbon (1975) and Flye and Gibbon
(1979) extended Gibbon, Berryman and Thompson's (1974) ration of
"contingency spaces" to the analysis of aversive control by negative
reinforcement with "partial avoidance" procedures. Like Hineline
and Herrnstein's procedure, brief shocks were scheduled to occur at
the end of each 20-sec trial unless a response occurred. As in
fixed-cycle deletion procedures, responses were followed by retrac
tion of the lever or produced some other exteroceptive stimulus change.
However, unlike fixed-cycle deletion procedures, where the probability
of shock given a response is always 0.00 and 1.00 given no response,
partial avoidance procedures allow the probability of shock delivery


11
given a response to be varied independently of the probability of shock
qiven no response. Bar pressing in rats typically was maintained whenever
the probability of shock given a response was less than that given no re
sponse. (A few subjects responded when the two probabilities were equal,
however this responding was characteristically short-latency responses,
and may have been either shock-elicited or -induced.)
Delay Procedures
Unlike the deletion procedures, delay (or postponement) procedures
do not cancel discrete occurrences of aversive events, but rather postpone
them for some period of time. (Again, the distinction is between the experi
mentally programmed effects of a response, not possible functional ones.)
As with deletion procedures, delay procedures vary with respect to such para
meters as continuous vy. intermittent aversive stimulation, fixed vs. variable
delays, free-operant vy. discrete-trials procedures, etc.
Probably the most frequently used delay procedure is "free-operant
avoidance" (Sidman, 1953). Typically, in the absence of responding, brief
inescapable shocks occur at fixed intervals, specified by the "shock-shock" (SS)
interval. Responses delay the next shock for some fixed period of time, termed
the response-shock (RS) interval. Delays do not cumulate; that is, shock al
ways occurs x sec (specified by the RS interval) after the most recent response.
Sidman studied bar pressing of rats which resulted in shock-postponement un
der this procedure. However, a variety of species, responses and aversive
events have been used with surprising generality of effects. Rats bar press
under control of noise-postponement (Knutson & Bailey, 1974), postponement


12
of time-out from response-independent food presentation (D'Andrea,
1971) or food presentations (Smith & Clark, 1972), and have "shuttled"
(o.g., Harman 3 Hineline, in Hineline, 1977; Libby 3 Church, 1974)
or run in a wheel (lieisman & Litner, 1969) when such responses de
layed presentation of brief electric shocks. Dogs have acquired
panel press (e.g., Rescorla, 1969) or shuttle (Rescorla, 1968) re
sponses under shock-postponement procedures. Key pecking (e.g.,
Ferrari, Todorov 3 Graeff, 1973; Todorov, Ferrari 3 de Souza, 1974)
or treadle pressing (e.g., Dinsmoor 3 Sears, 1973; Foree 3 LoLordo,
1970; Jowaisas, 1977; Rilling 8 Budnick, 1975; Smith 8 Keller, 1970)
of pigeons have been comparably controlled under similar shock-
postponement procedures, and key pecking which results in postpone
ment of time-out from response-independent food presentation (Thomas,
1965j[, 1965bJ has also been examined. Numerous studies have reported
free-operant avoidance in rhesus and squirrel monkeys (including Clark
and Smith's (1977) of food-postponement), and humans have turned
levers when such responses postponed time-out from response-independent
money presentations (e.g., Baron 8 Galazio, 1976; Baron 8 Kaufman,
1966).
Reliable acquisition of free-operant avoidance depends on a rela
tively short SS interval with respect to the RS interval (Leaf, 1965;
Sidman, 1962; but, cf. Clark 8 Hull, 1966) although the absolute values
required for acquisition may vary depending on the response employed
(see, for example, Harman 8 Hineline, in Hineline, 1977). Responding
is also (possibly even more) reliably engendered when the basic proce
dure is modified to provide variable SS (Bolles 8 Popp, 1964), RS


13
(Sidman & Boren, 1957a) or SS and RS (Hineline, 1977) intervals.
Patterns of responding engendered under free-operant avoidance pro
cedures consist of fairly constant overall rates of responding,
with transient increases in response rate ("bursts") immediately
after delivery of the aversive stimulus (e.g., Boren, 1961; Ellen &
Wilson, 1964). These increases may be due to responding elicited
by aversive stimulus presentation (e.g., see Hutchinson, 1977) or
maintained by adventitious escape contingencies. Boren (1961) pro
vided suggestive evidence for the latter notion with a free-operant
avoidance paradigm involving two levers, one effective only during
RS and one only during SS intervals, respectively. With an SS
intervals (a delay analog of escape), bursting occurred predomi
nantly during RS intervals, but occurred more frequently on the
SS-interval lever, the one associated with shock termination.
Although overall rates of responding are generally fairly con
stant under free-operant avoidance procedures, the distribution of
times between successive responses, or interresponse-times (IRTs),
has on occasion been reported to be non-random. Specifically, the
conditional probability of an IRT (i.e., the probability of an IRT
of length t sec given at least that amount of time has elapsed since
the preceding response) has been reported to increase with increas
ingly long IRTs for rats shuttling (e.g., Libby & Church, 1974) or
bar pressing (Sidman, 1966) and pigeons key pecking (Jowaisas, 1977)
under free-operant shock-postponement procedures. This type of tem
poral control need not develop, however, prior to or concurrent with


14
the development of stable performance in terms of overall response
rate, and may appear in some subjects only after extended exposure
under the procedure (see, for example, Sidman, 1966, particularly
pp. 464. ff.).
Overall rates of responding maintained by free-operant avoidance
procedures depend on the values of both the SS and RS intervals. Re
sponse rate generally increases rapidly to a maximum as the RS inter
val is increased to a value equal to or slightly less than the SS
interval, then declines exponentially with longer RS-interval values
(e.g., Clark & Hull, 1966; Klein & Rilling, 1972; Sidman 1953; Thomas,
1965^; Tcdorov, Ferrari & de Souza, 1974). Verhave (1959) obtained
similar functions, with the exception of higher absolute response
rates than those reported by Sidman (1953), when the number of re
sponses required to initiate a new RS interval was raised from the
traditional single response to eight responses. Additionally, re
sponse rates are directly related to both the intensity (Boren &
Sidman, 1959; Klein & Rilling, 1972; Leander, 1973) and duration
(Leander, 1973) of shock presented.
The standard free-operant avoidance procedure may be modified in
a number of ways other than the ones cited above. One modification,
termed "discriminated free-operant avoidance" (e.g., Sidman, 1955,
1957; Sidman & Boren, 1957b^, 1957^), involves the interpolation of
exteroceptive stimuli differentially correlated with the delivery of
shock. As these procedures played an important role in the develop
ment of theoretical accounts of aversive control, detailed discussion


15
will be reserved until later. Other variations of the basic proce
dure have been examined. Boren and Sidman (1957a_) modified the stan
dard free-operant avoidance paradigm to examine the effects of deliver
ing only a percentage of shocks actually scheduled. Response rates
were generally unaffected across a wide range of values until the
probability dropped to approximately 0.05. These results are compar
able to those obtained by Neffinger and Gibbon (1975) and Flye and
Gibbon (1979) with their discrete-trials partial avoidance deletion
procedure,where responding was maintained at substantial levels when
as many as 95% of shocks scheduled to occur on trials with a response
were cancelled.
Sidman (1962^) and Field and Boren (1963) modified the paradigm
to produce an "adjusting avoidance" procedure. Under the standard
free-operant avoidance procedure, shock is postponed to occur £ sec
after the last response, where x is the value of the RS interval.
Under adjusting avoidance schedules, each response postpones shock
for x^ sec, and the delay cumulates across successive responses to
some maximum value. Thus, with an RS interval=15 sec, two responses
spaced 8 sec apart would result in shock presentation being post
poned until 23 sec after the first response under standard free-
operant avoidance, but until 30 sec after the first response under
an adjusting schedule. Responding maintained under adjusting avoid
ance schedules usually results in shock being greatly postponed, and
the degree to which it is postponed is decreased with the addition
of stimuli correlated with the time to shock presentation (Field &


16
Boren, 1963). Sidman (1966) pointed out another interesting dif
ference between standard free-operant and adjusting avoidance pro
cedures by noting that adjusting schedules do not provide differen
tial consequences for spaced-responding. Under free-operant avoid
ance "efficient1' responding (measured in terms of the number of
responses per shock presentation) should be characterized by fairly
widely-spaced responses since a response occurring soon after a
response does not provide as much additional delay as one occurring
relatively later. Indeed, as mentioned above, responding under free-
operant avoidance procedures is typically characterized by an in
crease in the conditional probability of a response with increasing
post-response time. Adjusting avoidance procedures do not provide
differential delay of aversive stimulation following spaced responses,
since each response adds a specified delay regardless of where it
occurs in the RS interval. As such, one might not expect to see the
increase in response probability with increasing post-response time.
Sidman (1962b0 reported exactly that; conditional probabilities of
interresponse-times remained relatively constant or decreased at
longer interresponse-times under such a procedure.
The last free-operant delay procedure to be discussed is that
described by Sidman (1966) termed "fixed-interval avoidance" (more
for the patterns of behavior produced, it seems, than for a specifi
cation of fixed periods of time between successive shock presentations).
Sidman modified the deletion procedures which specify t_ and t^
periods during which responding is ineffective or deletes shock
scheduled to occur at the end of t, respectively. Responses during


17
under fixed-interval avoidance do not cancel the presentation of
shock but rather prolongs the iP period (and, thus, delay shock) for
some fixed period of time. Patterns of responding engendered under
this procedure were typically positively accelerated, more so than
those reported by Kadden, Schoenfeld and Snapper (1974) under stan
dard deletion procedures, possibly because each cycle under fixed-
interval avoidance begins with shock presentation, which could act
A
as a discriminative stimulus signalling the beginning of t thus
controlling a decreased rate of responding early in each cycle.
Hineline (1970) developed a discrete-trials procedure in which
one shock was delivered during every 20 sec trial. Each trial began
with insertion of a retractable lever into the chamber and, if no re
sponse occurred within 8 sec, a brief shock was delivered on the
eighth sec. Two sec later the lever was retracted for 10 sec, and
then reinserted to begin the next trial. If a response occurred prior
to the delivery of shock, the lever immediately retracted, and shock
delivery was delayed until 18 sec into the trial. Responding was
reliably maintained under this procedure. Benodict (1975) modified
this procedure to differentiate latencies to a response. With dif
ferent groups of rats, the delay to shock was either directly or in
versely related to response latency. Thus, for the "long-latency-
long-del ay 11 group, each sec in the latency to a response from trial
onset added a sec to the delay to shock achieved by a response, while
for the "short-latency-long-delay" group each additional sec in the
response latency subtracted a sec from the delay. Response latencies
for the first group were generally longer than those for the second.


