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    Eight food-deprived Wistar rats developed stable patterns of lever pressing and licking when exposed to a fixed-time 30-s schedule of food pellet presentation. The rats were trained to lever press by presenting the lever 10 s before the programmed food delivery, with the food pellet being delivered immediately upon a lever press. The operant contingency was then removed and the lever was inserted through the entire interfood interval, being withdrawn with food delivery and reinserted 2 s later. On successive phases of the study, a protective contingency postponed food delivery if responses (lever presses or licks) occurred within the last 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, or 25 s of the interfood interval. Lever pressing was reduced at much shorter response-food delays than those that reduced licking. These results demonstrate that reinforcement contributes to the maintenance of different response patterns on periodic schedules, and that different responses are differentially sensitive to delays.


    Ricardo Pellón, Angeles Pérez-Padilla. Response-food delay gradients for lever pressing and schedule-induced licking in rats. Learning & behavior. 2013 Jun;41(2):218-27

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    PMID: 23271664

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