Hill-climbing by pigeons.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Pigeons were exposed to two types of concurrent operant-reinforcement schedules in order to determine what choice rules determine behavior on these schedules. In the first set of experiments, concurrent variable-interval, variable-interval schedules, key-peck responses to either of two alternative schedules produced food reinforcement after a random time interval. The frequency of food-reinforcement availability for the two schedules was varied over different ranges for different birds. In the second series of experiments, concurrent variable-ratio, variable-interval schedules, key-peck responses to one schedule produced food reinforcement after a random time interval, whereas food reinforcement occurred for an alternative schedule only after a random number of responses. Results from both experiments showed that pigeons consistently follow a behavioral strategy in which the alternative schedule chosen at any time is the one which offers the highest momentary reinforcement probability (momentary maximizing). The quality of momentary maximizing was somewhat higher and more consistent when both alternative reinforcement schedules were time-based than when one schedule was time-based and the alternative response-count based. Previous attempts to provide evidence for the existence of momentary maximizing were shown to be based upon faulty assumptions about the behavior implied by momentary maximizing and resultant inappropriate measures of behavior.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hinson, JM; Staddon, JE

Published Date

  • January 1983

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 39 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 25 - 47

PubMed ID

  • 16812310

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC1347881

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1938-3711

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-5002

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1901/jeab.1983.39-25


  • eng