Animal Learning & Behavior

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 476–482

Preference reversal and delayed reinforcement

  • George Ainslie
  • R. J. Herrnstein


Pigeons chose, in a two-key discrete-trial procedure, between 2- and 4-sec access to grain, with the larger amount always presented 4 sec later than the smaller. As the delay between the choice and the availability of the smaller reinforcement was varied from .01 to 12 sec, all subjects reversed preference from the small-early to the large-late reinforcement. The values of delay at which preference reversed were approximately consistent with the matching law as adapted for delayed reinforcement.

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • George Ainslie
    • 1
    • 3
  • R. J. Herrnstein
    • 2
  1. 1.Massachusetts Mental Health CenterBoston
  2. 2.Harvard UniversityCambridge
  3. 3.Veterans Administration HospitalCoatesville

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