Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Paper Session #549
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
1:00 PM–1:50 PM
Bonham C (Grand Hyatt)
Area: EAB
Chair: Heather L. Peters (The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand)
Age, Diffusion and Place Preference Reversal
Domain: Experimental Analysis
JAIME ROBLES (Virginia Commonwealth University), Cristina I. Vargas-Irwin (Fundación Universitaria Konrad Lorenz)
Abstract: The diffusion of reward expectations with time is a key problem for quantitative models of spatial search. These models predict a reversal in preference for two rewards as time between reward encounters is varied. This prediction was tested using juvenile and aging rats, and differences between both groups of animals were simulated by systematic exploration of the diffusion parametric space. Differences in model specification, such as initial conditions, parametric variations and optimization algorithms, are discussed as key element in the appropriate modeling of place preference reversal, with the specific aim to provide quantitative modeling of age-induced differences. The parametric representation of spatial learning as a function of age is illustrated.
Probabilistic discounting with differing levels of background income
Domain: Experimental Analysis
HEATHER L. PETERS (The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand), Maree J. Hunt (Victoria University of Wellington), David N. Harper (Victoria University of Wellington)
Abstract: The tendency to engage in problematic gambling is related to the rate at which individuals discount probabilistic reinforcers. Those that discount probabilistic reinforcers less may be more inclined to maintain gambling behaviour. One possible explanation for individual differences in discounting rates is the value of each outcome relative to a person’s access to other forms of income. Participants in this study were third year psychology students. They played a computer snowboarding game where points were obtained for making jumps on a ski run. The points available for these jumps were used as an analogue of background income. Occasionally additional points were available for ‘special jumps’ that gave participants the opportunity to choose between two outcomes. One guaranteed a certain number of points while the other offered them a chance to gamble for a greater number of points with differing probabilities of winning across trials. Data were well described by hyperbolic and hyperbolic-like functions with probabilistic discounting rates varying as a product of the background income. These are discussed in relation to previous research on the magnitude of outcomes and the energy budget model.



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