Effects of Interreinforcement Interval on Dimensions of Schedule-Induced Polydipsia: Group and Individual Differences
Schedules of reinforcement have direct (response strengthening) and indirect (response inducing) effects. This report describes group and individual differences among rats in the indirect effect of interreinforcement interval (IRI) on schedule-induced drinking. Four weight-matched groups of food- but not water-deprived rats were each given 20 training sessions in which food pellets were delivered independently of responses at fixed times of 30 s (Group 1), 60 s (Group 2), 120 s (Group 3), and 240 s (Group 4). Percentages of IRIs with at least 1 lick, total amount drunk, licks per IRI, and latencies of drinks were recorded. In group comparisons, water intake per IRI related bitonically to this interval such that the group with the shortest IRI drank as frequently as the middle groups but with drinks of smaller magnitude, whereas the group with the longest interval drank less frequently than the middle groups but with drinks of similar magnitude. In general, the relative contributions of drink frequency and drink magnitude to total water intake depended on individual animals regardless of IRI, but latency of drinking from IRI onset was a direct function of interval length regardless of individual animals.
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