The effects of symmetrical and asymmetrical changeover delay durations on response and time distributions under concurrent schedules of reinforcement in humans
The Batching relation is a quantitative description of choice behavior under concurrent sources of reinforcement. The results of early research on operant choice behavior indicated that a changeover delay was needed in order for relative response rates to approximate relative reinforcement rates. This changeover delay constitutes a "penalty" for switching among available alternatives. Although several models of changeover behavior have emerged from the infra-human literature, no study has extensively examined changeover behavior in humans. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of variations in changeover delay durations on human concurrent responding. In addition, the applicability of quantitative models of changeover behavior developed in the infra-human literature to human data was examined. Before describing the design of the proposed study, a review of the literature traces the development of matching relation with a focus on deviations from the matching relation and variations on response and reinforcer parameters in both infra-human and human studies. Current models of changeover behavior are then reviewed. The results indicated that symmetrical and asymmetrical changeover delays affected response and time distributions by altering the structure of the interchangeover distributions through the formation of reinforcement as a discriminative stimulus.