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Behavioural Processes

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/behavproc

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University of New Hampshire, USA

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Article history:

Available online xxx

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Keywords:

Competition

Induction

Matching law

Reinforcement

Variable-interval schedule

Variable-ratio schedule

Baum and Davison (2014b) showed that Baums (2012) recasting of reinforcement as induction may be

quantied by assuming that induction follows a power function of reinforcer rate. This power-function

induction is readily integrated with theory based on the matching law. Herrnstein (1970) originally

assumed background activities (BO ) and their associated reinforcers ro to be constant, but ro should

vary with BO . Further, power-function induction implies that BO should vary with reinforcer rate. Baum

(1993) reported performance on a wide range of variable-ratio (VR) and variable-interval (VI) schedules.

Pigeons VR peck rate followed an inverted U-shaped relation, but VI peck rate separated into three

ranges of food rate: low-to-moderate, moderate-to-high, and extremely high. As food rate increases, the

concave downward relation in the low range reaches an inection point and gives way to a concave

upward relation in the higher range. At the extremes of food rate, VI peck rate decreases. A model based

on competition between induced pecking and BO accounted for VI peck rate in the moderate to extreme

range of food rates. Further research will account for all three ranges, either by integrating power-function

induction with matching theory or with a model based on competition between induced activities.

2015 Published by Elsevier B.V.

reinforcement and punishment, stimulus control, classical conditioning, adjunctive behavior, and instinctive behavior as just one

process, induction, as dened by Segal (1972). A subsequent paper

(Baum and Davison, 2014b) began developing a quantitative model

of induction that accounts for operant performance on variableinterval (VI) schedules and concurrent VI VI schedules. The present

paper takes a further step toward quantifying induction and integrating it with the matching law (Herrnstein, 1961).

Herrnstein (1961) originally presented the matching law as a

relation between two behavioral alternatives in the form:

B1

r1

=

B1 + B2

r1 + r2

Tel.: +1 415 345 0050.

E-mail address: wbaum@sbcglobal.net

B=

Kr

r + rO

(3)

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(1)

1 and 2, and r1 and r2 are reinforcer rates at Alternatives 1 and 2.

Herrnstein (1970) subsequently proposed generalizing the

matching law to any number of alternatives n in the form:

Bi

r

= i

B

r

alternatives, B represents the total of responding or time spent

at the n alternatives, ri represents reinforcer rate at any of the n

alternatives, and r represents the total or the n reinforcer rates.

Using Eq. (2), Herrnstein (1970) derived an equation for

responding at just one recorded alternative:

(2)

activities occur and that, with BO representing those other activities, and r = r + ro , with ro representing reinforcers due to BO .

Herrnstein (1970) tted Eq. (3) to several data sets from Catania

and Reynolds (1968). Subsequently de Villiers (1977) tted it to

additional data sets, and it has generally proven successful in

describing performance across variable-interval (VI) schedules.

One feature of the ts to Eq. (3) seems incorrect, however: ro is

assumed to be constant as r varies. Baum (1981) and Davison (1993,

2004) pointed out that this assumed constancy is inconsistent with

our general understanding of reinforcement contingencies, because

BO must vary as B varies, and ro should vary with BO . By denition,

a contingency creates a dependence of reinforcer rate on response

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2015.01.006

0376-6357/ 2015 Published by Elsevier B.V.

Please cite this article in press as: Baum, W.M., The role of induction in operant schedule performance. Behav. Process. (2015),

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2015.01.006

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the feedback function for a variable-ratio (VR) schedule is given by:

B

r=

V

(4)

where, V is the average number of responses required per reinforcer, and the feedback function for a VI schedule is approximately:

1

r=

t + Ba

(5)

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a tendency to bursts at low reinforcer rates (Baum, 1992). Thus, a

feedback function should exist between ro and BO :

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ro = f (BO )

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(6)

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At least two questions arise: (1) what is BO ? and (2) what is the

feedback function f relating ro to BO ? Baum (1981) and Davison

(1993) suggested that the function should have characteristics of a

ratio schedule (Eq. (4))that is,

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rO =

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BO

V

(7)

produce ro directly, with no time-limiting factor such as would

characterize an interval schedule (Eq. (5)).