18
Gardner and Lewis (1976, 1977) and Lewis, Gardner and Hutton
v1976) developed a discrete-trials procedure to incorporate multiple
delayed shock presentations. In the absence of responding, brief
shocks Viere delivered (in the presence of a distinctive stimulus) at
random intervals averaging 30 sec. A single response in the presence
of this stimulus initiated a 3-min alternate condition correlated
with a second stimulus, during which six shocks were delivered one
sec apart, beginning either 10, 88 or 165 sec (under different exper
imental phases) after the response. (Further responses during the
alternate condition had no scheduled consequences.) The percentage
of time rats spent in the alternate condition was directly related
to the delay to the first shock following a bar press which initiated
the alternate condition, and substantial responding was maintained
when a response delayed the presentation of as many as 12 similarly-
spaced shocks for 105 sec. Similar results were also obtained with
pigeons key pecking under a similar shock-delay procedure (Gardner &
Lewis, 1977).
Stimulus Modification Procedures
The third and final class of aversive control paradigm includes
those procedures which provide response-dependent modulation of some
physical property of the aversive stimulus. While all deletion pro
cedures may be considered to modify either the duration and/or the
intensity of aversive stimulation, only those procedures which do not
concomitantly decrease the frequency or otherwise change the temporal


19
aistributior. of aversive events in time will be considered in this
category.
Weiss and Laties (1959, 1963) modified the traditional escape,
paradigm by programming response-contingent intensity-reduction,
rather than termination, of a continuously present shock which in
creased in intensity every t_ sec without a response. This procedure
has become known as "shock-titration" or "fractional escape."
Response rates under such procedures are inversely related to the
time between successive increments in shock intensity in the absence
of responding, and decreases in the value of this parameter, as well
as increasing the number of responses required for a decrement in
shock intensity, results in an increase in the median intensity of
shock delivered (Wiess & Laties, 1959). Powell and Peck (1969)
reported that acquisition of lever pressing by rats was more reliable
under a procedure where each lever press reduced for 20 sec the inten
sity of shocks delivered every five sec than with a standard free-
operant avoidance procedure with an SS interval=5 sec and an RS
interval=20 sec. Bersh and Alloy (1978) maintained lever pressing
under IRT<^t schedules (which require that responses be spaced by
less than-t sec to be effective) of shock-intensity reduction.
Following an appropriate IRT, the intensity of shocks delivered at
random intervals averaging 6 sec was reduced from 1.6- to 0.75-mA
for a 15-sec period. Response rates in the presence of occasional
low-intensity shock were inversely related for all subjects to the
value of the required IRT. In a subsequent experiment (Bersh &


20
Alloy, 1980), shock intensity was held constant at 1.6-mA and IRT-
contingent shock-duration reduction (from 1.0- to 0.3-sec) was pro
grammed for one group of subjects while shock durations of matched
duration were presented independent of responding to a second group.
Responding was well maintained in the former while subjects in the
latter group responded rarely if at all.
Lewis, Gardner and Lopatto (1980) developed a procedure, simi
lar to the delay procedure of Gardner and Lewis (1976) previously
described, to examine negative reinforcement via reduction in shock
duration. Shocks were presented every 30 sec. Shock duration was
2.0 sec unless a response occurred, which resulted in a 3-min change
in stimulus conditions ("alternate condition") during which shock
duration was reduced. Bar pressing by rats was acquired when shock
duration in the alternate condition was 0.1 sec. When shock dura
tion was subsequently varied systematically across experimental phases,
the percent of session-time rats spent in the alternate condition was
inversely related to the duration of shock presented during it. Addi
tionally, responding was maintained in experienced subjects and
acquired in naive ones when the procedure was modified such that all
but the first shock delivered during the alternate condition were
shorter (0.1-sec) than the 2.0 sec shocks delivered in the absence
of responding.
The final procedures to be considered under this heading do
not produce direct response-contingent modulation of aversive stimuli,


21
but rather produce stimuli correlated with imminent aversive stimula
tion. Responses under such procedures result in the termination of
a stimulus condition during which brief shocks are presented at
randomly-spaced intervals ("unsignalled condition"), and onset of a
second stimulus condition ("signalled condition") which remains in
effect for some fixed period of time. In the presence of the signal
led stimulus condition, shocks are delivered as before, but are brief
ly (e.g., for 5 sec) preceded by the onset of an additional stimulus
(e.g., a tone) which terminates with shock delivery. Thus, during
the signalled shock component, shock is never delivered in the presence
of the component-correlated stimulus alone (a "safety" signal), but
rather only in the presence of the component-correlated stimulus and
the pre-shock stimulus (a "warning" stimulus). Responding which
results in the presentation of safety stimuli increases with increases
in shock intensity (Harsh & Badia, 1975) and is maintained when sig
nalled shocks are of greater intensity or longer duration (Badia,
Culbertson & Harsh, 1973) or occur more frequently (Badia, Coker &
Harsh, 1973) than unsignalled shocks. v
Under these procedures, the probability of shock delivery in
the presence of the safety stimuli (i.e., Pr(S/Ss)) is 0.00 and 1.00
in the presence of the warning stimulus (Sw). Badia, Harsh, Coker
and Abbot (1976) examined bar pressing in rats under conditions inter
mediate to these. They manipulated the Pr(S/Sw) by only occasionally
presenting shock at the end of the warning stimulus (while maintain
ing the Pr(S/Ss)=0.00 and found that responding was little affected.
As the Pr(S/S ) was decreased, subjects responded at rates similar
w


to those obtained when every warning stimulus was followed by shock
In contrast, increasing the Pr(S/Ss), by occasionally delivering
shock without the pre-shock stimulus, while holding the Pr(S/Sw)
constant, produced systematic decreases in response rates.


CHAPTER II
NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT. II: CONTROLLING VARIABLES
Continguous vs. Consequent Control
The systematic analysis of behavior controlled by aversive
stimuli most likely began with the defensive conditioning studies
of Pavlov (1927) and Bechterev (1913). Pavlov studied salivation
elicited by injection of acidic solutions into the mouth, while
Bechterev concentrated on leg flexion elicited by presentation of
shock to the feet of dogs. Both found that responding could be
elicited by presentation of a stimulus correlated with aversive
stimulation, and suggested that this responding was acquired simply
due to the correlation bf conditioned and unconditioned stimuli.
It did not take long, however, for others (e.g., Schlosberg, 1934;
Zener, 1937) to suggest that the consequences of the acquired re
sponse may be of importance in the maintenance of responding. The
first experimental test of this notion (Schlosberg, 1934) was,
surprisingly, anything but convincing. Rats for which a tail flick
prevented delivery of electric shock responded at levels as low as
others that were shocked response-independently. Other investiga
tors, however, later found clear differences in responding as a
function of whether or not the response could terminate or delete
an aversive event (e.g., Brogden, Lipman & Culler, 1938; Hunter,
1935). Brogden, Lipman and Culler (1938), for example, found that
23


presentation of shock following a 2-sec tone engendered wheel
running in guinea pigs confined to the wheel, regardless of
whether shock was presented after every tone presentation or
only those during which a response did not occur. This response
was maintained, however, only in subjects exposed to response-
contingent shock deletion. When running had no scheduled con
sequences, it diminished. Thus, it appeared that the conse
quences of at least some responses did importantly determine
whether a response was maintained; response-contingent termina
tion ("escape") or postponement ("avoidance") of aversive stimu
lation maintained responding more readily than did situations void
of such consequences.
While these results answered a simple question, they raised
many more. In particular, which of the many possible dimensions of
a consequence is/are necessary and sufficient for the maintenance
of behavior through negative reinforcement? Situations involving
escape responses were easily handled by Thorndike's (1914) law of
effect, since the termination of an aversive event was undoubtedly
a "satisfying state of affairs" and should thus lead to an increase
in the subsequent probability of that response. Avoidance responses,
however, were somewhat enigmatic in that the consequence of a suc
cessful avoidance response was the non-occurrence of an event, or
the occurrence of a non-event, both of which were difficult to recon
cile with the predominant learning theories of the time (e.g.,
Guthrie, 1935; Hull, 1943; Skinner, 1953), all of which to some


degree or other emphasized stimulus-response (or response-stimulus)
contiguity in the modification of behavior. The avoidance response
clearly lacks this property, and as such alternate behavioral mech
anisms seemed imperative.
Two-Factor Theories
A procedural detail, remnant from the classical conditioning
heritage of aversive control procedures, provided the first and
most long-lived account of avoidance behavior. Since early studies
not reviewed here had emphasized stimulus-stimulus correlations, it
was common to present an exteroceptive stimulus prior to the onset
of the aversive stimulus. For example, in the Brogden et al. (1938)
study, a tone was presented 2 sec prior to the delivery of shock to
guinea pigs confined in a running wheel. Rotation of the wheel
greater than one inch terminated the tone and precluded shock deli
very, if the response occurred prior to shock onset. (Responses
during shock had no scheduled consequences.) Thus, each response
during the tone did produce an immediate environmental consequence,
termination of the tone, and also deleted the upcoming scheduled
shock. This led to the development of a number of "two-factor
theories" (e.g., Mowrer and Lamoreaux, 1942; Schoenfeld, 1950;
Sidman, 1953). Although differing to some degree, all suggested
that what appeared to be "avoidance" responses were actually the
result of interactions between more "fundamental" (contiguous) pro
cesses. The earliest and most influential propogator of two-factor


26
theory was 0. H. Mowrer. Mov/rer proposed that the "avoidance"
response was initially learned through its termination of the
aversive stimulus. Borrowing from Freud (1936), he further con
tended that stimuli paired with aversive stimulation came to eli
cit (presumably through a respondent-conditioning process)
"anxiety" or "fear". Responses which terminate such stimuli are
subsequently maintained by the immediate anxiety- or fear-
reduction they provide. Thus, what appear to be avoidance re
sponses are actually responses maintained by escape from acquired
motivational states elicited by stimuli paired with aversive stimu
lation (i.e., "anxiety" or "fear"). Schoenfeld (1950) rejected
the postulation of acquired motivation states in deference to a
more descriptive analysis. He suggested that paired stimuli
(again through respondent conditioning) acquired aversive charac
teristics, and it was escape from these "conditioned" aversive
stimuli that was responsible for the maintenance of responses in
the absence of primary aversive stimulation.
The free-operant avoidance paradigm developed by Sidman (1953)
provided the first major attack on two-factor theories of the type
above (even though he suggested one of his own). Since according
to two-factor theories responding is maintained by the termination
of exteroceptive stimuli correlated with aversive stimulus presen
tation, a procedure that does not provide such stimuli should not
maintain responding. Obviously, such a procedure does maintain
responding, and thus apparently refutes the importance of condi
tioned motivational states or aversive stimulus termination.


