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.


31st Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2005

Event Details

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Special Event #55
Int'l SQAB 2005 Tutorial: Choice and Value
Saturday, May 28, 2005
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
International South (2nd floor)
Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Leonard Green (Washington University)
Presenting Authors: : RANDOLPH C. GRACE (University of Canterbury, New Zealand)
Abstract: Herrnstein’s (1961) discovery that response allocation matched relative reinforcement rate in concurrent schedules – ‘the matching law’ – began a tradition of research on behavioral choice. Subsequently, however, theoretical explanations for the matching law proliferated, with no clear resolution. I argue that the problem has been that the concurrent schedules procedure is unable to answer the questions it was originally meant to. The more complex concurrent-chains procedure overcomes this difficulty, and in the last decade, research has shown that the matching law provides an integrative quantitative framework for concurrent chains and other choice procedures. We now know that stimuli acquire value according to a temporal discounting process with generality across species; that choice as well as resistance to change is determined by relative value; and that effects of different aspects of reinforcement such as delay, probability, and magnitude on value are additive. These results confirm the utility of the matching law for understanding behavioral choice.
RANDOLPH C. GRACE (University of Canterbury, New Zealand)



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