McAdie, Tina M., Foster, T. Mary and Temple, William (1996) Concurrent schedules: Quantifying the aversiveness of noise. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 65 (1). pp. 37-55. ISSN 0022-5002

Four hens worked under independent multiple concurrent variable-interval schedules with an overlaid aversive stimulus (sound of hens in a poultry shed at 100dBA) activated by the first peck on a key. The sound remained on until a response was made on the other key. The key that activated the sound in each component was varied over a series of conditions. When the sound was activated by the left (or right) key in one component, it was activated by the right (or left) key in the other component. Bias was examined under a range of different variable-interval schedules, and the applicability of the generalized matching law was examined. It was found that the hens' behavior was biased away from the sound independently of the schedule in effect and that this bias could be quantified using a modified version of the generalized matching law. Behavior during the changeover delays was not affected by the presence of the noise or by changes in reinforcement rate, even though the total response measures were. Insensitivity shown during the delay suggests that behavior after the changeover delay may be more appropriate as a measure of preference (or aversiveness) of stimuli than are overall behavior measures.

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