27
Sidman suggested instead that the responding observed v/as
determined by the interaction of two "gradients of punishment".
One, the "distribution-of-punishment" gradient, referred to the
increased probability that "non-avoidance" responses would be
followed by an aversive event as the RS interval was decreased.
The distribution-of-punishment gradient was offered to account
for increases in response rate observed with decreases in the
length of the RS interval to values equal to or slightly less
than the SS interval. That rates eventually reached a maximum
suggested to Sidman the action of a "delay-of-punishment" gradi
ent, which, at even shorter RS intervals, resulted in increasing
suppression of the avoidance response itself. Although plausible,
this interpretation never received prolonged attention, most pro
bably due to the inability to measure directly changes in "non
avoidance" behavior.
Anger (1963) took a somewhat different view of free-operant
avoidance and concluded that it signalled the death of two-factor
theory prematurely. Since aversive stimuli, when they occur under
free-operant avoidance procedures, almost always follow a response
by a fixed amount of time, the passage of time without a response
is differentially correlated with delivery of the aversive stimulus.
In effect, "long time since the last response" becomes a conditioned
aversive stimulus which can only be terminated by responding. Es
cape from such "conditioned aversive temporal stimuli" may thus
serve as the basis for negative reinforcement responsible for the
maintenance of responding under free-operant avoidance procedures.


28
Patterns of responding maintained by such procedures, characterized
in rats by increases in the probability of a response with increas
ing post-response time (e.g., Libby A Church, 1974; Sidman, 1966),
provide circumstantial support for such a notion.
As mentioned earlier, one of the major procedural modifications
of the free-operant avoidance paradigm involves the interpolation of
exteroceptive stimuli which signal impending aversive stimulation.
These "discriminated free-operant avoidance" procedures have pro
vided evidence which, if not directly counter to two-factor theories,
necessitate assumptions which basically make the theory untestable.
Sidman (1955) trained cats and rats to bar press under a free-
operant avoidance procedure with RS and SS intervals equal to 20 sec.
Once stable responding was engendered under this procedure, he added
a light 5 sec prior to the presentation of each shock (a "pre-shock"
or "warning" stimulus). Responses postponed shock as before (i.e.,
RS=SS=20 sec) and also postponed the light if they occurred prior
to light onset (RL=SL=15 sec) or terminated the light in its pre
sence. He found that the majority (60-75%) of responses occurred in
the presence of the light, and the probability of a response in
creased slightly with increasing time since light onset. Similar
effects have subsequently been reported with rhesus monkeys respond
ing under a comparable procedure (Hyman, 1969). Ulrich, Holz and
Azrin (1964) exposed rats to a similar procedure (i.e., RS=20 sec,
RL=15 sec) with the exception that the SS interval equalled 5 sec
and the SL interval 0 sec (i.e., the light was continuously present


29
following shock until a response occurred). They found an ever,
greater preponderance of responses occurred following the onset
of the warning stimulus. It is not clear from a two-factor account
why responding which delayed onset of the warning stimulus (a "con
ditioned aversive stimulus") was not maintained. Possibly the
light was a "weaker" aversive stimulus, capable of maintaining
responding by response-contingent termination but not delay of
the warning stimulus. It is also somewhat surprising that respond
ing was more probable later in the light period. Responses which
immediately terminate the light presumably provide a greater amount
of negative reinforcement and should, therefore, be more probable.
Two-factor theories might point to heightened temporal stimulus
control to account for the observed increase in response probabil
ity with increasing time since light onset.
Two additional experiments (Sidman, 1957; Sidman & Boren,
1957b) offer further difficulties for two-factor theories. In
both studies, the value of the RS interval depended on the presence
or absence of the pre-shock stimulus. For example, with a 5-sec
pre-shock light, a response in the absence of the light postponed
each shock for 20 sec (i.e., RS=20 sec), concomitantly postponing
light onset for 15 sec (i.e., RL=15 sec). Should the subject pause
longer than 15 sec, and hence the pre-shock stimulus be presented,
these contingencies no longer held. Rather, the light remained on
until a shock was delivered (i.e., RL=0 sec), and the RS interval,
in the presence of the light, was reduced to the duration of the


30
pre-shock stimulus (i.e., RS=5 sec). Sidman and Boren (1957b) found
that with RS and RL intervals equal to 15 and 20 sec respectively in
absence of a 5-sec pre-shock light, and 0 and 5 sec respectively in
its presence, rats typically bar pressed only in the absence of the
light. Once the light period was initiated, the subjects generally
"waited out" the interval, received a shock, and then resumed re
sponding. Sidman (1957) parametrically manipulated the RS interval
while maintaining a constant RL interval, and subsequently examined
a range of RL intervals in the presence of a constant RS interval.
Responding under both these procedures can be summarized as occurring
in the presence of the stimulus correlated with the less stringent
response requirement (i.e., that which provided the greater delay to
shock per response). These results are analogous to those obtained by
Krasnegor, Brady and Findley (1971) under their sequential deletion
procedure, and argue against a simple two-factor account, since re
sponding varied systematically with changes in the delay achieved by
a response to both the light and to shock, even though light pre
sentation was consistently paired with shock under all conditions.
In a second experiment, Sidman and Boren (19750 compared two
procedures. After training rats to bar press under a free-operant
avoidance procedure with RS=SS=20 sec, they programmed RL and RS
intervals equal to 16 and 20 sec, respectively, in the absence of
the light, but always presented shock 4 sec after light onset (i.e.,
responses during the light had no experimentally arranged conse
quences). Under this procedure, responding in the presence of the


31
light decreased to very low levels. Response rates prior to light
onset, after an initial transitory increase, returned to levels
comparable to those obtained under initial free-operant avoidance
training with no warning stimulus. In contrast, when responding in
the presence of the light terminated it and postponed shock (simi
lar to Sidman (1955)), responding occurred predominantly in the
presence of the light. Both procedures, then, allowed for the esta
blishment of the light as a conditioned aversive stimulus through
respondent conditioning, since shock only occurred in the presence
of the light, yet the former maintained a much higher rate of re
sponding in the absence than in the presence of the warning stimulus.
Data obtained under procedures other than those just described
also argue against a simple two-factor account of avoidance. For
example, Bolles, Stokes and Younger (1966) compared two response
topographies (running in a wheel and shuttling) under procedures
which allowed for all possible combinations of response-contingent
avoidance ("A"), shock termination ("Ts"), and/or warning stimulus
termination ("T "). That is, with different groups of rats, re-
W
sponses resulted either in nothing or in one of the following set
of possible consequences: A, T T, AT AT, T T or ATT .
Termination of the warning stimulus only (i.e., shock still occurred)
did not maintain more shuttling than that obtained when shuttling
had no effect, and both responses occurred more reliably when re
sponding avoided shock, independent of stimulus termination.
Kamin, Bririer and Black (1963) used a slightly different tactic
to argue against the "anxiety-provoking" aspects of warning stimuli.


32
They trained subjects to respond under a signalled shock deletion
schedule, and, later each day, exposed them to a schedule of response-
contingent food presentation. Occasionally, they interpolated brief
presentations of the pre-shock stimulus during the schedule of food
presentation, and found that the degree to which behavior maintained
by the presentation of food was suppressed by this stimulus was
inversely related to the amount of responding maintained in the pre
sence of that stimulus under the shock-deletion procedure. Since
suppression of appetitive behavior by stimuli paired with the presen
tation of aversive events is typically viewed as a measure of the
amount of "anxiety" produced by such stimuli, these data suggest that
responding under the shock-deletion schedule was maintained better
when the pre-shock stimuli evoked less, not greater amounts of
"anxiety".


33
One-Factor Theories
Results such as the ones mentioned above have led to a general
decreased acceptance of two-factor theories in favor of other inter
pretations (but, see Dinsmoor, 1977). Herrnstein (1959) offered
a "one-factor" theory based on the notion of shock frequency reduc
tion. He argued that "the reinforcement for avoidance behavior is
a reduction in time of aversive stimulations . (p.67). Herrn
stein offers as evidence for this position data obtained under the
previously described deletion procedure developed by Herrnstein
and Hineline (1965). Under this procedure, shocks were scheduled
according to two random distributions of inter-shock-intervals, and
responding determined which distribution delivered the next shock.
Herrnstein and Hineline found that responding was maintained when
it decreased the frequency of shock delivery by as little as three
shocks/min under that obtained in the absence of responding. It is
important to note that responding does not achieve a specified
fixed delay to shock under this procedure, although the average
delay may be longer with response-contingent decreases in overall
shock frequency, provided the subject does not make multiple re
sponses between shock presentations. Since responding is main
tained in the absence of any exteroceptive stimuli correlated with
shock delivery, and in the absence of a programmed temporal con
tingency between responding and shock presentation, Herrnstein
(1969) argued for the preeminence of shock frequency reduction
(SFR) as the basis of negative reinforcement. That Logue and


34
deVilliers (1974) found relative response rates to be systematically
related to the relative SFR achieved by one of two responses and
not to the relative number of shocks actually delivered provides
additional support for this notion.
Hineline (1970), however, pointed out that all procedures em
ployed to that time had confounded at least two of three possible
controlling variables: 1) escape from conditioned aversive stimuli
(exteroceptive, temporal or organismic), 2) SFR and 3) the (average)
delay to the next aversive event. Thus, he argued that statements
suggesting the controlling variable were most likely premature.
He developed a discrete-trials procedure (Hineline, 1970) in an
attempt to separate these variables. As previously discussed, the
procedure consisted of 20-sec trials during which a single shock
was delivered. In the absence of a response, a retractable lever
was inserted into the chamber for 10 sec, a brief shock was deli
vered at the 8th sec, and then the lever was withdrawn for 10 sec.
A response prior to 8 sec resulted in immediate retraction of the
lever, and delayed shock presentation until the 18th sec of the
trial. Thus, responding produced no overall SFR, since one shock
was presented during every trial regardless of a response. The
stimulus paired with shock delivery (i.e., "lever in" vs. "lever
out") depended on whether a response occurred, since shocks were
presented while the lever was inserted on trials without a response
and while retracted if a response occurred prior to shock delivery.
Thus, two-factor accounts might predict an oscillation in responding,


35
initially escaping "lever in" by responding, then escaping "lever
out" by not responding. Indeed, consistent responding would reli
ably produce rather than terminate the conditioned aversive stimu
lus, since shocks would always be presented when the lever was re
tracted, the immediate consequence of every lever press. Hineline
found that responding was reliably and consistently maintained under
this procedure. Consequently, he argued for the importance of delay
to aversive stimulation as a controlling variable in the maintenance
of responding by negative reinforcement, an argument which might be
termed the "procrastination hypothesis": responding will be main
tained when it achieves a delay to the next aversive event longer
than that in the absence of a response, independent of any reduc
tion in the overall frequency of aversive stimulation. The dif
ferentiation of response latencies as a function of the amount of
delay they achieve (Benodict, 1976) further argues for delay as an
important controlling variable.
Herrnstein (1969) took exception to this view, arguing that
the results obtained could be viewed in terms of "shock-frequency
reduction under the control of discriminative stimuli" (p. 69).
That is, the presentation of the lever signals the opportunity
to decrease the frequency of shock in the presence of the lever
to zero. He cites the results of a second experiment by Hineline
(1970) to support this interpretation. During this experiment,
the paradigm just mentioned was modified such that responses still
retracted the lever but resulted in shock delivery exactly 10 sec


