Schedules of Irrelevant Signals and Maintenance of Monitoring Behavior

Science  13 Feb 1959:
Vol. 129, Issue 3346, pp. 387-388
DOI: 10.1126/science.129.3346.387


Subjects clearly discriminated between critical and irrelevant signals, yet an intermittent schedule of irrelevant signals produced reliably higher rates of responding than did the continuous presentation of such signals. This is exactly the result obtained with similar variations in reward schedules. It seems that essentially "meaningless" changes in stimulation can reinforce behavior, too.