Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Kennon A Lattal

Committee Co-Chair

Amy Fiske

Committee Member

Claire St Peter

Committee Member

Gregory J Thompson


Schedule thinning procedures are usually implemented with the goal of maintaining behavior despite decreasing reinforcement. The effectiveness of these procedures appears to depend largely at the rate at which reinforcement is decreased, with thinning procedures that decrease reinforcement too rapidly resulting in response elimination. Despite the importance of schedule thinning rate in determining the efficacy of these procedures, different rates of thinning are seldom compared directly in terms of their effects on the elimination of the response. The present study examined the effects of different rates of thinning on response elimination in the context of alternative reinforcement. Pigeons responded on two concurrent variable interval schedules in a Findley (1958) arrangement. One component schedule was thinned at across sessions, while the other component schedule remained constant. More gradual thinning resulted in more gradual response elimination; however, this effect could be explained entirely by the persistence of reinforcement in more gradual thinning conditions.