36
after the response. Thus, the trial length and frequency of shock
delivery were inversely and directly related, respectively, to the
latency to a response. Responding was not maintained under this
procedure, which Herrnstein suggested resulted from equal frequen
cies of shock (one per 10 sec) in the presence or absence of the
lever. Hireline, however, argued that delay was sufficient to main
tain responding in the absence of any overall SFR (Experiment 1)
but not in the presence of an increase in the overall frequency
of shock (Experiment 2).
Lambert, Bersh, Hineline and Smith (1973) provided additional
evidence against SFR as sufficient for the maintenance of responding
by negative reinforcement. They used a procedure modeled after
Hineline (1970), with 60-sec trials and lever presentation restric
ted to the first 10 sec. In the absence of a response, five shocks
were delivered during each trial at one-sec intervals beginning at
the 11th sec. A lever press cancelled the delivery of these shocks,
but resulted in the immediate presentation of a single shock. Thus,
responding produced a decrease in shock frequency but also resulted
in a decrease in the delay to the first shock. Responding was not
maintained under this procedure, which the authors suggested as an
indictment of the one-factor theory based solely on SFR. Although
suggestive, this procedure differs from all those previously dis
cussed in that responding results in the immediate presentation
of an aversive event, and as such may provide for alternative inter
pretations. Specifically, responding may not have been maintained


37
due to inadequate negative reinforcement based on shock-delay but
rather may have been actively suppressed by punishment. (Although
some (e.g., Oinsmoor, 1954, 1977; Skinner, 1953) have argued that
avoidance and punishment may not be independent processes, that
contention has been challenged (e.g., Galbicka & Branch, 1981;
Rachlin & Harmstein, 1969) for reasons which, v/hile germane to
the present discussion, will be deferred to keep the scope of the
review manageable.) Response-contingent aversive stimulation, of
course, is nothing more than one limiting condition with regard to
Sidman's (1953) notion of "delay-of-punishment" gradients (i.e.,
delay=0 sec). Thus, it is conceivable that all delay procedures
can be analyzed in terms not of the negative reinforcement they
provide via increases in the delay to aversive stimulation, but
rather in terms of the decreased response suppression produced by
delayed punishment. Such an analysis, as mentioned earlier, is
handicapped by the inability to measure punished "non-avoidance"
behavior, except when the delay equals zero (i.e., when aversive
stimulation is response-contingent) as it was in the Lambert et al.
study. Hence, although conceptually plausible, such a notion is
very difficult (if not impossible) to verify experimentally.
Alternative conceptualizations in terms of the relation between
a specified response and aversive stimulation (e.g., response-
contingent delay), v/hile possibly incomplete, allow experimental
treatment.


38
A systematic examination of the effects of delayed aversive
stimulation in the absence of any SFR conducted by Gardner and
Lewis (1974) provided inore telling evidence for the importance of
this factor in the maintenance of responding under negative rein
forcement paradigms. Under their procedure, responding produced
a 3-min change in stimulus conditions and interrupted the delivery
of shock otherwise scheduled to occur at random intervals averag
ing 30 sec. Under the "alternate condition" initiated by a response,
the same number of shocks which would, on the average, have been
presented had a response not occurred (i.e., 6) were delivered.
Thus, no overa!1 SFR could occur. During the alternate condition
shocks were delivered at one-sec intervals, beginning after a spe
cified delay from the response which initiated the condition. That
delay was, across experimental phases, either 10, 88 or 165 sec.
The percent of time rats spent in the alternate condition (and,
thus, the rate of responding in its absence) was directly related
to the delay to the first shock achieved by a response. Addition
ally, substantial responding was maintained when as many as twelve
shocks (representing a 100% shock-frequency increase) were delivered
during the alternate condition and the delay to the first shock
was 105 sec. This systematic effect of delay on response rate
argues strongly for delay as an important determinant of the main
tenance of responding by negative reinforcement, independent of
(and in the face of an increase in) the frequency of shock deli
vered.


39
In a subsequent experiment, Lewis, Gardner and Hutton (1977)
suggested that delay to the first aversive event may not be
necessary in and of itself, provided that subsequent delays occur.
They modified their previous procedure such that all but one (or
two) of the shocks delivered during the alternate condition were
delayed. The nondelayed shock(s) were delivered at exactly the
same time they would have been delivered had a response not
occurred. Responding was maintained in all subjects when one non
delayed shock was presented, and in two of six subjects (both of
which had previously been exposed to the "one nondelayed shock"
condition) when the first two shocks delivered were not delayed
by a response. Similar results were obtained with comparable
manipulations on pigeons' key pecking (Gardner & Lewis, 1977).
The authors argued that these results implicate delays to the
second and, to a less degree, third shock in a series of shocks
as controlling behavior. Shull, Spear and Bryson (1981) recently
reported that delays to the second (and to a lesser degree third)
food presentations were systematically related to response rate
under a procedure analogous to that just described but not invol
ving delayed presentations of food. Although these data indicate
that delays are capable of controlling responding, an account in
terms of SFR, where the frequency of aversive stimulation is cal
culated using non-arithmetic averages, cannot be discounted at
the present time. Shull et al. chose delay values carefully so
as to preclude totally frequency differences, regardless of the


40
averaging method used. Whether similar parameters of delayed aver
sive stimulation would systematically control responding remains
to be determined.
Only changes in the distribution of aversive events in time
have to this point been considered as possible controlling vari
ables. It is clear from the data obtained under procedures which
provide response-contingent reduction in physical characteristics
of the aversive stimulus that such reductions can maintain respon
ding in the absence of concomitant changes in the frequency of such
eyents. Although some of these studies may be reconciled with the
previous discussion by allocating shock frequencies to two separate
classes dependent on some characteristic of the aversive stimulus
(e.g., responding increases the delay to the next "intense" or
"long" shock), procedures such as Weiss and Laties' (1959, 1963)
shock-titration schedules, where the characteristic property of
the aversive stimulus varies across a semi-continuous range, make
such analyses difficult. Furthermore, demonstration of lawful
interactions between physical properties of aversive events, for
example the similar rates of responding maintained under free-
operant avoidance procedures as a function of the product of the
durations and intensities of shocks presented (Leander, 1973),
suggest that accounts which emphasize factors other than changes
in the temporal distribution of (classes of) aversive events may
extend the precision possible in the prediction and control over
behavior by negative reinforcement contingencies.


CHAPTER III
INTRODUCTION TO THE PRESENT EXPERIMENTS
Under free-operant avoidance paradigms (Sidman, 1953), re
sponses postpone the occurrence of an aversive stimulus for x sec.
Otherwise these events occur every t sec. These two temporal para
meters are typically termed the response-shock (RS) and shock-
shock (SS) intervals, respectively, underscoring a bias towards the
use of electric shock as an aversive stimulus. Investigators in
terested in the control of behavior by response-contingent delay
or deletion of aversive events (i.e., by negative reinforcement),
apparently swayed by the logistical and behavioral superiority of
electric shock (see Azrin & Holz, 1966), have selected it almost
to the exclusion of other aversive events.
This bias generally may be of little concern, unless one is
interested in studying negative reinforcement using pigeons as
subjects. Pigeons have generally been considered prime subjects
in the analysis of positive reinforcement contingencies (e.g.,
Ferster, 1953), and the analysis of operant behavior (i.e., beha
vior modified by its consequences) under such contingencies owes
a great deal to them (e.g., Ferster & Skinner, 1957). In contrast,
they have been used infrequently in the analysis of behavior con-
tv oiled by negative reinforcement contingencies, and until very
recently, their absence was highly conspicuous. One reason for
41


42
this apparent omission may be purely logistical. Electric shock
is most often delivered through the feat of subjects standing on
an electrified floor. Pigeons, however, do not conduct electricity
readily through their feet, unless special procedures, such as ap
plication of graphite (Ferster & Skinner, 1957) and extremely high
electrical currents are used. Implanted electrodes (e.g., Azrin,
1959) may circumvent these problems at the expense of daily moni
toring and cleaning, as v/el 1 as the increased risk of infection.
Thus, many invesitgators may simply be responding to these incon
veniences and opting for more (at least structurally if not behav-
iorally) "cooperative" subjects, such as rats and monkeys. How
ever, recent suggestions (e.g., Bolles, 1970, 1973) that the "laws"
of negative reinforcement may lack "interpecies generality" (Sid-
man, 1960) have spurred a renewed interest in the demonstration
of pigeon behavior acquired and maintained by negative reinforce
ment contingencies.
A second bias, interacting with the one previously mentioned,
appears to have increased further the difficulty of providing dem
onstrations of negatively-reinforced behavior in pigeons. Speci
fically, it appears that the acquisition of key pecking, the most
widely measured behavior of pigeons, may be retarded by the use of
electric shock as an aversive stimulus. Shock elicits neck-con
traction in pigeons (Smith, Gustavson & Gregor, 1972), a response
incompatible with the targeted response, the key peck. Thus, com
petition between elicited and operant responses may impede the ac
quisition of the latter. Indeed, it appears that a number of


43
other responses of pigeons, such as head lifting (Hoffman & Fles-
cher, 1959), shuttling (e.g., Baum, 1973; MacPhail, 1968) and treadle
pressing (e.g., Dinsmoor & Sears, 1973: Foree & LoLordo, 1970; Klein
& Rilling, 1972, 1974; Rilling & Budnick, 1975; Smith & Keller,
1970) may be acquired more readily than key pecking under negative
reinforcement contingencies. While studies demonstrating the con
trol of responses other than key pecking by negative reinforcement
indicate that the behavior of pigeons is not completely "immune11
to negative reinforcement, they do so at the expense of direct com
parison to the extant literature on key pecking under other sources
of control.
Sidman (1960) noted that differences between species and re-
ponse classes may more directly reflect important differences in
the training procedures used than in the inherent characteristics
of the classes. This appears to be at least partially the case
with key pecking under the control of shock-reduction. A number
of investigators have now demonstrated that key pecking can be
shaped by response-contingent termination of trains of increasingly-
intense brief shocks (e.g., Alves de Morares & Todorov, 1977;
Ferrari & Todorov, 1980; Ferrari, Todorov & Graeff, 1973; Hineline
& Rachlin, 1969_a, 1969b/, Rachlin & Hineline, 1967; Todorov, Ferrari
& o'e Souza, 1974) or that control can be transferred from positive
to negative reinforcement contingencies (e.g., Foree & LoLordo,
1974; Gardner & Lewis, 1977; Lewis, Lewin, Stoyack & Muehleisen,
1974; but cf. Schwartz & Coulter, 1971). However, the necessary


