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.


First International Conference; Italy, 2001

Event Details

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Paper Session #96
Behavioral Economics and Water as Reinforcers
Friday, November 30, 2001
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
White Hall
Area: EAB
Chair: Carlos A. Bruner (National University of Mexico)
The Acquisition and Maintenance of Leverpressing with Water Reinforcement by Non-Thirsty Rats
Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
CARLOS A. BRUNER (National University of Mexico), Raul Avila (National University of Mexico)
Abstract: The spaced delivery of response-independent food elicits drinking in rats that have not been deprived of water. The present study was conducted to determine whether water reinforcement could be used for the acquisition and subsequent maintenance of leverpressing by non-thirsty rats. Three rats were deprived of food but not of water and directly exposed to a random time 60-s food schedule. From the onset of the experiment a lever in the chamber produced a drop of water on a given fixed interval schedule of immediate reinforcement. On both FI 7 and 15 s, the three rats leverpressed for water with a scalloped pattern. On FI 30 s one rat stopped leverpressing and on FI 60 s only one rat leverpressed for water. These results showed that operant responding can be established and maintained in the absence of the proverbial magazine training, response shaping and even deprivation of the response-produced reinforcer. In addition these results questioned the need of a functional definition of the reinforcing event given that at least in the case of water, such reinforcing function was predicted from the knowledge of a situational parameter; i.e., the concurrent availability of free food.
Behavioral Economics: Measures of Demand in Assessing Animal Needs
Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
THERESE MARY FOSTER (University of Waikato, New Zealand), William Temple (University of Waikato, New Zealand), Catherine E. Sumpter (University of Waikato, New Zealand)
Abstract: Measures of demand, derived from consumer demand theory, have been suggested as measures of animal needs. Demand curves can be generated by increasing the work required to gain access to something, and plotting the amount consumed against the work required (or analogue of price). Inelastic demand curves, in which consumption falls slowly with price increases, may indicate a degree of need for the event or activity. Elastic curves may indicate lesser or no need. Demand curves generated for something as fundamental as access to food can vary in shape and degree of elasticity according to the experimental parameters employed. Increasing session length can change the elasticity of the curves found. Increasing the work by increasing the force rather than the number of responses required produces curved, rather than linear, demand functions. This paper presents demand functions derived from hens working for food under various session lengths, response requirements (key-pecking and door-pushing) and with work increases as either number or force requirement changes. It suggests that defining an event as needed, or not, from a single determination of a demand curve may be inappropriate and that comparisons between demand curves should be made only when experimental parameters are consonant between the determinations.



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