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Reinforcer magnitude and demand under fixed-ratio schedules with domestic hens

This study compared three methods of normalizing demand functions to allow comparison of demand for different commodities and examined how varying reinforcer magnitudes affected these analyses. Hens responded under fixed-ratio schedules in 40-min sessions with response requirement doubling each session and with 2-s, 8-s, and 12-s access to wheat. Over the smaller fixed ratios overall response rates generally increased and were higher the shorter the magazine duration. The logarithms of the number of reinforcers obtained (consumption) and the fixed ratio (price) were well fitted by curvilinear demand functions (Hursh et al., 1988. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 50, 419–440) that were inelastic (b negative) over small fixed-ratios. The fixed ratio with maximal response rate (Pmax) increased, and the rate of change of elasticity (a) and initial consumption (L) decreased with increased magazine duration. Normalizing consumption using measures of preference for various magazine durations (3-s vs. 3-s, 2-s vs. 8-s, and 2-s vs. 12-s), obtained using concurrent schedules, gave useful results as it removed the differences in L. Normalizing consumption and price (Hursh and Winger, 1995. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 64, 373–384) unified the data functions as intended by that analysis. The exponential function (Hursh and Silberberg, 2008. Psychological Review, 115, 186–198) gave an essential value that increased (i.e., α decreased significantly) as magazine duration decreased. This was not as predicted, since α should be constant over variations in magazine duration, but is similar to previous findings using a similar procedure with different food qualities (hens) and food quantities (rats).
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Grant, A. A., Foster, T. M., Temple, W., Jackson, S., Kinloch, J., & Poling, A. (2014). Reinforcer magnitude and demand under fixed-ratio schedules with domestic hens. Behavioural Processes, published online on 3 January 2014.
This is the authors' accepted version of an article published in the journal: Behavioural Processes. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.