MATCHING AND MAXIMIZING ON CONCURRENT VARIABLE-INTERVAL, VARIABLE-RATIO SCHEDULES
Prior work has shown that pigeons pecking on concurrent variable-interval, variable-ratio schedules: (1) match their behavior ratios to the schedules' reinforcer-frequency ratios; and (2) show a preference for a variable-interval schedule. Sine maximizing the reinforcement rate requires a variable-ratio preference, these results have been viewed as establishing the primacy of matching over maximizing in choice. In the present report, different behavior ratios were simulated on a computer as responses to concurrent variable-interval, variable-ratio schedules. No matter what preference was specified, matching obtained--a result suggesting that preference directed reinforcement frequencies to produce matching. This notion was tested experimentally with three pigeons exposed to concurrent variable-interval, variable-ratio schedules in which hopper durations were varied in some conditions in order to produce experimenter-specified preferences. Matching obtained between behavior ratios and reinforcer-frequency ratios at all preferences selected. Since matching seems procedurally dictated on these schedules, the data they produce cannot establish the primacy of matching over maximizing in choice.