Waiting in pigeons: the effects of daily intercalation on temporal discrimination.
Pigeons trained on cyclic-interval schedules adjust their postfood pause from interval to interval within each experimental session. But on regular fixed-interval schedules, many sessions at a given parameter value are usually necessary before the typical fixed-interval "scallop" appears. In the first case, temporal control appears to act from one interfood interval to the next; in the second, it appears to act over hundreds of interfood intervals. The present experiments look at the intermediate case: daily variation in schedule parameters. In Experiments 1 and 2 we show that pauses proportional to interfood interval develop on short-valued response-initiated-delay schedules when parameters are changed daily, that additional experience under this regimen leads to little further improvement, and that pauses usually change as soon as the schedule parameter is changed. Experiment 3 demonstrates identical waiting behavior on fixed-interval and response-initiated-delay schedules when the food delays are short (less than 20 s) and conditions are changed daily. In Experiment 4 we show that daily intercalation prevents temporal control when interfood intervals are longer (25 to 60 s). The results of Experiment 5 suggest that downshifts in interfood interval produce more rapid waiting-time adjustments than upshifts. These and other results suggest that the effects of short interfood intervals seem to be more persistent than those of long intervals.
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