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Throughout ascending and descending fixed‐ratio (FR) sequences, rats were allowed to terminate the FR stimulus control by pressing a time‐out (TO) lever. To minimize chance or accidental responses on this second lever, three presses were required to produce the 30‐sec SΔ period. As FR performance became more “strained,” there was an increased predisposition to escape from the time‐in stimulus complex. The generality of this finding was extended by obtaining recoverability (independent of the direction of stimulus change) of the FR‐TO function in the descending series. Typically, escapes were produced only during the post‐reinforcement pause; however, under a mixed FR FR schedule, their occurrence shifted to a point within the inter‐reinforcement interval corresponding to the unreinforced completion of the lower ratio component. It appears that the point where the rat can discriminate the size of the ratio requirement will be the place where TOs are imposed. This inference was supported by a substantial increase in TO frequency accompanying a shift from CRF to extinction on the FR lever. Finally, the escape lever was placed on a progressively increasing FR schedule and later extinguished to demonstrate that the TO condition was in fact reinforcing. 1964 Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior

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Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior

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