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Coordinated and individual behavior in pairs of rats under variable-interval schedule

Grant number: 19/22411-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2020
Effective date (End): December 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Experimental Psychology
Principal researcher:Deisy das Graças de Souza
Grantee:Marcelo Afonso Keller Ferreira Lima
Home Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:14/50909-8 - INCT 2014: Behavior, Cognition and Teaching (INCT-ECCE): relational learning and symbolic functioning, AP.TEM

Abstract

The combined behavior of two or more individuals is subject to selection by the consequences of the environment, likewise individual operant behavior. Previous studies have used an interdependence procedure to investigate the conditional response-reinforcement relationship and the effects of the reinforcement schedule type on coordinated behavior. The laboratory in which this study will be conducted was the first to investigate the coordinated response under schedules of reinforcement and establish a program to explore the effects of different schedules. One of the studies investigated the effects of parametric manipulation on fixed-ratio schedules (FR 1, 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 50 and 70) on the pairs of rats performance under two conditions, one requiring responses temporally coordinates of the two pairs members and another in which the reinforce was released for independent individual responses (Coordinate versus Individual Condition). The function that related the total rate of responses to the size of the ratio had the inverted U-shaped, both for coordinated responses and for individuals responses who worked individually, replicating the function obtained with individual organisms. However, in the condition that required coordination, while the proportion of coordinated responses was distributed according to the inverted U-shaped function (replicating the function to the rate), individual responses that did not meet the coordination requirement varied in an unsystematic way. The patterns of coordinated responses also replicated those obtained with individual organisms: post-reinforcement pauses were larger the greater the ratio value. The present study was planned as a systematic replication, aiming to explore the effects of the duration of the variable interval schedules (VI 5s, 15s, 30s, 75s, 150s and 30s, in this order), with the objective of expanding the understanding of selection processes of coordinated responses between rats. As in the previous study, conditions will be compared with and without the coordination requirement. They will be used six pairs of rats, three for each condition. Data analysis will focus on describing: a) the functions that relate total rates and the proportion of coordinated responses to the duration of the intervals; b) the response patterns generated by the variable interval scheme. If the response in the coordination condition is sensitive to the schedules, a direct, negatively accelerated function should be observed, and the response pattern will be a distribution without systematic variations in the post-reinforcement pauses as a function of the VI's duration.