Davison (2004) found evidence that BO is not one activity but a

conglomerate, but Baum and Davison (2014b) found that treating

BO as one activity allowed calculating variation in ro and discovering

that Eq. (7) is the feedback function relating ro to BO , at least at high

reinforcer (food) rates.

An earlier paper (Baum, 2012), relying on the process of induction outlined by Segal (1972), suggested that phylogenetically

important events induce activities denoted adjunctive or interim

or terminal (Staddon, 1977). Following this reasoning, BO would be

induced by a reinforcer such as food, and BO would depend on the

food rate r. Baum and Davison (2014b) found that BO varied with r

and, through this variation and Eq. (7), that ro varied with r. Thus,

at least part of the other activities represented in Eq. (6) as BO and

implicit in Herrnsteins hyperbola (Eq. (3)) is induced by the food

(r). To be accurate, Baum and Davison (2014b) proposed that Eq. (3)

should be modied to include activities unrelated to the food rate

rwhat Staddon (1977) called facultative activities. They represented these activities as BN and the reinforcers associated with BN

as rN :

B=

Kr

r + r O + rN

(8)

function g relates BO to r:

BO = g(r)

(9)

rO =

g(r)

V

BO = co r

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(10)

To t data from two large data sets (Baum and Davison, 2014a;

Soto, McDowell, & Dallery, 2005), Baum and Davison (2014b)

assumed that induction follows a power function:

so

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(11)

to r, and the coefcient co accounts for reconciling of units.

Baum (1993)

A data set that allows testing these proposals further for both

VI and VR schedules was gathered in an experiment reported in

1993. The procedure was a two-component multiple schedule in

which a VR component alternated with a VI component separated

by substantial time-outs in between. The intervals generated in the

VR component were played back in the VI component to roughly

Fig. 1. Pecks per minute versus food per minute from Baum (1993). Data are from a multiple VR VI schedule in which the VI component was yoked to the VR component.

Please cite this article in press as: Baum, W.M., The role of induction in operant schedule performance. Behav. Process. (2015),

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2015.01.006

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equate the intervals and food rates in the two. The VR schedule

varied across conditions, and each condition continued in daily sessions until both performances appeared stable, whereupon a new

condition began. The VR was varied over as large a range as possible,

from a large VR that produced a moderate food rate just sufcient

to maintain responding to FR 1, the endpoint of ratio schedules.

Since ratio schedules exhibit ratio strain when they are relatively

large, no low food rates were possible, but food rate could increase

up to the extreme at the high end with FR 1.

Fig. 1 shows peck rate as a function of food rate for the four

pigeons in the experiment. Most conditions were presented twice,

and Fig. 1 shows the average peck rate across presentations. Performance on the VR schedules was simply a bitonic or upside-down

U-shape, and peck rates were generally higher for the VR than

the yoked VI. Performance on the VI schedules was more complex. Most notably, whereas the VR curve was concave downwards,

the VI curve was concave upwards in the mid-range of food rates,

which differed from pigeon to pigeon. Indeed, at least three of the

pigeons curves show a clear inection point: at about 11 fpm for

B258; at about 5 fpm for B261 and B122; although less pronounced,

at about 6 fpm for B348. These inection points suggest that peck

rate was relatively at in the low range, but because food rates

lower than about 0.4 per minute, equivalent to a VI 150s, could

not be maintainedexcept for B261, which maintained pecking at

0.13 fpm, equivalent to a VI 460s. Previous research supports the

existence of an inection point, because a negatively accelerated

pattern of responding in the lower range of food rates is well documented (e.g., Catania & Reynolds, 1968; de Villiers, 1977), and

the shift from negative acceleration in the lower range to positive

acceleration in the higher range requires an inection point. All four

pigeons peck rates decreased at the highest food rates.

Since the VI performances included a relatively at peck rate

in the low range of food rates, an inection point followed by an

up-turn in peck rate, and a down-turn at the highest food rates, the

food rates, moderate to high food rates, and high to extreme food

rates. Fig. 2 illustrates this possibility. In the lower, atter range, the

broken line in each graph represents the hyperbola in Eq. (3) tted

to the peck rates. Viewed this way, one sees clearly the up-turn in

the mid-range of food rates and the down-turn at the extreme of

food rate. Any model of these peck rates should account for both

the up-turn and the down-turn.

1. An induction model

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Baum and Davison (2014b), I made the following assumptions:

BO varies with r, because BO is induced by food according to Eq.

