Maintenance Of Key Pecking By Stimulus-Contingent And Response-Independent Food Presentation

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Journal Of The Experimental Analysis Of Behavior


Three naive pigeons were exposed to a series of two-component multiple schedules of response-independent food presentation. The component schedules were sometimes identical (non-differential procedures) and sometimes different (differential procedures). High rates of key pecking were maintained in all the differential procedures, and pecking decreased substantially in non-differential procedures, even when the frequency of food presentation in non-differential procedures was higher than in differential procedures. It is suggested that the high rates of key pecking were maintained not by adventitious response-reinforcer contingencies, but by differential contingencies between the stimulus (keylight) and food. The role of such contingencies in the phenomenon of behavioral contrast is discussed.