44
and sufficient parameters responsible for the acquisition of key
pecking have not been delineated fully, and the shaping procedures
may be somewhat arduous, requiring a large investment of experi
menter time or a degree of initial pretraining involving positive
reinforcement. Given these difficulties, it is doubtful that many
investigators will be willing to use pigeons as subjects when
studying negative reinforcement.
The problems encountered when attempting to study negative
reinforcement contingencies with pigeons do not stem primarily
from either the use of the key peck as the measured response or
electric shock as the aversive stimulus, but rather from the in
teractions inherent in their combined use. Hence, two possible
experimental tactics are available. One involves measuring re
sponses other than key pecking under negative reinforcement pro
cedures based on electric shock-termination, -postponement, -in-
tensity-reduction, etc. Such procedures, as discussed above, have,
by and large been successful. Unfortunately, the results obtained
may not be readily generalizable to the vast literature involving
key pecking maintained by contingencies other than negative rein
forcement, in that responses other than key pecking may not be
as free as key pecking to vary across some measured dimension.
For example, it is doubtful that a pigeon can press a treadle or
lift its head as frequently for extended periods of time as it
can peck a key. While this assumption may with further analysis
prove incorrect, the fact remains that key pecking under sources


45
cf control other than negative reinforcement has been and continues
to be more frequently analyzed than any other behavior of pigeons.
Given the availability of this reference source, it would seem to
be a disservice to relinquish it on the basis of methodological
problems alone. The other available tactic, developing procedures
involving key-peck-ccntingent reductions in some physical charac
teristic of an aversive stimulus other than electric shock, may
be useful in this regard.
The prime candidate for an alternative aversive stimulus is
"time-out," a signalled period during which positive reinforce
ment is never experimentally programmed. Time-out has been used
successfully as an aversive stimulus with rats (D'Andrea, 1971;
McMillan, 1967), monkeys (e.g., Ferster, 1958), pigeons (e.g.,
Ferster, 1958; Thomas, 1965, 1965bJ and humans (Baron & Gal azio,
1976; Baron & Kaufman, 1966). The presentation of time-out does
not require any special subject preparation or apparatus, and is
thus logistically simpler to program than electric shock presen
tation.
The use of time-out with pigeons is additionally alluring,
in that it may be used both to engender and maintain key pecking.
Specifically, a number of investigators have reported that food-
deprived pigeons will peck at a stimulus differentially correlated
with the presentation of food (see Schwartz & Gamzu (1977) for a
recent review of this literature). Since the presentation of
time-out requires that it alternate with another stimulus


46
situation during which reinforcement is available ("time-in"),
one can "autoshape" (Brown & Jenkins, 1068) key pecking by locating
the time-in stimulus behind the response key. Thus, key pecking
may be reliably acquired with little or no preliminary training
(other than training the subject to eat from the food magazine).
Although an aid in the acquisition of key pecking, the pre
sence of stimulus-reinforcer contingencies requires that their
contribution to key pecking subsequently-maintained by negative
reinforcement contingencies be assessed. (As an aside, the term
"stimulus-reinforcer" should in the present context be translated
"stimulus-food presentation," as it is most commonly used by
others with schedules of response-independent or -dependent food
presentation. It is not meant to describe differential relations
between the presentation of particular stimuli and the occurrence
of negative reinforcement.) Specifically, intermittent presen
tations of food or shock may elicit or otherwise "induce" be
haviors (see, for example, Hutchinson (1977) and Staddon (1977)
for recent reviews of these effects) which are or are not topo
graphically similar to the operant response under investigation.
To the extent that responses evoked by non-operant sources of con
trol are topographically similar to the operant response, the
separate contributions of operant and non-operant contingencies
may "additively" interact in producing the overall frequency of
the observed response. Conversely, if the operant and non-operant
response classes are incompatible, the contingencies responsible


47
for these response classes will produce a degree of "competition"
between the two classes, since the occurrence of a member of one
class will (momentarily) preclude the occurrence of a member of
the other class. For example, key pecking directed towards stim
uli differentially correlated with food delivery would be indis
tinguishable (on the basis of frequency, at least) from operant
key pecks when these stimuli are projected on the operandum used
to measure the latter. Thus, changes in the frequency of elicited
key pecking resulting indirectly from manipulations of the operant
contingency (i.e., resulting from changes in the frequency of, for
example, time-out presentations and not from changes in the direct
consequences of responding) might obscure functional relations
between the operant contingency and the frequency of operant key
pecking.
Interactions such as the ones described above between op
erant and non-operant response classes may be examined in a num
ber of ways. One method involves response-independent presenta
tion of stimulus events in precisely the same manner as under a
previous condition during which the operant contingency was in
force. Differences between responding maintained in the presence
of the operant contingency and that maintained in its absence but
with "yoked" distributions of stimulus presentations allow evalu
ation of the importance of the operant contingency in maintaining
the behavior observed under the former (see, e.g., Coulson, Coul-
son & Gardner, 1970; Smith, 1973). They do not, however, allow


48
for direct measurement of the independent contributions of operant
and r.on-operant contingencies to behavior under such procedures.
That is, responding maintained in the absence of a specific op
erant contingency (i.e., under the yoked procedure) may be pri
marily non-operant or may reflect the occurrence of spurious cor
relations between responses and stimulus events, leading to the
"superstitious" (see Skinner, 1948) maintenance of operant behav
ior, or some combination thereof.
A more direct method of assessment involves "topographical
tagging" (e.g., Catania, 1971, 1973; Keller, 1974) of different
response classes, such that responses maintained by one set of
contingencies are primarily directed towards one operandum, while
responses under an alternate source of control occur on a sepa
rate operandum. With respect to the two sources of control over
key pecking discussed above, such a "tagging" operation involves
removing stimuli differentially correlated with the delivery of
food from the key on which responses result in the presentation
of reinforcement. Since any stimuli subsequently projected on
this key are no longer differentially correlated with reinforce
ment, they should elicit no pecking, and responses on this key
should primarily be under the control of operant contingencies.
Elicited pecking should be directed towards the re-located
reinforcement-correlated stimuli. By projecting these stimuli
on a key other than that used to define operant responses, elic
ited responses may not only be separated from operant ones, but
additionally may independently be measured.


The present set of studies examined key pecking maintained
under free-operant avoidance of time-out from response-indepen
dent food presentation. Experiment I involved manipulation of
the response--tima-out (RS) interval (the amount of time each
key peck postponed the next time-out) while maintaining a con
stant time-out--time-out interval (which specified the time be
tween successive time-outs in the absence of a response). Ex
periment II examined the effect of removing the postponement
contingency while presenting comparable frequencies and distri
butions of time-out response-independently. Finally, the in
dependent contributions of the postponement and stimulus-rein
forcer contingencies to the behavior observed were examined dur
ing Experiment III.


CHAPTER IV
EXPERIMENT I
Rates of responding under free-operant avoidance procedures
generally increase as the delay achieved by a response increases
to a value equal to or slightly less than the time between suc
cessive aversive events in the absence of responding, and then
decrease exponentially as the response-contingent delay is length
ened further (e.g., Clark & Hull, 1966; Klein & Rilling, 1972;
Sidman, 1953; Thomas, 1965a/, Todorov, Ferrari & de Souza, 1974).
Responding is generally maintained at a fairly constant rate
with occasional transient increases ("bursts") following the
presentation of an aversive event (Boren, 1961; Ellen & Wilson,
1964). Although the overall response rate is fairly constant,
the times between successive responses, or interresponse-times
(IRTs), often are distributed non-randomly. The conditional
probability of an IRT=jt sec (i.e., the probability of a response
t sec after the preceding one given that t_ or more sec have e-
lapsed) has been reported to increase as a function of IRT length
with rats (e.g., Libby & Church, 1974; Sidman, 1966) and pigeons
(Jowaisas, 1977). This type of temporal control need not always
develop prior to or concurrent with the development of stable
performance (in terms of overall rates of responding) under free-
operant avoidance paradigms (Sidman, 1966, particularly pp. 464 ff).
50


51
The present experiment extends Thomas's (1965a) analysis of
key peeking maintained under free-operant. avoidance of time-out
from response-independent food presentation. In Thomas's study,
food was briefly presented response-independently at random intervals
averaging 1 (or 3) min, except during 5 min time-outs that occurred
every 10 sec in the absence of a key peck. Each key peck post
poned the next time-out (under different experimental phases)
for either 20, 30, 60, or 120 sec. The present study examined
key pecking under a similar time-out-postponement procedure, but
differed with respect to parameters of time-out duration and the
length of response contingent time-out delay. Responses postponed
the occurrence of the next 20-sec time-out from response-indepen
dent food presentation for some fixed period of time (either 5,
10, 20, or 40 sec). Otherwise, time-outs were presented every
5 sec. Except during time-out, food was briefly presented at
random intervals averaging 30 sec. In addition to these para
metric differences between the two studies, the present study
provides a more extensive analysis than Thomas's by including ;
response rates during both time-in and time-out, number of time
outs delivered and IRT distributions.
Method
Subjects
Three adult male, White Carneaux pigeons (Columba 1ivia),
previously used in an undergraduate laboratory course, were


52
initially reduced to 30% of their free-feeding weights (475, 400
and 415 g for P-7820, P-9275 and P-6441, respectively). They were
subsequently mainta ined on a 23 h deprivation regimen, with post-
session feeding of mixed grain restricted so as to maintain the
specified level of body weight. Each subject was individually housed
in a colony room and had continuous access to water and health grit
between experimental sessions.
Apparatus
Experimental sessions were conducted in a pigeon condition
ing unit similar to that described by Ferster and Skinner (1957),
measuring 30 cm wide by 31 cm long by 31 cm deep. An aluminum
sheet served as the front wall of the chamber, all other walls were
painted flat black. The front wall contained three standard re
sponse keys (R. Gerbrands, Co.) located 22 cm above the grid floor.
Only the center key, located 15.5 cm from either side edge of the
front wall, was operative. A static force of 0.15 N applied to
the key briefly activated a "feedback" relay mounted behind the
front wall and was recorded as a response. The key could be trans-
illuminated with light from either of two 1.1-W, 28-V dc lamps lo
cated behind it and which were covered with either a white or red
cap, respectively. A plexigls extension mounted on the key pro
truded 0.15 c.m beyond the front wall. (Such extensions have oc
casionally been reported to aid in the acquisition of key pecking
under autoshaping procedures (e.g., Rachlin, 1969).) The other
two keys did not extend beyond the front wall and remained dark


