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Accuracy of Discrimination, Rate of Responding, and Resistance to Change
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (2003)
  • John A. Nevin, University of New Hampshire
  • Jessica S. Milo, University of New Hampshire
  • Amy Laurie Odum, Utah State University
  • Timothy A. Shahan, Utah State University

Pigeons were trained on multiple schedules in which responding on a center key produced matching-to-sample trials according to the same variable-interval 30-s schedules in both components. Matching trials consisted of a vertical or tilted line sample on the center key followed by vertical and tilted comparisons on the side keys. Correct responses to comparison stimuli were reinforced with probability .80 in the rich component and .20 in the lean component. Baseline response rates and matching accuracies generally were higher in the rich component, consistent with previous research. When performance was disrupted by prefeeding, response-independent food during intercomponent intervals, intrusion of a delay between sample and comparison stimuli, or extinction, both response rates and matching accuracies generally decreased. Proportions of baseline response rate were greater in the rich component for all disrupters except delay, which had relatively small and inconsistent effects on response rate. By contrast, delay had large and consistent effects on matching accuracy, and proportions of baseline matching accuracy were greater in the rich component for all four disrupters. The dissociation of response rate and accuracy with delay reflects the localized impact of delay on matching performance. The similarity of the data for response rate and accuracy with prefeeding, response-independent food, and extinction shows that matching performance, like response rate, is more resistant to change in a rich than in a lean component. This result extends resistance to change analyses from the frequency of response emission to the degree of stimulus control, and suggests that the strength of discriminating, like the strength of responding, is positively related to rate of reinforcement.

  • multiple schedules,
  • reinforcer probability,
  • matching-to-sample,
  • response rate,
  • resistance to change,
  • key peck,
  • pigeons
Publication Date
January 1, 2003
Publisher Statement
Originally published by the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. Publisher's PDF available through remote link.
Note: Timothy Shahan was affiliated with the University of New Hampshire at the time of publication.
Citation Information
Nevin, J. A., Milo, J. S., Odum, A. L., & Shahan, T. A. (2003). Resistance to change of response rates and remembering. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 79, 307-321.