An assumption inherent in the theory and practice of operant psychology is that response rate is relatively invariant during steady-state procedures. Recent research has refuted this assumption, demonstrating instead that response rate changes in a large and systematic fashion during many steady-state operant procedures. This finding mandates that operant researchers take into account these within-session changes in response rate when designing and conducting research. Because behavioral pharmacologists use operant techniques and principles, these within-session changes in response rate must be taken into account when conducting behavioral pharmacological research as well. This paper briefly reviews what is known about within-session response patterns and poses the question: Might similar factors contribute to within-session changes in response rate when both drug and nondrug reinforcers are used? Finally, the paper explores some implications of within-session changes in response rate for behavioral pharmacology.
Roll, John M. and McSweeney, Frances K.
"Within-Session Changes in Response Rate: Implications for Behavioral Pharmacology,"
The Psychological Record: Vol. 49
, Article 2.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol49/iss1/2