(11), as assumed by Baum and Davison (2014b) with some empirical support (Staddon, 1977);

Pecking also is induced by food, according to:

B = cr s

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(12)

If cr s + co r so > K, then B = K BO ; that is, the activities exist in

a hierarchy, such that B and BO replace BN , and BO replaces B

(BN <B < BO ). Although Baum and Davison (2014b) assumed B to

replace BO in a similar model, the present data require that BO

replace B, as was true of rats lever pressing (Soto et al., 2005).

Replacement of B by BO corresponds to what Breland and Breland

(1961) called instinctive drift. Whether it should be considered

maladaptive, as misbehavior suggests, depends on the function

of BO activities in the natural environment. For example, feeding

competes with vigilance when any predation risk exists (see Lima

and Dill, 1990 for a review).

A theoretical benet of assuming that induction follows a power

function is that the generalized matching law (Baum, 1974, 1979;

Davison and McCarthy, 1988) is preserved:

Fig. 2. Pecks per minute versus food per minute in the VI component of Baum (1993). The broken line represents the t of Herrnsteins hyperbola (Eq. (3)) to the low range

of food rates. The inection point between low food rates and high food rates may be seen at the intersection of the broken curve with the solid line.

Please cite this article in press as: Baum, W.M., The role of induction in operant schedule performance. Behav. Process. (2015),

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2015.01.006

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Fig. 3. Pecks per minute versus food per minute in the VI component of Baum (1993) tted with the induction model assuming power-function induction (Eqs. (11) and

(12)).

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Bi

Bj

ci r si

s

cj r j

, for all i =

/ j of n operant activities. The power function

The model was tted to the peck rates using Solver in Microsoft

Excel, varying c, s, co , and so , after setting K to a rate slightly above

the maximum peck rate and placing a minimum of 0.00001 on co .

Fig. 3 shows the results of tting to the VI peck rates. The peck rates

are tted well, with one awfor all four pigeons, the inection

point demarcated in Fig. 2 falls below the curve. Because the data

set includes no extremely low food rates, the model takes no special

account of peck rates in that range. Replacing the hyperbola (Eq. (3);

broken lines in Fig. 2) would require food rates in the lower range

and additional assumptions about B, BO , and BN in that range.

Fig. 4 shows the results of tting the same model, with the same

assumptions, to the VR peck rates. These ts are close and show no

systematic deviation from the data. As might be expected from the

simple bitonic shape, these peck rates were relatively easy to t

with Excel Solver, varying c, s, co , so , and K. They raise no problem

about low food or peck rates.

An immediate question to ask is whether the models parameters that best tted the peck rates remained the same for the VI

rates and the VR rates. Fig. 5 makes the comparison. It shows each

VI parameter plotted against the corresponding VR parameter for

each pigeon. The estimates of K (diamonds) were about the same,

lying on the major diagonal (equality). The estimates of c and s

(squares and triangles) also were about the same, indicating that

the power function for the inducing of pecking was about the same

for VI and VR. Notable differences occurred for co and so , however,

indicating that the power function for the inducing of BO differed

for the VI and VR. In tting the model, the estimates of co , in particular, tended to be extremely small, and necessitated the lower limit

of 0.00001 for co . All four estimates of co were far lower for the VI

than the VR. In contrast, all four estimates of so were higher for the

VI than for the VR. The reason why induction of BO would differ for

from the more abrupt down-turn in the VI peck rates at the higher

food rates. The combination of a small coefcient co with a large

exponent so caused BO to be tiny at lower food rates but to ramp

up quickly at higher food rates, thus allowing the model to t that

sharp downturn in VI peck rates. The large coefcient c paired with

an exponent s less than 1.0 modelled a more gradual increase in

peck rate, starting at moderately high levels at moderate food rates

to begin with.

To try to model these peck rates with optimality or matching

theory, one needs to make additional assumptions. Although the

present model requires no assumption about ro , optimality and

matching require a feedback function for ro , possibly Eq. (7), which

has some empirical support (Baum and Davison, 2014b). One must

also assume a feedback function for rN , which would probably differ

from direct proportionality, because BN represents the activities of

the organism when it has nothing better to dothat is, background

activity as originally conceived (Herrnstein, 1970). A possibility

suggested by Baum and Davison (2014b) is:

rN =

1

1

VN

A

BN

(13)

bursts in BN and VN the asymptote as BN becomes large.

