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Document Type

Article

Abstract

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.

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