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Concurrent Token Production in Rats


The current study assessed whether the generalized matching law would provide an accurate description of behavior maintained by token reinforcement. A dependent-concurrent random interval 15 s schedule of token production maintained lever pressing in rats. Following delivery, each token could be immediately exchanged for sweetened condensed milk. In Experiment 1, the token ratio was either 1:3 or 1:9, depending upon condition, and the location of the rich schedule varied randomly across daily sessions. In Experiment 2, the token ratio varied randomly within each session (1:9, 1:6, 1:3, 1:1, 3:1, 6:1, and 9:1). Overall, the generalized matching law provided a good description of the data, revealing a high degree of undermatching. In Experiment 2, two of three rats tended to return to the just-productive lever following token delivery. The third subject showed this pattern only following left-token deliveries. Overall, the effects of token reinforcers on choice were similar to those observed with other reinforcers.

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  1. “Conditional” reinforcement is synonymous with “conditioned” or “secondary” reinforcement. The term conditional is favored here because the reinforcing function of said stimuli is conditional upon their relationship with unconditional reinforcers, and thus the term is more descriptive of the necessary and sufficient conditions required to establish the stimulus function (Catania 2013) See pp 189-190 & pp 241-242..


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Correspondence to Eric A. Jacobs.

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Smith, T.R., Jacobs, E.A. Concurrent Token Production in Rats. Psychol Rec 65, 101–113 (2015).

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  • Choice
  • Concurrent schedules
  • Rapidly changing environments
  • Conditioned reinforcement
  • Token
  • Lever press
  • Rats