Pigeons' wait-time responses to transitions in interfood-interval duration: Another look at cyclic schedule performance.
Journal Article (Journal Article)
Recent developments reveal that animals can rapidly learn about intervals of time. We studied the nature of this fast-acting process in two experiments. In Experiment 1 pigeons were exposed to a modified fixed-time schedule, in which the time between food rewards (interfood interval) changed at an unpredictable point in each session, either decreasing from 15 to 5 s (step-down) or increasing from 15 to 45 s (step-up). The birds were able to track under both conditions by producing postreinforcement wait times proportional to the preceding interfood-interval duration. However, the time course of responding differed: Tracking was apparently more gradual in the step-up condition. Experiment 2 studied the effect of having both kinds of transitions within the same session by exposing pigeons to a repeating (cyclic) sequence of the interfood-interval values used in Experiment 1. Pigeons detected changes in the input sequence of interfood intervals, but only for a few sessions-discrimination worsened with further training. The dynamic effects we observed do not support a linear waiting process of time discrimination, but instead point to a timing mechanism based on the frequency and recency of prior interfood intervals and not the preceding interfood interval alone.
- Higa, JJ; Thaw, JM; Staddon, JE
- May 1993
Volume / Issue
- 59 / 3
Start / End Page
- 529 - 541
Pubmed Central ID
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)