Instrumental runway performance as a function of temporal distribution of reinforcement

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5 groups of rats were trained to traverse a runway for 5 45-mg. food pellets which were separated in their presentations by fixed intervals of 1, 8, 15, 30, or 60 sec. All but the 60-sec. Ss learned to remain oriented to the food cup between pellet presentations while confined in the goal box during acquisition trials. A clear-cut nonmonotonic relationship was found between distribution of reinforcement in acquisition and duration of orientation to the food cup in a subsequent extinction series. In agreement with the interference conception of extinction, groups exhibiting the most persistent foodcup orientation also showed the highest relative resistance to extinction of the locomotor response. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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