Two Types Of Pigeon Key Pecking: Suppression Of Long- But Not Short-Duration Key Pecks By Duration-Dependent Shock

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Journal Of The Experimental Analysis Of Behavior


The key pecking of eight pigeons was maintained on a variable-interval 1-minute schedule of food reinforcement. Sometimes, all responses between 35 and 50 milliseconds in duration produced a shock; sometimes, all responses between 10 and 25 milliseconds produced a shock; sometimes, shocks were produced by pecks without regard to duration (nondifferential punishment), and sometimes shocks were delivered independently of responding. Punishment of 35- to 50-millisecond responses selectively suppressed those responses, while punishment of 10- to 25-millisecond responses and nondifferential punishment suppressed responding overall but did not suppress responses of particular duration. Punishment of 35- to 50-millisecond responses suppressed key pecking slightly less than did nondifferential punishment. Punishment of 10- to 25-millisecond responses and response-independent shock produced roughly equal amounts of suppression, substantially less than the other punishment procedures. The data support the view that there are at least two kinds of key peck, identifiable on the basis of duration, one of which (short duration) is insensitive to its consequences.