53
throughout the course of the experiment. Directly beneath the cen
ter key was a 6 cm by 5 cm aperture through which mixed grain could
be presented, dependent on the operation of a solenoid-driven grain
feeder. A 1.1 -W- 28-V dc lamp located directly above and behind
this aperture was lit during grain presentations. General illumi
nation during experimental sessions was provided by two 1.1-U, 28-V
dc houselights located in either upper corner of the front wall and
mounted behind reflectors which prevented direct downward illumi
nation. The chamber was located in a room where white masking noise
was continuously present. Noise from a ventilation fan mounted on
the chamber ceiling also helped mask extraneous sounds. A PDP-8/f
minicomputer, located in an adjacent room and operating under the
SKED (Snapper, Stephens & Lee, 1974) or SuperSKED (Snapper & Inglis,
1978) software systems, programmed stimuli and recorded data. Also,
cumulative response records of each session were generated by a
Gerbrands (Model C-3) Cumulative Recorder located in the same room
as the computer.
Procedure
Daily, one-hour sessions consisted of two possible stimulus
situations with respect to keylight color; continuous transillumi-
riation with either white or red light. In the presence of the white
light ("time-in"), grain was presented for 2 sec at random intervals
averaging 30 sec (determined by a probability generator set equal
to 0.03 and sampled every sec), whereas in the presence of a red
keylight grain was never presented ("time-out"). Grain was also


54
never presented within 3 sec. of titne-out termination but could oc
cur immediately prior to a time-out or immediately after a response,
food presentation was not delayed after responses in an attempt to
maintain the frequency of food presentation constant in the pre
sence of large changes in response rate. Responses to the white
key produced a "click" from the feedback relay and postponed the
next time-out for the amount of time specified by the RT interval.
In the absence of responding, time-outs followed one another at
5-sec intervals (i.e., TT interval=5 sec). Neither the TT or RT
interval timed during food presentations. Termination of each
20-sec time-out was signalled by a brief (0.25 sec) darkening of
the houselights in addition to reillumination of the key with white
light. The RT interval length was manipulated across phases in
successive order from 20 to 10 to 40 to 5 sec, while maintaining
the TT interval equal to 5 sec. Each condition remained in effect
until response rates in time-in and numbers of time-outs presented
per session showed minimal variability and no apparent trends for
20 consecutive daily sessions as determined by visual examination
of graphic displays of these measures. The number of sessions
each subject was exposed to the different RT interval values is
presented in Table 1.
Since all subjects had histories involving magazine training
and key pecking, little preliminary training was involved. One
subject (P-7820) was exposed to a variety of preliminary "pilot"
conditions, during which a number of variables (e.g., session


TABLE 1
LIST OF CONDITIONS AND SUMMARY MEASURES FOR EACH SUBJECT DURING EXPERIMENT I
S'JoJECT
P.I KfTEPVAL
(ssc)
SESSIONS
(ORDER)
PcSPuNSE RAT
T1 ir-2 i n
: P/'Ko)
T
tr\-.-cJTs
P-7320
5
72
43.62
0.71
41.7
(4)
(35.00-53.10)
(0.24-1.54)
(33-53)
10
96
20.82
0.33
46.3
(2)
(16.50-25.32)
(0.10-0.78)
(35-65)
20
171
(1)
12.18
(10.50-15.36)
0.24
(0.00-0.85)
25.0
(9-39)
<0
71
(3)
7.80
(6.42-11.16)
0.10
(0.24-1.54)
13.0
(5-32)
P-9275
5
42
21.72
0.27
105.2
(4)
(17.34-26.10)
(0.14-0.49)
(95-114)
10
ICO
17.58
0.19
41.0
(2)
(15.06-19.85)
(0.CO-0.44)
(30-72)
20
74
8.94
0.14
31.5
0)
(7.14-10.44)
(0.00-0.44)
(24-47)
. 40
30
5.28
0.10
27.5
(3)
(4.20-6.35)
(0.00-C.25)
(17-35)
P-6441
5
69
33.16
2.53
25.0
(4)
(32.70-42.60)
(1 .23-3.95)
(13-42)
10
45
20. £3
1 .23
11 .3
(2)
(IS.80-26.92}
(0.17-2.71)
(5-13)
20
103
12. .0
1.7"
] :>. ?.
(!)
(10.44-15.20)
v>. .PT}
(7-33)
40
3.50
uf;
r. r
(3)
(5.40-13.2?)
{a.* T-T .C7}
10-11)
VaRis snow
n or t'm r
-
rv-Ju d-i r f s ci
hy id,:* ;:= r3-
eacSj r inl¡;
rvjl. r-jn:
;--s r..~
c'iii :t /-jc! tjrir.o tr..
' -T L: \vi
rtv.lhsscr..


56
length, stimulus conditions, feeder cycle length, etc.) were un
systematically manipulated. The others were placed directly un
der the first experimental condition, with two slight exceptions.
First, the feeder cycle was initially set at 4 sec. This value
remained in effect until visual observation showed that each sub
ject ate readily following the presentation of the magazine, at
which point the cycle duration was reduced and subsequently main
tained at 2 sec. Second, the probability of food presentation
each sec was adjusted so that approximately one-half of the ini
tial time-in periods contained a food presentation. This value
was maintained until the first key peck, after which it was re
duced to the value used subsequently throughout the experiment
(i.e., 0.03).
Results
Both subjects initially placed directly under the experi
mental procedure pecked the response key within 15 min of the be
ginning of the first session. For all subjects, pecking occurred
first during time-in, and always occurred more frequently during
time-in than during time-out. Informal visual observations sug
gested that pecks during time-out generally occurred during the
first few sec of a time-out, and often were initiated prior to
time-out presentation.
Table 1 presents the means and ranges of summary measures
obtained across the last 20 sessions of each condition for each


57
subject. Response rates during time-in, graphically depicted in
Fig. 1, were generally linearly decreasing functions of RT inter
val length when plotted on double-log arithmetic axes. (The cor
respondence betv/een the mean and median response rates observed
during the last 20 sessions under each RT interval suggested that
daily session variability in this measure was generally normally
distributed.) The exceptions to this generalization were the data
from P-9275, whose response rate deviated from the linear function
at the shortest RT interval. In contrast, response rates during
time-out were not reliably different under the different condi
tions. Although the mean time-out response rate in some cases
shov/ed systematic decreases with increases in RT interval length,
the ranges of values at all RT intervals show considerable over
lap.
The relationship between RT interval and the number of time
outs delivered per session (see Fig. 2) was less consistent across
subjects than that between RT interval and time-in response rate.
Although there was a tendency for time-out presentations to de
crease with longer RT intervals, these decreases were not syste
matically related to RT interval length. It is of interest to
note the large differences in response rate under different RT in
tervals in the presence of similar frequencies of time-out presen
tation. For example, compare response and time-out rates for P-7820
under RT interval=5 and 10 sec and for P-6441 under RT interval=5
and 20 sec.


Figure 1. Response rates during time-in for each subject
as a function of the RT interval. Points, horizontal lines
and vertical bars represent means, medians and ranges of value
observed, respectively, during the last 20 days exposure to
each RT interval. Points have been slightly displaced to in
crease clarity. Note the logarithmic axes.


p"'>
V
H i
[ h |
r- t v !
v:
\


Figure 2. Numbers of time-outs delivered to each subject
as a function of the RT interval. Figure characteristics are
the same as those for Fig. 1.




62
Cumulative response records obtained under the different RT
interval values are presented for each subject in Fig. 3. Response
rates were fairly constant within sessions, with occasional bursts
following time-out (some examples of these have been denoted in
the figure by arrows). Conspicuously absent from these records
are any large "warm-up" effects (i.e., decreased response and in
creased aversive stimulus rates early in the session; see, e.g.,
Hineline, 1978a, 1978b; Sidman, 1966) characteristically shown
by rats, but as yet unreported in pigeons, under comparable shock-
postponement procedures. Although a careful analysis of such ef
fects was not conducted, informal observation suggested that re
sponse rates were usually higher early in the session than late
(e.g., see records for P-7820 at RT interval=5 and 10 sec, P-9275
at 5 and 20 sec, and P-6441 at 5 sec).
Patterns of responding within the RT interval are presented
in Fig. 4. (Due to a program malfunction data are available for
only some conditions.) Shown are the relative frequencies and
conditional probabilities (i.e., IRTs/0p) of IRTs in each fifth
of the RT interval averaged across the last 5 sessions under each
condition. All subjects showed a high relative frequency of IRTs
in the first class interval ("bin"), usually with monotonically
decreasing frequencies thereafter. Three of the eight condi
tional probability distributions, however, show clear increases
in the conditional probability of an IRT at values longer than the
second bin. Subject P-7820 produced U-shaped distributions of


Figure 3. Representative cumulative records for each subject under the different
RT intervals. In each record, time reads from left to right. The upper (response)
pen stepped vertically with each response during time-in, reset to baseline after 550
responses, and was deflected during time-out (and the motor stopped). Defections of
the lower (event) pen denote food presentations. Records were selected from sessions
that most closely approximated both the median response rate and number of time-outs
delivered at each RT interval.


500 R
64
30 min
H


Figure 4. Relative frequency (filled circles) and con
ditional probability (open circles) distributions for IRTs in
fifths of the RT interval. Points and vertical bars represent
means and ranges, respectively, of values observed during the
last 5 sessions at each RT interval. (Due to an apparatus mal
function, data are only available for some RT intervals.) Ranges
of points without vertical bars are contained within the point.


PROBABILITY x IOO
REL FREQ O o |RT's/0PP
65
R-T=5 sec R-T=I0 sec R-T-20sec R-T=40sac
I
(l-sec bins)
(2-sec bins) (4-sec bins)
P-6441 '
i i mi
12 3 4 5
(8-sec bins)
INTERRESPONSE-TIME BIN


67
IRTs/Op at all RT intervals, although the differences in condi
tional probabilities between IRT classes were small at RT interval
10 sec. Interresponse-time distributions of P-9275 showed little
temporal control over responding by RT interval at any RT inter
val length, whereas distributions for P-6441 showed temporal con
trol over IRTs at RT interval=5 sec but not 20 sec.
The development of steady-state performance occasionally re
quired a great deal of exposure to the different RT interval values,
due more to short-term oscillations in response rate than to grad
ual transitions between experimental phases. Indeed, initial tran
sitions were generally very rapid. Data depicting such transi
tions for P-6441, a representative subject, are presented in Fig. 5
in the form of cumulative response records. On the left are cumu
lative records obtained during the last day of exposure to one RT
interval, and on the right those obtained under the first day of
exposure to the subsequent RT interval. Comparison of records on
the right with those immediately below it on the left (the first
and last day of exposure to a specific RT interval, respectively)
reveals that response rates approximating those obtained after
extended exposure were generally obtained by the last third of the
first session under the new RT interval value.
Discussion
Key pecking was reliably and quickly engendered in all sub
jects under the present procedure. It should be noted that the


Figure 5. Cumulative records depicting transitions in
key pecking of P-6441 between different RT intervals. Records
on the left show responding during the last session at a specific
RT interval value, those on the right during the first session
of the subsequent value. The first and last day of exposure to a
particular RT interval is shown, respectively, in a recordon the
right and the one immediately beneath it on the left. Recording
characteristics are the same as those for Fig. 3.