With these assumed feedback functions, the VR peck rates were

readily tted by both optimality (maximizing r + ro + rN ) and matching (Eq. (8)). Neither optimality nor matching was able to capture

the up-turn in VI peck rates in the mid-range of food rates. Fig. 6

compares the results of applying Eq. (8) (matching) with the results

of applying the present model to the peck rates averaged across

pigeons (means; medians were almost identical to the means).

Because of the large number of parameters, the curves were tted by eye, holding most parameters constant and using Microsoft

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Fig. 4. Pecks per minute versus food per minute in the VR component of Baum (1993) tted with the induction model assuming power-function induction (Eqs. (11) and

(12)).

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Excels Solver to adjust one or two at a time. The top right graph

shows the t of the induction model to the VR peck rates; it

resembles those in Fig. 4. The top left graph shows the induction

model tted to the mean VI peck rates. The t resembles those in

Fig. 3 in that it is close but leaves the inection point below the

curve. The lower right graph shows the results of applying Eq. (8)

(matching) to the VR peck rates. The t is just as good as to the

induction model. The lower left graph shows the results of applying Eq. (8) to the VI peck rates. It illustrates the failure of Eq. (8)

to account for the mid-range up-turn; it is only able to produce

a bitonic function. Neither matching (Eq. (8)) nor optimality (not

shown) was able to account for the up-turn. Killeen (1994) mathematical principles of reinforcement, with an equation similar to

Eq. (3), likewise can account for the down-turn at high food rates,

but not the up-turn in the mid-range.

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2. Further development

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missing from the VI peck rates also must be included in a full

account of VI performance. That range of food rates has often

been described by the hyperbola in Eq. (3) (Herrnstein, 1970). VI

peck rates in that range conform to a concave-downward pattern, only the tail end of which is shown in Fig. 2. Although the

present induction model ts the VI peck rates well (Fig. 3), its

failure to accommodate the inection point marking the transition from the concave-downward pattern to the concave-upward

pattern requires further development.

The up-turn in the mid-range of food rates may result from a

shift in topography of key pecking as the rich VI schedules come

more and more to resemble ratio schedules. The resemblance may

be understood as resulting from the change in shape of the VI

feedback function. Though negatively accelerated, the VI feedback

food rate increases. The changed topography of pecking would

resemble more and more the topography characteristic of pecking

on VR schedules reported by Palya (1992) as icking at the

key, called swiping at the key by Baum and Davison (2014b),

that results in multiple operations of the key for a single backand-forth movement of the pigeons head. Thus, the up-turn in

peck rates might represent a mix of two topographiessay, multioperation (icking or swiping) and single-operation (pecking), with

Fig. 5. Comparison of tting parameters for VI peck rates (Fig. 3) with those for VR

peck rates (Fig. 4).

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Fig. 6. Comparison of the induction model with matching theory applied to mean peck rates from Baum (1993). Top: the induction model tted to VI peck rates (left) and

to VR peck rates (right). Bottom: matching theory tted to the VI peck rates (left) and to VR peck rates (right). Matching theory cannot accommodate the concave-upward

range of peck rates.

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rate increases from moderate to high. This change in topography

might also explain the upturn in peck rates at high food rates

that Baum and Davison (2014b) attributed to pecking B replacing

BO . If so, one might assume that BO always replaces pecking. This

possibility remains to be explored.

For matching theory, the shift in topography would imply two

different activities with two different tempos (Baum and Rachlin,

1969; Gilbert, 1958). The single-operation activity, BS , would have

different units and a different asymptotic rate, KS , from the multioperation activity, BM , which would have the asymptotic rate KM .

Eq. (8) would be replaced by:

BM + uBS

r

=

BM + uBS + BO + BN

r + rO + rN

where, u =

KM

KS

(14)

KM = BM + uBS + BO + BN

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would be to suppose a four-dimensional space with performance

minimizing distance from a bliss point (e.g., Rachlin and Burkhard,

1978; Staddon, 1983).

