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J Exp Anal Behav. 1981 Sep;36(2):191-205.

Effects of ratio contingencies on responding maintained by schedules of electric-shock presentation (response-produced shock).


Squirrel monkeys' lever pressing was established under fixed-interval schedules of electric-shock presentation (response-produced shock). After appropriate temporal patterns of lever pressing were engendered, either fixed-ratio schedules of shock presentation were added to the fixed interval, or yoked variable-ratio schedules were substituted for the fixed-interval schedules. When fixed-ratio schedules were added, there was an initial rise in response rate and schedule-appropriate patterns of responding developed. After many sessions, however, responding ceased abruptly, in some cases with remarkable quickness. When variable-ratio schedules were substituted, responded declined gradually and eventually was poorly maintained. Ratio contingencies may not support responding as well as interval contingencies when electric shock is the maintaining event.

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