500 R's
65
R-T=>40
rtr r r gt / nrrrr
R-T35 stci R-T^gO sac
I-
30 min


70
procedure used to establish key pecking in two of the subjects
(P-9275 and P-6441) was merely a modification of the procedure
used by Brown and Jenkins (1968) to "autoshape" key pecking. Un
der their procedure, one stimulus was reliably followed after 8 sec
by the presentation of food, while food was never presented in the
presence of a second stimulus. Under the present procedure, the
time-in and time-out stimuli, respectively, defined a similar
differential relation with respect to food delivery (see, e.g.,
Gamzu & Williams, 1971, 1973), with the exception that food pre
sentation could occur anytime during the presence of the former
stimulus, not just following it.
The linear relation obtained in the present study between
time-in response rate and RT interval (when plotted on double
log axes) was comparable to ones reported by Thomas (1965aJ, who
used a similar procedure, and by others using analagous shock-
postponement procedures (e.g., Clark & Hull, 1966; Klein & Ril
ling, 1972; Sidman, 1953; Todorov, Ferrari & de Souza, 1974),
suggesting that responding was maintained in similar ways.
Whether response rates would have decreased at even shorter RT
intervals, as it does in other species (e.g., Sidman, 1953) can
not be readily determined, since RT intervals shorter than the
TT interval were not examined. However, P-9275's deviation from
the linear function towards a lower response rate at RT interval=
5 sec may be indicative of that kind of process.
Although the functions obtained were similar, the absolute
response rates observed in the present study were much greater


71
than those obtained by Thomas (1965a_). Response rates observed by
Thomas ranged from approximately 0.4-3.6 R/min, but from approxi
mately 5.0-40.0 R/min under the present procedure. Given the num
ber of procedural differences between the two studies, it is im
possible to interpret these differences. However, differences in
time-out duration and/or rate of food presentation, while producing
different absolute response rates, did not substantially change
the form of the functions obtained here relating response rate
during time-in to RT interval from that observed by Thomas. This
suggests that the "behavioral process" represented by this func
tion may be largely independent of variables other than the length
of response-contingent delay of time-out.
One procedural feature seemed to enhance performance greatly
during initial pilot studies. During pilot experiments, as in
Thomass study, the time-in and time-out stimuli were signalled
originally only by colors of the keylight, with the houselight
remaining continuously illuminated. Under this pilot procedure,
presentation of the time-out stimulus was followed typically by
the subject turning away from the stimulus and engaging in other
behavior (e.g., pecking the floor, preening, etc.). As such, the
subject would typically be facing away from the response key when
time-out ended. Often, the subsequent time-in period would e-
lapse and another time-out ensue. A brief darkening of the house-
light at time-out termination was therefore employed in an attempt
to provide a discriminative stimulus which would be effective


72
regardless of the subject's orientation with respect to the re
sponse key. The addition of this stimulus resulted in rapid ter
mination of other ongoing behavior when time-in began and immedi
ate approach towards the response key, thus enhancing performance.
The patterns of responding maintained under the present pro
cedure were also highly comparable to those reported for rats bar
pressing under comparable shock-postponement procedures (e.g.,
Boren, 1961; Ellen & Wilson, 1964) with the exception of the ap
parent absence of a large warm-up effect (e.g., Hineline, 1978^,
1978t); Sidman, 1966). If further analysis substantiates the lack
of warm-up, it may lend credence to Hineline's (1978aJ sugges
tion that such effects reflect habituation of non-operant behaviors
evoked by aversive stimulation. It is possible that elicited key
pecking directed at the stimulus signalling food delivery inter
acted with negatively-reinforced key pecking in ways functionally
similar to the interactions suggested by Hineline. However,
rather than "competing" with operant behavior as Hineline sug
gests it does under free-operant shock-postponement procedures,
elicited behavior under the present procedure may have combined
additively with negatively-reinforced key pecking since the food-
correlated stimulus was located on the response key. Hence, re
sponse rates early in the session might be expected to be increased,
rather than decreased early in the session, due to this transient
additive influence. There are presently no data describing within-
session changes in elicited pecking to either support or refute
this interpretation.


73
The inconsistent development of temporal control over re
sponding by RT interval length (as evidenced by increasing con
ditional IRT probabilities with increases in IRT length) across
subjects and RT intervals cannot at the present time be inter
preted with confidence. Sidman (1955) suggested that such con
trol may occasionally develop slowly, and that stable rates of
responding may be maintained without concomitant evidence of tem
poral control by RT interval length. Although each RT interval
was in effect for a comparatively large number of sessions during
the present study, the number necessary for this type of control
to develop (if it does reliably develop) is at the present time
unknown. It is clear from the present results that such control
did not develop rapidly. However, since RT intervals were changed
during the present study without regard to the distribution of
IRTs, it is possible that extended exposure to each value would
have resulted in increased temporal control over responding. It
may be of interest in this regard that P-7820 (who most consis
tently evidenced some degree of temporal control over responding)
was generally exposed to each RT interval longer than the other
subjects.
In any event, it is clear that the vast majority of IRTs
fell v/ithing the range specified by the first bin in each dis
tribution. It has been suggested that certain topographical
characteristics of key pecking may result in the transduction
of extremely short (less than 0.8 sec) IRTs which do not appear


74
to be subject to control by positive reinforcement contingencies
(e.g., Blough, 1966; Shimp, 1973). Whether this is the case here
is difficult to ascertain given the relatively large class inter
vals used in the IRT analysis.
Although the present results suggest comparability between
free-operant avoidance of time-out and avoidance of other aver
sive events, other interpretations are possible. First, the
absence of a delay between a key peck and subsequent presenta
tion of food may have led to the "superstitious" maintenance of
key pecking. Although this claim cannot be refuted directly, it
is difficult to see how decreases in the RT interval could pro
duce increases in the frequency of accidental correlations be
tween responses and food presentations necessary to account for
the systematic increases in response rate observed at progres
sively shorter RT intervals. It might, in fact, be easier to
argue the converse. That is, the frequency of spurious cor
relations might be expected to increase with increases in the
amount of time-in time (and, hence, at longer RT intervals).
However, it is possible that response rate increases initially
produced by decreases in RT interval length may subsequently in
crease the probability of close contiguity or frequency of dif
ferential accidental correlations between responses and food
presentations. These correlations may then further increase
response rate, thus tending to overestimate the increase pro
duced by the postponement contingency alone. However, such


75
effects depend on the initial modification of behavior by the
postponement contingency, and cannot, therefore, suggest that
the avoidance contingencies were of little importance.
A second alternative interpretation of the present results
involves the role of elicited key pecking under procedures in
volving differential stimulus-reinforcer contingencies. As pre
viously discussed, food-deprived pigeons will peck at stimuli
differentially correlated with the delivery of food. Addition
ally, the rate of pecking appears to increase as the duration of
a signal differentially correlated with food presentation de
creases relative to the duration of stimuli signalling either
the absence of food (e.g., Baldock, 1974; Terrace, Gibbon, Far
rell & Baldock, 1975) or a decreased frequency of food presen
tation (Spealman, 1976). Applied to the present situation, the
relative duration of the time-in stimulus (signalling imminent
food presentation) decreased with increases in the number of time
outs (signalling the absence of food) presented. Since the num
ber of time-outs delivered tended to increase with decreases in
the RT interval (and thus the relative "time-in" time decreased),
the increased rates of responding at shorter RT intervals might
be ascribed solely to increases in the rate of elicited key peck
ing. Although the large differences noted in response rates un
der the different RT interval values in the presence of similar
rates of time-out presentation (see Figs. 1 and 2, particularly
data for P-7820 at RT interval=5 and 10 sec and for P-6441 at


76
RT interval=5 and 20 sec) argue against such an interpretation,
it might be argued that, while frequencies of time-out under the
different conditions were comparable, the distributions of inter-
time-out-intervals (times between successive time-out presenta
tions) may not have been, thus producing differences in the rate
of elicited pecking. Data obtained in the second and third ex
periments suggest, however, that an interpretation based solely
on elicited key pecking cannot account for the performance gen
erated under this procedure.


CHAPTER V
EXPERIMENT II
Interpretation of the results of Experiment I solely in terms
of elicited key pecking would suggest that the response-contingent
postponement of time-out was of little importance in the mainte
nance of different rates of key pecking except in providing a
changing number of time-out presentations. If this interpretation
is correct, then presentation of similar distributions of time
out independently of responding should produce little change in the
rates of key pecking maintained. Conversely, interpretations
based on the negative reinforcement provided by response-contingent
delay of aversive stimulation would suggest that removal of such a
contingency (i.e., programming "extinction") would result in
decreases in response rate.
A number of extinction procedures have been used in the analy
sis of behavior maintained under free-operant avoidance procedures.
The first consists simply of no longer presenting the aversive
stimulus, and generally results in fairly rapid reductions in
response rate (e.g., Boren & Sidman, 19571a; Schnidman, 1958).
Although the effects of this manipulation are similar to extinc
tion of positively reinforced behavior (where responding no longer
results in the presentation of reinforcement), it has been argued
77


78
that such a manipulation decreases responding through behavioral
mechanisms other than extinction qua extinction. Davenport, Coger
and Spector (1970), for example, have argued that the removal of
shock reduces response rates either by removing the "motivation"
that usually increases the effectiveness of aversive-stimulus delay
as a reinforcer (much as pre-session feeding decreases responding
maintained by response-contingent food presentation), or by rein
forcing all responses equally, since all responses "delay" aver
sive stimulation for equal amounts of time. They suggest that a
more "proper" extinction procedure would involve elimination of
any response-contingent delay to the next aversive event, not
elimination of the event itself, since the former, not the latter,
presumably constitutes reinforcement under free-operant avoidance
paradigms. Thus, for example, they would argue that, after train
ing under a free-operant shock-postponement procedure with an RS
interval~15 sec and an SS interval=5 sec, extinction would involve
presentation of shock every 5 sec, independent of responding. This
procedure does generally decrease response rates (e.g., Davenport,
Coger & Spector, 1970; Davenport & Olson, 1968) but also produces
a more or less drastic change in the prevailing stimulus conditions,
depending on the level of responding maintained originally under
the postponement procedure. That is, for an animal reliably
responding within the RS interval (and thus reliably delaying
shock), the sudden presentation of shock ever 5 sec serves as a


79
highly discriminadle change in the prevailing contingencies. Coulson,
Cotilson and Gardner (1970), recognizing this fact, have suggested
a third procedure for the extinction of negatively reinforced beha
vior, involving the suspension of any response-contingent delay
while maintaining comparable frequencies and distributions of
response-independent aversive-event delivery. This procedure is
also effective in reducing response rates, however, responding
generally decreases more slowly and does not cease altogether
(Coulson, Coulson & Gardner, 1970; Smith, 1973).
This last procedure is most relevant to the question of the
role of elicited key pecking under the time-out delay procedure
of Experiment I. To reiterate, key pecking maintained under the
time-out-delay procedure should not be greatly affected by response-
independent presentation of similar temporal distributions of time
outs if such responding is solely elicited by occasional presenta
tion of the time-in stimulus. If, however, key pecking under this
procedure depends on response-contingent delay of time-out, remov
al of the delay contingency, even in the presence of continued oc
casional presentation of time-out, should reduce response rates.
The present experiment examined responding maintained under such
a procedure and provided data on the recoverability of the per
formance engendered during Experiment I.


