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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Paper Session #447
Int'l Paper Session - Stimulus Effects
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
Boulevard C (2nd floor)
Area: EAB
Chair: Adam Derenne (University of North Dakota)
When Studying Humans Fails to Explain Their Behavior: An Example from Pitch Perception
Domain: Basic Research
RONALD G. WEISMAN (Queens University), Andrea Friedrich (University of Kentucky), Thomas Zentall (University of Kentucky)
Abstract: Some students of human behavior believe that the only way to understand human behavior is to study humans. The implication is that studying other animals is pointless. Here we show that, at least in the case of absolute pitch perception (AP), studying only humans cannot lead to an understanding of human behavior. We report operant discrimination tests of AP in 3 and 8 frequency ranges in several species of birds and mammals. Species from three avian orders (songbirds and parrots that learn complex songs and calls and pigeons that do not learn their vocalizations) had accurate AP in 3 and 8-range discriminations. Two mammalian species (humans, who learn their vocalizations, and rats, who do not) had poor AP: they acquired a fairly accurate discrimination of 3 ranges and only a crude discrimination of the lowest and highest of 8 frequency ranges. The results implicate continuity across species in the AP resolving powers of birds and mammals with birds having much superior AP. Also, the general superiority of birds in AP suggests an important difference in the perceptual basis of the evolution of communication not between humans and other species but between avian and mammalian species.
Behavioral Models of Signal Detection: Punishment for Errors
Domain: Basic Research
CELIA LIE (University of Otago, New Zealand), Brent L. Alsop (University of Otago, New Zealand)
Abstract: Behavioral models of signal detection have focused almost exclusively on the effects of reinforcement for correct choices. In contrast, the effects of punishment for errors have been largely ignored. Two competing models of punishment can be derived from research using simple concurrent-schedule procedures. Subtractive models predict that punishers directly subtract from the effects of reinforcers for the same response alternative, and additive models predict that the effects of punishers add onto the effects of reinforcers obtained for the other response alternative. In this paper, I will present possible variations of current models of detection adapted to include the additive or subtractive effects of punishment for errors. Preliminary research providing support for an additive model of punishment will also be presented.
Stimulus Generalization Revisited: The Effects of Test Organization on Generalization and Postdiscrimination Gradients
Domain: Basic Research
ADAM DERENNE (University of North Dakota)
Abstract: Stimulus generalization is usually described as a function of the individual’s learning history. However, research has shown that the organization of the generalization test also influences performances. This talk is devoted to describing examples, both old and new, of how the degree to which stimulus generalization occurs depends on how stimulus generalization is assessed. The new research was conducted with college undergraduates. The major findings from this new work include that a) increasing the range of test stimuli increases the frequency of responses to the S+ and other, similar stimuli, and b) increasing the range of test stimuli serves to eliminate the peak shift.



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