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1.  An infrared system for the detection of a pigeon's pecks at alphanumeric characters on a TV screen: the dependency of letter detection on the predictability of one letter by another. 
Three pigeons pecked at letters of the alphabet and at the symbol "?" displayed on a computer-driven cathode ray screen. A 4 by 4 matrix of infrared emitting and detecting diodes and associated circuitry identified the location of a pigeon's responses to the screen. Responses at the target letter T were probabilistically reinforced with food whenever T appeared in a string of three letters in the middle of the screen. Responses at the symbol "?" appearing below this string were probabilistically reinforced whenever T did not appear. The letter F anywhere in the three-character string either strongly predicted the occurrence of the target letter T, in two conditions, or predicted its nonoccurrence, in a third. This manipulation of the frequency with which the familiar letter F predicted T was shown to change the function relating probability of a correct peck at the symbol "?" to the number of Fs in the string. This effect may be interpreted as an instance of the phenomenon where an organism's acquired knowledge changes what it sees.
PMCID: PMC1348135  PMID: 3998660
2.  Tolerance in a rigorous science. 
Scientists often evaluate other people's theories by the same standards they apply to their own work; it is as though scientists may believe that these criteria are independent of their own personal priorities and standards. As a result of this probably implicit belief, they sometimes may make less useful judgments than they otherwise might if they were able and willing to evaluate a specific theory at least partly in terms of the standards appropriate to that theory. Journal editors can play an especially constructive role in managing this diversity of standards and opinion.
PMCID: PMC1284705  PMID: 10220935
3.  Preference for starting and finishing behavior patterns. 
Pigeon's key pecking was reinforced with food in two experiments in which the correspondence between preference for starting one of two reinforced behavior patterns and the likelihood of finishing it subsequently was examined. Reinforcers were scheduled according to concurrent schedules for two classes of interresponse times, modified such that reinforcers followed a center-key peck terminating either a shorter interresponse time started by a left-key peck or a longer interresponse time started by a right-key peck. In Experiment 1, the times when reinforcers potentially were available were not discriminated, whereas in Experiment 2 they were. Absolute reinforced pattern durations were varied. The relative frequency of starting a particular pattern was highly correlated with relative frequency of that completed pattern in both experiments. Other relations between starting and finishing a pattern depended on whether reinforced interresponse times were discriminated. For instance, preference for starting a pattern sometimes correlated negatively with the likelihood of subsequently completing it. The present experiments are described as capturing part of the ordinary language meaning of "intention," according to which an organism's behavior at one moment sets the occasion for an observer to say that the organism "intends" in the future to engage in one behavior rather than another.
PMCID: PMC1339186  PMID: 2584918
4.  Computational behavior dynamics: an alternative description of Nevin (1969). 
A computational processing behavior-dynamic model was instantiated in the form of a computer program that "behaved" on the task developed by Nevin (1969). In this classic discrete-trials experiment, the relative frequency of choosing a response alternative matched the relative frequency of reinforcement for that alternative, the local structure of responding was opposite that predicted by momentary maximizing (i.e., the probability of a changeover decreased with run length), and absolute and relative response rates varied independently. The behavior-dynamic model developed here qualitatively reproduced these three results (but not in quantitative and specific detail) and also generated some interesting, as-yet-untested predictions about performance in Nevin's task. The model was discussed as an example of a stochastic behavior-dynamic alternative to algebraic behavior theory.
PMCID: PMC1323231  PMID: 1602268
5.  The local organization of behavior: dissociations between a pigeon's behavior and self-reports of that behavior. 
The purpose of the experiment was to study the relation between what an organism does in a setting that demands temporal patterning of behavior and what it reports it has done. More specifically, a pigeon produced two classes, shorter and longer, of temporal patterns of key pecks (interresponse times) on a center key. Occasionally, a symbolic matching-to-sample probe arranged on side keys asked the pigeon whether its most recent pattern was a shorter or longer one. The longer reinforced pattern was always three times as long as the shorter one and the two patterns were reinforced equally often. Absolute duration of reinforced patterns was varied. In some conditions, interresponse-time distributions on the center key were bimodal, indicating a clear behavioral adaptation to the contingency, yet a bird did not report very well by appropriate side-key responding what its most recent interresponse time had been. In other conditions, the interresponse-time distributions were less clearly bimodal, yet a bird reported more accurately its previous interresponse time as shorter or longer. Thus, there was a dissociation between how well behavior on the center key conformed to the schedule requirement and how well a bird reported what it was doing on the center key. In addition, as absolute duration of the reinforced patterns was increased, a bird categorized its most recent pattern less well even as its preference for the shorter pattern increased dramatically. These results were interpreted as an example of the phenomenon of dissociation between tacit knowledge and knowledge.
PMCID: PMC1347883  PMID: 6833940
6.  The local organization of behavior: discrimination of and memory for simple behavioral patterns. 
A procedure was developed to enable nonverbal organisms to report what they remember of the temporal organization of their recent behavior. A baseline behavior with known temporal structure was established by a concurrent variable-interval variable-interval schedule for two temporal patterns of behavior (two different classes of reinforced inter-response times). The five pigeon subjects emitted these two temporal patterns on a center key and were occasionally given a short-term memory probe for their most-recently-emitted pattern. The probes consisted of symbolic delayed matching-to-sample tests, in which a response on a green side key was reinforced if the most recent pattern belonged to the shorter reinforced class, and a response to a red side key was reinforced if the most recent pattern belonged to the longer reinforced class. All subjects could report with over ninety percent accuracy what their most recently emitted behavioral pattern was when a retention interval separating the pattern from the memory probe was only .1 seconds. The retention interval was then manipulated, and it was found that recall for a pattern was frequently above chance after a delay of as much as eight seconds. Thus, pigeons can remember their most recent interresponse time not only right after it is emitted, but for several seconds thereafter. In other conditions, the patterns themselves were manipulated. It was found that as the patterns became more similar, discrimination became poorer. These results agree with the view that reinforcement tends to organize and integrate the local structure of behavior to the extent to which that structure is remembered.
PMCID: PMC1333100  PMID: 7310261
7.  Short-term memory in the pigeon: delayed-pair-comparison procedures and some results. 
A discrete-trials, delayed-pair-comparison procedure was developed to study visual short-term memory for tilted lines. In four experiments, pigeons' responses on left or right keys were reinforced with food depending on whether a comparison stimulus was or was not the same as a standard stimulus presented earlier in the same trial. In Experimental I, recall was an increasing function of the exposure time of the to-be-remembered stimulus and was a decreasing function of the retention interval. In Experiment II, retroactive interference was investigated: recall was poorer after a retention interval during which was presented either a tilted line or contextual stimuli in the form of the illuminated experimental chamber. In Experiment III, a subject was required to engage, throughout the retention interval, in one or the other of two different behaviors, depending on which of two stimuli a subject was to remember. This mnemonic strategy vastly improved recall after 15- and 20-second retention intervals. In Experiment IV, the opposite end of the performance continuum was studied: by combining the effects of a larger stimulus set and the effects of what presumably was an increased memory load, performance was reduced to approximately chance levels after retention intervals shorter than 1 second.
PMCID: PMC1333610  PMID: 903742

Results 1-7 (7)