80
Method
Subjects and Apparatus
The subjects and apparatus used were the same as in Experi
ment I.
Procedure
Directly following exposure to RT interval=5 sec under Experi
ment I, each subject was returned to a previously examined RT inter
val; P-7820 to RT interval=10 sec, P-9275 to 40 sec and P-6441 to
20 sec. Exposure to a particular RT interval value was not ran
domly determined. Subject P-6441 finished the initial series first
and subsequently was returned to the first value studied (i.e.,
RT interval=20 sec). In an attempt to minimize differences in the
number of time-outs presented to each subject, P-9275 was subse
quently exposed to RT interval=40 sec. Subject P-7820 was exposed
to RT interval=10 sec in order to obtain data, albeit between sub
jects, at each of the three longer RT intervals. Responding was
allowed to stabilize at these values according to the stability
criterion outlined in Experiment I, and the sequential inter-time
out-intervals during each session were recorded. Subsequently,
the delay contingency was suspended, and time-outs were occasion
ally presented at variable times independently of responding, with
distributions "yoked" to those of the previous phase by program
ming inter-time-out-intervals equivalent to those obtained during
the 20th preceding session (when the delay contingency was in
effect). That is, the distribution of sequential inter-time-out-


81
intervals from each of the last twenty sessions under Lhe time-out
delay contingency was programmed in the same ordinal position for
a single session. Since time-out presentations occurred at varying
times response-independently and were yoked to presentations under
the delay contingency, this condition was termed a "yoked variable-
time" (yoked-VT) schedule of time-out presentation. All other para
meters of this procedure were equivalent to those in Experiment I.
The yoked-VT schedule remained in effect for 20 sessions, at which
point the delay contingency was reinstituted at the RT interval
value prevailing prior to implementation of the yoked-VT schedule.
Results
Absolute response rates and numbers of time-outs presented
under the initial reexposure to the RT interval and the subsequent
yoked-VT schedule are presented for each subject in Table 2. For
each subject, the rate of responding during reexposure to the RT
interval was very similar to that obtained during exposure to that
value in Experiment I. The correspondence between the number of
time-outs delivered during the first and second exposures was also
good, although differences may be noted (e.g., data for P-7820).
Response rates maintained under the postponement procedure
and the subsequent yoked-VT procedure are shown, as a percent of
the mean response rate under the postponement procedure, in Fig. 6.
(Absolute response rates and numbers of time-outs presented during
each session shown in Fig. 6 have been included in the Appendix.)


TABLE 2
LIST OF CONDITIONS AND SUMMARY MEASURES FOR ^\CH SUBJECT DURING EXPERIMENT II
¡OBJECT
CONDITION
SESSIONS
RESPONSE RATE (R/min)
TIME-OUTS
Time-in
Time-out
P-7820
RT interval=10 sec'
(101)
26.56
(22.92-29.22)
0.63
(0.08-1.48)
33.5
(25-46)
Yoked-VT:time-out
(20)
17.69
(14.10-22.56)
0.39
(0.07-1.12)

P-64A1
RT interval=20 sec
(118)
14.16
(10.20-18.42)
0.41
(0.00-1.01)
16.3
(7-31)
Yoked-VT:time-out
(20)
5.62
(4.29-7.32)
0.39
(0.20-0.48)

P-9275
RT interval=40 sec
(32)
4.25
(3.36-5.64)
0.08
(0.00-0.25)
27.8
(18-41)
Yoked-VT:time-out
(20)
2.54
(1.92-3.90)
0.06
(0.00-0.18)
aValues are the means of the last 20 (delay conditions) or 5 (yoked-YT) sessions under
each procedure. Ranges are shown in parentheses.


Figure 6. Daily session response rates for each subject
under the delay and yoked-VT contingencies. Data were taken
from the last 20 sessions under the delay contingency (to the
left of the vertical line) for from the 20 sessions the yoked-VT
contingency was in effect (to the right). Response rates are
expressed as a percentage of the mean rate during the last 20
sessions under the delay contingency.


BASELINE RESPONSE RATE
84
R-T-10 sec
Vexed VT TO
o
1 v,
T-
x* 1
-3' 1
1
1
. 1
-
u
P-7820
J r _
0 I i rJ r
R-T=20 sec Yoked VT TO
R-T=40sec Yoked VT TO


85
Removing the response-contingent delay decreased rates of respond
ing during time-in by at least 50% in every subject within the 20
sessions the yoked-VT schedule was in effect. Neither the degree
of relative suppression nor the rate with which responding was sup
pressed appeared to be systematically related to the RT interval
value under the postponement procedure. Absolute response rates
under the yoked-VT procedure were, by contrast, inversely related
to the RT interval (after 20 sessions exposure to this procedure).
Intrasession patterns of responding maintained in each subject
under the delay and the yoked-VT procedures are depicted in Fig. 7.
Cumulative response records presented were taken from the last
twenty sessions under the delay procedure or from the twenty days
the yoked-VT schedule was in effect. Three pairs of records are
shown for each subject, taken from the 1st, 11th and 20th session.
The pairs of records are from sessions during which the delay con
tingency was in effect (labelled "R"), and from the sessions under
the yoked-VT procedure (labelled "Y") which were matched with re
spect to time-out presentation to the former. (The records have
been overlayed to highlight the correspondence between inter-time-
out-intervals under the two procedures.) While response rates un
der the yoked-VT procedure generally progressively declined with
extended exposure to this contingency, no systematic differences
were observed in the patterns of responding. The subjects exposed
to the two longer RT intervals prior to the yoked phase (i.e.,
P-6441 and P-9275) both paused for long periods during the middle


Figure 7. Cumulative records from selected sessions under the delay contingency
and under the corresponding Yoked-VT session. Records were taken from the 1st, 11th or
20th session of the last 20 sessions the delay contingency was in effect and of the Yoked-VT
procedure. Records from sessions under the delay contingency (labeled "R" in the figure)
have been overlapped with records from corresponding sessions under the yoked-VT procedure
(labeled "Y" ). Event pen tracings have been removed fom each record, otherwise recording
characteristics are the same as those for Fig. 3. (Occassional extended deflections of the
response pen were the result of an infrequent mechanichal failure which did not stop the
motor during time-out.)


sS/on


88
of the 20th session under the yoked-VT procedure, and responded
earlier and later in the session at rates reduced below those un
der the delay procedure. Such intrasession variations in response
rate were not observed with P-7820, who, although responding at
rates lower than those under the delay contingency, still responded
at substantial rates after 20 days under the yoked-VT procedure.
Reinstatement of the postponement contingency increased re
sponse rates to values comparable to or above those observed prior
to the yoked-VT procedure. The length of this transition varied
between subjects, with P-7820, P-6441 and P-9275 responding at
rates equal to or above the mean rate under the postponement pro
cedure after 10, 25 or 1 session, respectively.
Discussion
The results of Experiment II indicated that 1) response rates
(and to a lesser degree time-out rates) obtained under reexposure
to an RT interval value were highly comparable to those obtained
under initial exposure to that value during Experiment I, and 2)
the delay contingency was essential in maintaining the rates of
responding observed under free-operant avoidance procedures when
time-out is used as an aversive stimulus. The decreases in response
rate observed when distributions of response-independent time-outs
were exactly matched to those of the immediately preceding response-
contingent delay procedure argue against the notion that key pecking
observed under the delay procedure was governed solely by stimulus-
reinforcer contingencies.


89
Although the present results indicate that the delay contin
gency was crucial in determining the rates of responding engen
dered, they do not rule out the possibility that elicited key peck
ing directed at the time-in stimulus occurred and thus contributed
to the overall rate of responding. Recall that the absolute rate
of responding under the yoked-VT procedure was inversely related
(after 20 sessions exposure) to the value of the preceding RT inter
val value. At least two interpretations of this effect are possible.
First, it might be suggested that shorter delays occur between
responses and subsequent response-independent time-outs as the aver
age inter-time-out-interval decreases. This may increase the like
lihood that "superstitious" negatively-reinforced responding will
occur at higher rates when the yoked distribution is taken from a
preceding condition involving a shorter RT interval (and hence,
possibly shorter inter-time-out-intervals). Alternatively, it
might be argued that decreasing the RT interval increases the num
ber of time-outs delivered (or the probability of short inter-time
out-intervals) and thus engenders more elicited pecking by decreas
ing the relative amount of "time-in" time (cf., Terrace, Gibbon,
Farrell & Baldock, 1975). Both the "superstitious maintenance"
and the "elicitation" notions rest on the assumption that the num
ber of time-outs delivered increases with decreases in the RT inter
val. Although an attempt was made to minimize differences between
subjects in the number of time-outs delivered during the yoked-VT


90
condition, some betwaen-subject differences may be noted (see
Tab 1e 2).
These two interpretations cannot be evaluated independently
under the procedures used thus far; either, both or neither could
be correct. Assuming the elicitation notion to be true, it is
possible that the slopes of the function relating response rate
during time-in to RT interval obtained during Experiment I are
greater than they would be in the absence of elicited behavior
directed at the stimuli on the response key (given the added
assumption that shorter RT intervals elicit more signal-directed
pecking). It is entirely possible that key pecking is controlled
by response-contingent delay of time-out, but not by the length
of the consequent delay. Experiment III provided evidence sug
gesting, however, that this is not the case.


CHAPTER VI
EXPERIMENT III
In food-deprived pigeons, pecking directed at some stimulus
typically occurs only when that stimulus signals a higher fre
quency or probability of food presentation than that signalled in
the absence of that stimulus (e.g., Brown & Jenkins, 1968; Gamzu &
Williams, 1973; Keller, 1974). Additionally, the probability and/
or rate of elicited pecking is inversely related to both the rela
tive and absolute duration of the positively-correlated stimulus
(e.g., Baldock, 1974; Spealman, 1978; Terrace, Gibbon, Farrell &
Baldock, 1975). Hence, a continuously present stimulus (i.e.,
one of long duration which is non-differentially correlated with
the presentation of food) should be less effective in eliciting
pecking than shorter, differentially-correlated stimuli.
Keller (1974) developed a procedure under which key pecks to
one operandum (the "food" key) occasionally resulted in the pre
sentation of food while responses to a second key had no scheduled
consequences. Presented on this latter key (the "signal" key)
were stimuli correlated with the availability of reinforcement
contingent on responses to the food key which was continuously il
luminated with a single stimulus. Keller argued that responses
to the signal key were predominantly elicited key pecks, since
91


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