The Psychological Record

, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp 143–151 | Cite as

Effect of Response Effort on Choice Behavior of Pigeons in Reinforcement Schedules Manipulating Distance between Operanda

  • Masanori KonoEmail author
Original Article


Previous studies have shown that choice behavior in pigeons is systematically affected by the response effort, such as force or locomotion between response keys, as well as a delay in reinforcement or the amount of reinforcement. The present study aimed to investigate choice behavior in reinforcement schedules in which distance between operanda was manipulated as a response effort from the point of view of generalized matching law. To do so, a distance schedule was developed to manipulate the distance between response keys. In this schedule, pigeons were required to produce either 4 or 10 responses. Interresponse distances, a measure of the distance as a response effort, were calculated by summing the distances between the locations of successive responses. The present study employed a concurrent-chain design in which variable-interval schedules and distance schedules formed the initial and terminal links, respectively, of the concurrent chain. The results showed a matching relation between the initial-links response ratio and the interresponse distance ratio in a condition where 10 responses were required in terminal-links, but not in the condition with 4 responses. This implies that response effort is an important factor in determining choice behavior, as well as other factors including rate or amount of reinforcement or delay in reinforcement. However, the present results could be confounded by the effects of the elapsed time before reinforcement. Thus, further research will be needed using a modified version of the present distance-choice procedure to isolate the effect of distance itself.


Choice Matching law Response effort Interresponse distance Key peck Pigeons 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of Interest

The author declares that he has no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All applicable international, national, and institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Humanities & Social SciencesMeisei UniversityTokyoJapan

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