For the present line of theory based on induction, the solution is

much simpler. We need only assume that BM is induced according

to a power function:

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BM = cM r SM

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(15)

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illustrates the way the model would accommodate the three

regions of VI peck rates. The squares show the mean peck rates

across the four pigeons. In the low-to-moderate range of food rate,

BS replaces BN (BN < BS ; lower solid line). In the moderate-to-high

range, BM replaces BS (BS < BM ; broken line). In the extreme rates,

BO replaces BM (BM < BO ; upper solid line).

How would the induction model treat the low-to-moderate

range of food rate that is missing from the present data set? Assuming power-function induction (Eqs. (11) and (12)), we may conclude

Fig. 7. The three ranges of VI peck rates. In the low-to-moderate range of food rates

(solid curve), pecking (BS ) replaces true background activities (BN ), in the moderateto-high range (broken line), icking or swiping the key (BM ) replaces BS , and in

the extremely high range (solid line), other food-induced activities (BO ) replace BM .

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Fig. 8. Comparison of Herrnsteins hyperbola (Eq. (3)) with two induction-based models tted to data from Catania and Reynolds (1968). The Partition model applies a

matching-like relation to all food-induced activities (Eq. (16)). The Difference model assumes simply assumes that other food-induced activities interfere with pecking (Eq.

(17)).

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because if they replaced BN independently, the function relating BS

to r would be a power function and would appear in logarithmic

coordinates as a straight line. The relation between B and r in that

range, however, is concave downward in logarithmic coordinates

(Baum, 1981; Baum and Davison, 2014b). Thus, BS and BO must

compete, even as they replace BN , and we require a model of that

competition. At least two possible models of the competition arise.

One approach would follow Baum and Davisons reliance on the

matching relation as expressed in Fig. 3, but with an important

difference: K would be replaced with a variable B that is a power

function of r, as in Eq. (12), but B would represent, not measured

peck rate, but induced activity, which would result in measured

pecking according to:

B=

B, r

r + rO

cr s+1

r + cO r sO

(16)

V is absorbed into co ). Eq. (16) represents a model in which the total

activity induced B is partitioned between B and BO according to the

proportion of the reinforcer rates r and ro .

A second possible model would assume simply that BO replaces

pecking in the low-to-moderate range as well as the higher ranges

induced pecking B and induced other activities BO :

s

B = cr cO r

sO

(17)

Eq. (16) (Partition), and Eq. (17) (Difference) to the VI peck rates

reported by Catania and Reynolds (1968) and used by Herrnstein

(1970; his Fig. 8) to validate the hyperbola. All three equations t

the peck rates (diamonds) well and about equally well. Eqs. (16) and

(17), though based on different assumptions, are practically indistinguishable. Further research will be required to decide between

them.

3. Conclusions

Extending Segals (1972) concept of induction to operant activities and quantifying it by assuming power-function induction

affords quantitative accounts of operant performance that are

plausible and simple (Baum, 2012; Baum and Davison, 2014b).

Although VR performance conforms to a simple bitonic inverted

U-shape (Figs. 1, 4, and 6), that is relatively easy to account for

with matching, optimality, and induction, VI performance presents

a more complicated picture. VI performance may be divided into

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extremely high (Figs. 1, 2, and 7). In the low-to-moderate range,

peck rates display a concave downward relation to food rate that

has often been tted with the hyperbola in Eq. (3) in the past. An

inection point occurs in the moderate range as the VI peck rates

turn from the concave downward relation to a concave upward

relation in the moderate-to-high range (Figs. 1, 2, and 7). Matching theory and optimality do not accommodate this shift (Fig. 6), at

least not without many more assumptions. Finally, in the extremely

high range, VI peck rate falls as r increases to the maximum (Figs.

1, 2, and 7). A model based on power-function induction tted VI

peck rates from the moderate to the extreme food rates (Figs. 3

and 6), but it failed to pick out the inection point because the

low-to-moderate range of food rate was largely missing from the

data (Baum, 1993). A full account based on induction appears to

be possible, because at least two models of competition between

pecking and other activities are possible, as shown in Fig. 8. Further

research with a still broader range of food rates should allow the

induction model to be applied to the full range of VI peck rates. Further research might also explore the generality of power-function

induction, hierarchical replacement, and topography shifts in other

situations and other species. Although evidence thus far suggests

that the model applies to pigeons pecking and rats lever pressing

(Baum and Davison, 2014b), only more tests with wide ranges of

food rates and other species will tell.

383

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