Advertisement

The Analysis of Verbal Behavior

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 33–44 | Cite as

Fixed-interval and fixed-ratio reinforcement schedules with human subjects

  • Lawrence T. Stoddard
  • Murray Sidman
  • Joseph V. Brady
Article

Abstract

Operant laboratory studies were conducted as part of the regular activities of a psychiatric research ward. This report includes only some early data obtained from the ward staff, not the patients. A multiple schedule having alternating fixed-ratio and fixed-interval components permitted observations of acquisition and maintenance of behavior at low schedule values, transition to and final performance at greater schedule values, and behavioral changes after a limited-hold contingency was added to the fixed-interval. Prior to the added limited-hold, subjects used watches to time the interval, and usually responded only once before obtaining each fixed-interval reinforcement. Short limited-hold values eliminated clock watching and increased fixed-interval responding. Subjects communicated freely with each other, and it was clear that their performances were controlled both by the contingencies and by instructions. Just as clearly, the instructions themselves were controlled by the contingencies. It was concluded that the kinds of verbal control that were responsible for “nonstandard’’ fixed-interval performances did not require the postulation of any new behavioral principles.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Artiss, K. L. (Ed.). (1959). The symptom as communication in schizophrenia. New York: Grune & Stratton.Google Scholar
  2. Artiss, K. L. (1962). Milieu therapy in schizophrenia. New York: Grune & Stratton.Google Scholar
  3. Bentall, R. P., Lowe, C. F., & Beasty, A. (1985). The role of verbal behavior in human learning: II. Developmental differences. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 43, 165–181.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Catania, A. C., Matthews, B. A., & Shimoff, E. (1982). Instructed versus shaped human verbal behavior: Interactions with nonverbal responding. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 38, 233–248.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Dinsmoor, J. A. (1983). Observing and conditioned reinforcement. The Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 6, 693–728.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ferster, C. B., & Skinner, B. F. (1957). Schedules of reinforcement. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Harzem, P., Lowe, C. F., & Bagshaw, M. (1978). Verbal control in human operant behavior. Psychological Record, 28, 405–423.Google Scholar
  8. Hayes, S. C., Brownstein, A. J., Zettle, R. D., Rosenfarb, I., & Korn, Z. (1986). Rule-governed behavior and sensitivity to changing consequences of responding. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 45, 237–256.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Holland, J. G. (1958). Human vigilance. Science, 128, 61–67.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Leander, J. D., Lippman, L. G., & Meyer, M. E. (1968). Fixed-interval performance as related to subjects’ verbalization of the reinforcement contingency. Psychological Record, 18, 469–474.Google Scholar
  11. Lippman, L. G., & Meyer, M. E. (1967). Fixed-interval performance as related to instructions and to subjects’ verbalizations of the contingency. Psychonomic Science, 8, 135–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lindsley, O. R. (1960). Characteristics of the behavior of chronic psychotics as revealed by free-operant conditioning methods. Diseases of the Nervous System Monograph Supplement, 21(2), 66–78.Google Scholar
  13. Lowe, C. F. (1979). Determinants of human operant behavior. In M. D. Zeiler & P. Harzem (Eds.), Advances in analysis of behavior, Vol. 1: Reinforcement and the organisation of behaviour (pp. 159–192). Chichester, England: Wiley.Google Scholar
  14. Lowe, C. F. (1983). Radical behaviorism and human psychology. In G. C. L. Davey (Ed.), Animal models of human behavior: Conceptual, evolutionary, and neurobiological perspectives (pp. 71–93). Chichester, England: Wiley.Google Scholar
  15. Lowe, C. F., Harzem, P., & Bagshaw, M. (1978). Species differences in temporal control of behavior II: Human performance. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 29, 351–361.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. Lowe, C. F., Harzem, P., & Hughes, S. (1978). Determinants of operant behavior in humans: Some differences from animals. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 30, 373–386.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Schoenfeld, W. N., & Cumming, W. W. (1960). Studies in temporal classification of reinforcement schedules: Summary and projection. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 46, 753–758.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Sidman, M., & Stebbins, W. C. (1954). Satiation effects under fixed-ratio schedules of reinforcement. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 47, 114–116.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Skinner, B. F. (1969). Contingencies of reinforcement: A theoretical analysis. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  20. Skinner, B.F. (1957). Verbal behavior. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Weiner, H. (1969). Controlling human fixed-interval performance. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 12, 349–373.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. Zeiler, M. D., & Kelley, C. A. (1969). Fixed-ratio and fixed-interval schedules of cartoon presentation. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 8, 306–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence T. Stoddard
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Murray Sidman
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Joseph V. Brady
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Eunice Kennedy Shriver CenterUSA
  2. 2.New England Center for AutismUSA
  3. 3.Johns Hopkins School of MedicineUSA

Personalised recommendations