Quantitative Analysis of IRT Variability During the First Training Stages of a Variable-Interval Schedule in Rats
Five rats were reinforced under variable-interval schedules with different average interreinforcement intervals (30 seC., 1 min, 2 min, and 4 min). Each animal was run only two sessions of each schedule. The interresponse times (IRTs) were recorded and analyzed. The autocorrelation function of the IRT series and of the IRT time series (number of responses per time interval) were calculated, and absence of periodicity in the subject’s behavior was demonstrated. Frequency distribution of IRTs showed in all cases a similar shape and could be fitted to a gamma probability density function in 60% of cases with a signification level of .01 (Kolmogorov-Smirnoff test). The frequency distributions of the IRT time series were distributed as a Poisson process with a .05 significance level. These results suggest that during variable-interval schedules the responses of the animal can be modeled as a random process characterized by a gamma distribution, as a first approximation.
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