A behaviorism concept, a scalloped response pattern occurs when responses start slowly but then increase in speed as the time that reinforcement is used nears. Scalloped response patterns occur in fixed-interval schedules in which reinforcements are available at a fixed, specific time.
They are called this because when the data is graphed it has a curve, scallop shaped appearance.
For example, a fixed-interval schedule would be making food available (a reinforcement) to a mouse who hits a lever after every five minutes. So no matter how many times the mouse hits a lever before the five minute mark, the mouse will only receive reinforcement after the interval of time (five minutes) has passed. A scalloped response pattern results from this in that after the reinforcement happens the responses of the mouse (hitting the lever) cease then slowly start up again. As the time nears the five minute mark the responses increase in frequency because the organism knows reinforcement time is nearing.
***Here is a wiki image of the patterns that will help drive the concept home -http://elearningwiki.com/images/d/da/ReinforcSched.png