Podlesnik, C.A., Jimenez-Gomez, C., Ward, R.D. & Shahan, T.A. (2009).
Resistance to change and frequency of response-dependent stimuli uncorrelated with reinforcement.
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 92, 199-214.
Stimuli uncorrelated with reinforcement have been shown to enhance response rates and resistance to disruption; however, the effects of different
rates of stimulus presentations have not been assessed. In two experiments, we assessed the effects of adding different rates of response-dependent
brief stimuli uncorrelated with primary reinforcement on relative response rates and resistance to change. In both experiments, pigeons responded on
variable-interval 60-s schedules of food reinforcement in two components of a multiple schedule, and brief response-dependent keylight-color changes
were added to one or both components. Although relative response rates were not systematically affected in either experiment, relative resistance to
presession feeding and extinction were. In Experiment 1, adding stimuli on a variable-interval schedule to one component of a multiple schedule either
at a low rate (1 per min) for one group or at a high rate (4 per min) for another group similarly increased resistance to disruption in the components
with added stimuli. When high and low rates of stimuli were presented across components (i.e., within subjects) in Experiment 2, however, relative
resistance to disruption was greater in the component presenting stimuli at a lower rate. These results suggest that stimuli uncorrelated with food
reinforcement do not strengthen responding in the same way as primary reinforcers.
Key words: behavioral momentum theory, uncorrelated stimuli, conditioned reinforcement, response strength, resistance to change, key peck, pigeon