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.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

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Symposium #369
An Empirical Tribute to the Life and Work of Raymond C. Battalio
Monday, May 29, 2006
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Leonard Green (Washington University)
Abstract: Raymond C. Battalio, experimental economist and early contributor to the field of behavioral economics died in December of 2004. This symposium will pay tribute to Ray's memory by showcasing the diversity of experimental economic research being conducted in the field of behavioral economics.
Continuing Behavioral-Economic Contributions: Team vs. Individual Play in Games.
JOHN KAGEL (Ohio State University), David Cooper (Case-Western Reserve University)
Abstract: Ray Battalio was a pioneer in the field of experimental economics. One of the enduring legacies of experimental research is the introduction of behavioral principles into economics that had been ignored or denied within standard economic theory or were simply beyond discussion since there was no theoretical basis for addressing the issues. My talk will summarize some ongoing research on team versus individual play in games that is of relevance to both economists and behaviorists. The news for behaviorists is that we find significant synergies in team as opposed to individual play, and strong positive cross-game learning, in contrast to the usual results reported in psychology experiments. We attribute these differences to differences in structure between interactive games and the individual decision making experiments that typically underlie psychology experiments on these topics.
A Behavioral-Economic Model of Social Support.
EDWIN B. FISHER, JR. (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
Abstract: Social support is critically important (social isolation being as lethal as smoking one pack of cigarettes per day), but poorly understood, to wit, "It wasn't anything he did or said but just knowing he was there." From the perspective of behavioral economics, support may be modeled as a valued commodity, the key characteristics of which are features like attractiveness and availability. As a commodity, support may substitute for harmful commodities such as nicotine or alcohol. Evidence consistent with this perspective includes increases in smoking after divorce or widowhood, when an important source of the substitute commodity is withdrawn. Similarly, relapse following the termination of supportive treatments is consistent with a model in which a substitute commodity must continue to be available in order to decrease smoking or alcohol consumption. In contrast, more-traditional models which view support as somehow strengthening the individual, conveying coping skills, or enhancing "self efficacy" have trouble explaining that benefits of support end when availability of support is terminated. The commodity view also is consistent with meta-analyses indicating that the best predictors of sustained behavior change in health-promotion programs are duration and variety of contact, not any "magic bullet" of program content. Finally, in a parent-support intervention that reduced children’s’ hospitalizations for asthma by 50%, previous contacts with the "Asthma Coach" predicted subsequent contacts, after controlling for key demographic and clinical variables. This suggests the importance of the attractiveness and availability of the Coach, that is, the Coach serving as a commodity.
A New Demand Law and the Essential Value of Reinforcers.
STEVEN R. HURSH (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine & SAIC)
Abstract: Empirical support for an exponential demand equation with human and nonhuman subjects responding for a variety of reinforcers will be examined. Implications for quantifying and understanding reinforcer efficacy, behavioral sensivity, etc. will be discussed.
Behavioral Economics of Relative Reinforcer Efficacy.
GREGORY J. MADDEN (University of Kansas), John R. Smethells (University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire), Eric E. Ewan (University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire), Steven R. Hursh (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine & SAIC)
Abstract: Results of two experiments will be presented. Both studies were conducted to test the predictions of two behavioral economic models of reinforcer efficacy. The first experiment examined demand for food and an economic substitute (fat), while the second examined demand for food and an economic complement (water). Results tended to support the normalized demand approach outlined by Hursh and Winger (1995).



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