1. What is a concurrent schedule? Diagram an example of a concurrent schedule that
might be used in an operant conditioning experiment with pigeons. What is the
likely pattern of behavior on a concurrent VR 20 VR 60 schedule of reinforcement,
and why is this the case?
- A concurrent schedule of reinforcement consists of the simultaneous
presentation of two or more independent schedules, leading to a reinforcer
- For example, a pigeon can choose to peck a red key that is on a VR 20
schedule to get food, or to peck a green key that is on a VR 50 schedule to get
- On a concurrent VR 20 VR 60 schedule, will see a higher response rate on the
VR 20 schedule because it is the one that results in the most reinforcement
2. Define the matching law and give the matching equation. Using the equation, show
what the matching law predicts concerning the distribution of behavior displayed
on a concurrent VI 10-sec VI 30-sec schedule of reinforcement. (Hint: What is the
expected distribution of reinforcers on this schedule?)
- The matching law describes that the proportion of responses emitted on a
particular schedule matches the proportion of reinforcers obtained on that
- R AR +AR = B /SRA RA+ S RB
R R R R R R
- S AS A + S B= 10/10 + 30 = 0.25 S /S A A + S B = 30/10+30 = 0.75
3. What is a changeover delay (COD)? In what sense is a COD similar to a foraging
situation with animals?
- Changeover delay (COD) is when the respondent switches to a different
schedule and must wait a short period of time before receiving the reinforcer
- This is similar to foraging with animals by simulating the time it would take
to get from one patch to another patch of food
4. What is overmatching versus undermatching? Give an example of overmatching and
undermatching (with hypothetical proportions) that might occur on a concurrent VI
20-sec VI 30-sec schedule (which means that you must first work out the expected
proportions with these schedules).
- Overmatching is the proportion of responses on the richer schedule versus
the poorer schedule is more different than would be predicted by matching
and occurs when the cost of moving from one alternative to another is very
- Undermatching is the proportion of responses on the richer schedule versus
the poorer schedule is less different than would be predicted by matching
and occurs when there is little cost for switching from one schedule to
5. What is bias from matching? Give an example of bias (with hypothetical
proportions) that might occur on a concurrent VI 15-sec VI 60-sec schedule, and
response alternatives consisting of a green key and a blue key.
- Bias from matching occurs when one response alternative attracts a higher
proportion of responses than would be predicted by matching, regardless of
whether that alternative contains the richer or poorer schedule of
reinforcement 6. Describe melioration theory. Briefly describe three ways, with examples, in which
the tendency to meliorate can reduce the overall level of reinforcement.
- The melioration theory describes that the distribution of behaviour in a
choice situation shifts toward those alternatives that have higher value
regardless of the long-term effect on the overall amount of reinforcement
- There are three ways in which the tendency to meliorate can reduce the level
- An alternate may not require as much responding as one is
distributing toward it to obtain all of the available reinforcers
- Overindulgence in a highly reinforcing alternative can often result in
long-term habituation to that alternative, thus reducing its value as a
- Melioration is often the result of behaviour being too strongly
governed by immediate consequences as opposed to delayed
7. What is the distinction between controlled response and controlling response?
What is the major difficulty with the use of self-reinforcement and self-punishment?
- A controlling response serves to a