Operant behavior is behavior "controlled" by its consequences. In practice, operant conditioning is the study of reversible behavior maintained by reinforcement schedules. We review empirical studies and theoretical approaches to two large classes of operant behavior: interval timing and choice. We discuss cognitive versus behavioral approaches to timing, the "gap" experiment and its implications, proportional timing and Weber's law, temporal dynamics and linear waiting, and the problem of simple chain-interval schedules. We review the long history of research on operant choice: the matching law, its extensions and problems, concurrent chain schedules, and self-control. We point out how linear waiting may be involved in timing, choice, and reinforcement schedules generally. There are prospects for a unified approach to all these areas.
Staddon, JER; Cerutti, DT
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