Overall matching versus momentary maximizing: Nevin (1969) revisited

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Abstract

In experiments permitting choices between 2 reinforcement schedules, responses are typically allocated so as to match the overall obtained relative frequency of reinforcement. In discrete-trial choice experiments, C. Shimp (see record 1966-10968-001) and A. Silberberg et al (1978) observed sequential patterns suggesting that each response was allocated to the alternative with the higher momentary probability of reinforcement. In a similar experiment, J. Nevin (see record 1970-04827-001) found no such trends in his data, using a different analysis. When Nevin's original data were reanalyzed according to the method used by Shimp and Silberberg et al, there was still no evidence of local maximizing patterns; in fact, the reverse trend was observed. Thus, overall matching is independent of the presence or absence of local maximizing patterns, suggesting that the molar matching law is not derivative from more molecular maximizing processes. (18 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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