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

Previous Page


Symposium #458
Int'l Symposium - Behavioral Momentum: Basic Issues
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
12:00 PM–1:20 PM
International South (2nd floor)
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Timothy A. Shahan (Utah State University)
Discussant: Randolph C. Grace (University of Canterbury)
Abstract: The papers in this symposium address fundamental questions in the study of behavioral momentum. The papers present data directed at further evaluating the predictions of behavioral momentum theory with respect to the roles of the response-reinforcer and stimulus-reinforcer relations in resistance to change and/or the resistance to change of concurrent operants . The first paper by Podlesnik and Shahan addresses the role of the response-reinforcer and stimulus-reinforcer relations in resistance to change by comparing the resistance to change of responding in contexts with added response-independent or added delayed reinforcers. The second paper by Mueller and Hineline examines the role of the stimulus-reinforcer relation in the resistance to change of unequal concurrent schedules of reinforcement. Similarly, the third paper by Bell, Fitzsimmons, and Mestas examines the resistance to change of unequal concurrent schedules of reinforcement and provides a comparison of probe preference and resistance to change when the richer schedule in one component is signaled. Randolf Grace of the University of Canterbury, New Zealand will serve as the discussant.
An Investigation of the Response-Reinforcer Relation in Resistance to Change of Operant Behavior
CHRISTOPHER A. PODLESNIK (Utah State University), Timothy A. Shahan (Utah State University)
Abstract: Behavioral momentum theory suggests that resistance to change is governed by the relation between the stimulus context and reinforcement rate (stimulus-reinforcer relation) and is independent of the relation between the response and the reinforcer (response-reinforcer relation). Thus, although response-independent food decreases response rates by greatly degrading the response-reinforcer relation, resistance to change is increased because the stimulus-reinforcer relation is enhanced. Inconsistent with behavioral momentum theory, unsignaled delays decrease response rates and resistance to change by slightly degrading the response-reinforcer relation while maintaining equal stimulus-reinforcer relations. In the present experiment, a three-component multiple schedule with equal rates of immediate response-dependent reinforcement (15 per hr) was used. Equal rates of response-independent food (60 per hr) and 3-s unsignaled delayed reinforcers (60 per hr) were added to two different baseline components. Any differences in resistance to change should reflect only differences in response-reinforcer relations because the stimulus-reinforcer relations were equal across components with added reinforcers. Consistent with behavioral-momentum theory, however, resistance to disruption was greater in the components with added reinforcers. There were no differences in resistance to change between the two components with added reinforcers. Theoretical implications of the role of the stimulus-reinforcer and response-reinforcer relations in behavioral momentum will be discussed.
The Resistance to Change of Unequal Concurrent Operants: More Data
E. TERRY MUELLER (Temple University), Philip N. Hineline (Temple University)
Abstract: Prevailing behavioral momentum theory suggests that the primary determinant of the strength of a discriminated operant is the stimulus-reinforcer contingency accompanying the SD. Observed differential resistances to change by performances maintained on unequal concurrent schedules of reinforcement conflict with this view because the concurrency of the signals that accompany the schedules may be construed to create the same stimulus-reinforcer contingency for each SD. The present research collected data relevant to this issue. Four pigeons were trained on a two-component multiple schedule with one-minute components and 30-second timeout periods between components. One component contained a VI 40” schedule whose left-versus-right key location was varied across component instances, while the distinctive color did not vary. The other multiple schedule component contained a concurrent VI 120” VI 60” schedule with differentiating colors and positions that did not vary across component instances. Obtained reinforcers for the two multiple schedule components should be approximately equal. The resistances to change of the VI 120”, VI 60”, and VI 40” performances are compared. The disruptors used were (1) successive days of pre-feeding that promoted gradual weight gain; (2) three values of huge-amount pre-feeding once per week for nine weeks; and (3) successive sessions of extinction.
Signal Effects on Preference and Resistance to Change in Concurrent Variable-Interval Schedules
MATTHEW C. BELL (Santa Clara University), Kathleen S. Fitzsimmons (Santa Clara University), Miranda Mestas (Santa Clara University)
Abstract: Pigeons were trained on a multiple schedule with two concurrent schedules of reinforcement operating in each component. During both components, one alternative was always a VI 40-s schedule. Component A paired a VI 40-s schedule with a signaled VI 20-s alternative. During this component only the stimulus correlated with the VI 40-s schedule was illuminated until reinforcement was available on the VI 20-s schedule. Then the stimulus correlated with the VI 20-s schedule was also illuminated. Component B paired a VI 40-s schedule with a VI 80-s alternative. Extinction probe tests evaluated preference for the two VI 40-s alternatives. Mean preference favored the VI 40-s schedule paired with the VI 20-s alternative. Two resistance to change tests followed probe testing. First, all reinforcement schedules were changed to extinction. Greater resistance to change was seen for the VI 40-s alternative paired with the VI 80-s schedule during baseline. The second resistance to change test added a VT 10-s schedule to the timeout period between components. Results from this manipulation showed no difference in resistance to change for the two VI 40-s schedules. Findings suggest preference and resistance to change may be controlled by different variables.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh