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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Poster Session #465
Monday, May 26, 2014
7:00 PM–9:00 PM
W375a-d (McCormick Place Convention Center)
20. An Examination of the Potential Reinforcing Effects of Aversive Stimuli
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
IOANNIS ANGELAKIS (Panteion University)
Abstract: Some individuals repeatedly engage in behaviors that may produce pain or other aversive stimulation (e.g., self harming). However, the process by which these behaviors are reinforced often is unclear. This study examined how an aversive stimulus could be conditioned as a reinforcer to discern the underlying operative process. Participants were exposed to a 72 DB tone, which all rated as aversive. Next, they were required to play a computerized game in which mouse clicks on a map produced “treasures” or “bombs.” Participants were told that bombs could be “disabled” for periods of 9 sec by pressing a foot pedal. However, each pedal press produced the aversive tone. Rates of pedal pressing remained high across sessions. Next, participants were told that bombs had been disabled. Pedal presses produced the sound in some sessions and no sound in others. Rates of pedal pressing maintained when the sound was produced; however, pedal pressing eventually ceased when the tone was not produced. Follow-up measures indicated that 90% of the participants still rated the tone as aversive. These findings suggest that the aversive stimulus functioned as a positive reinforcer, given that participants chose to produce the sound even when it did not abate punishing contingencies.

A Multimodal Investigation of Human Avoidance, Perceived Threat, and Emotion

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
MADONNA L. LUDLUM (University of North Texas), Scott Solomon (University Of North Texas), Sandy Magee (University of North Texas), Simon Dymond (Swansea University), Michael W. Schlund (University of North Texas)

Avoidance paradigms are widely used in basic and clinical investigations on emotional disorders to understand the interplay between threat (i.e., stimuli correlated with aversive events), emotion and approach/avoidance behavior. One issue that has received increasing attention in clinical affective neuroscience research concerns the extent to which engaging in avoidance is associated with reductions in fear/anxiety---commonly indexed using subjective ratings and autonomic arousal measures (i.e. skin-conductance responses: SCRs). We examined this issue by first having subjects undergo threat conditioning in which levels on a threat meter (ranging from 1 to 10) were paired with increasing probabilities of money loss. Increases in the threat level were found to be associated with incremental increases in ratings of feeling threatened, loss expectancy and SCRs. During a subsequent avoidance task, threat levels were individually presented and subjects chose between (a) avoiding possible loss and (b) earning 10 cents + possible loss. Results showed increases in the threat level were associated with increases in the choice to avoid. However, there was marked variability across subjects with some continuing to show increases in ratings of feeling threatened and SCRs while others showed some reductions. These findings highlight important individual differences that are relevant to research on factors associated with risk of psychopathology.


Competition Between Appetitive and Aversive Contingencies: Implications for Understanding Excessive Avoidance and Threat Bias in Psychopathology.

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
SCOTT SOLOMON (University Of North Texas), Madonna L. Ludlum (University of North Texas), Sandy Magee (University of North Texas), Simon Dymond (Swansea University), Michael W. Schlund (University of North Texas)

Many forms of psychopathology are characterized by a negative bias and excessive avoidance which are commonly attributed to an imbalance between approach and avoidance neural systems. We have proposed that negative bias and avoidance may be better understood in terms of a competition between appetitive and aversive contingencies with dysfunction represented as disproportionate aversive control. To examine this competition, our subjects first underwent threat conditioning in which levels on a threat meter (ranging from 1 to 10) were paired with increasing probabilities of money loss. Next, subjects completed an approach-avoidance task where threat levels were individually presented and subjects chose between (a) avoiding possible loss and (b) earning 10 cents + possible loss. Results showed increases in the threat level were associated with increases in the choice to avoid and ratings of feeling threatened, but also loss expectancy. Importantly, an indifference point was obtained for each subject that highlighted the threat level associated with a shift in control from the appetitive to the aversive contingency. This methodology provides a (much needed) quantitative measure of threat bias and creates an opportunity for examining variables designed to reduce bias and associated imbalances.

23. The Effect of Cost of Response on Resources Usage on a Common Dilemma Game
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
DYEGO DE CARVALH COSTA (Universida de Brasilia; Universidade Estadual do Piaui), Patricia Luz de Sousa (Universidade Estadual do Piaui), Jocyara Oliveria (Universidade Estadual do Piaui)
Abstract: Hardin (1968) proposed a theory called Tragedy of commons to describe overexploitation of natural resources. These theory suggest that the overexploitation and consequente depleting is controlled by individual consequences. In despite of that, the resources usage is obviously a social behavior. To study that some researcher had studied the field putting together the behavior analysis theory and a game called The Common Dilemma Game of Games Theory. In the same way of Silva (2008), this work manipulated the cost of response as independent variable to decrease this unwanted effect. The game used a fishing scenario with groups of three persons. Each one of them had to choose between three options. One with the biggest cost and consequence (green), another with a small cost and medium amount of points (yellow) e with no cost with the smallest amount of points (red). The cost was manipulated in two different experiments. In experiment 1, the cost was a Tangran game. So to get points they had to finish a tangran that varies of difficulty from one to three, based in number of turns by peace (Effort cost). In Experiment 2, the cost was a payment of part of participants points earned previously (Economy cost). In Experiment 1 the effort was very effective in exert control to avoid the most costly option even when this includes avoiding the more amount of points. The cost was so aversive that to avoid it the participants choose the worst option for the environment finishing the resources with few trials. In Experiment 2, the avoidance was also produced. But in this experiment, the participants analyzed the combinations of earnings and payment to choose, so the cost one was ineffective and cost two had the same result for two of three participants of the experiment 1. In cost three the avoidance produced similar data with effort cost of experiment 1. The two experiment demonstrated the aversive properties of two different kinds of cost, and also that the tangran cost was more effective and aversive that economic cost. These results suggest that physical cost could produce more balanced resources usage and could be used as a consequence like some physical activities to help the resources replenishment as recycling, plant and littering.
24. Avoidance of Token-Losses with Pigeons
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
JAMES E. COOK (West Virginia University), Kennon Andy Lattal (West Virginia University)
Abstract: The delivery and loss of tokens can respectively reinforce and punish behavior, but little research has examined behavior that avoids or escapes the loss of tokens (e.g., money) though such contingencies exist in everyday life (e.g., avoiding fines). Humans will respond to avoid the loss of tokens, but there has been no such demonstration using nonhuman animals. Four pigeons responded in a two-component multiple schedule (Avoid and Gain components). Initially, responding was maintained in both components by a variable-ratio (VR) 4 (variable-interval [VI] 30-s) schedule of token exchange and production. Then in the Avoid component, pigeons were given tokens and required to respond on a variable-cycle (VC) 30-s schedule to avoid the removal of tokens. Responding was maintained in the Avoid component for all pigeons. Implementing extinction (EXT) in the Gain component resulted in decreased responding in both components. When the VR 4 (VI 30-s) schedule was reinstated in the Gain component, responding increased in the Gain component but remained low in the Avoid component. These data indicate that the responding of nonhuman animals can be maintained by the avoidance of token-losses, and when arranged in a multiple schedule, avoidance responding can be affected by changes in another component.
25. Effect of Timeout Duration on Discriminated Avoidance Behavior in Humans
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
YUKO KOSHITSUKA (Komazawa University), Koichi Ono (Komazawa University)
Abstract: This experiment investigated whether human avoidance responses were affected by long and short duration of timeout in discriminated avoidance procedure. While participants engaged in button press responses which were reinforced by points with variable-interval (VI) 10 s schedules, different duration of timeouts were emerged. Three kinds of timeout duration were 10 s, 30 s, and 60 s, and each was designated by the colors of VI button: green, orange, and red respectively. Timeouts could be removed if participants pressed avoidance button at least once during each VI time-in period. For participants in two of the three groups, each response on the avoidance button yielded one point or ten point loss as a response cost, and for the rest of participants responses produced no point loss. As a result, avoidance responses occurred frequently when the colors of the VI button represented 30 s and 60 s of timeout duration, and few responses occurred when the color of VI button was green (10s timeout). In addition, participants showed the highest sensitivity to each of three discriminative stimuli under one point loss condition.
26. Are Rich-to-Lean Transitions Aversive?
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
BILLIE J. KLEIN (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Raymond C. Pitts (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Christine E. Hughes (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Abstract: Pausing during fixed-ratio schedules is maladaptive in the sense that it delays reinforcement. Pausing following reinforcement is especially pronounced during signaled transitions from relatively rich to relatively lean environments. One potential explanation of this extended pause is that such transitions are aversive, and the extended pause functions as escape. The presented study investigated the extended pause demonstrated on multiple fixed-ratio schedules during rich-to-lean transitions, using pigeons as subjects. During the multiple schedule each transition type was signaled by a unique stimulus, allowing for an independent investigation into the function of each transition type. Additionally, during some sessions pigeons were provided a stimulus-termination key. A response to this key changed the schedule key from a multiple-schedule stimulus, which signaled the upcoming transition, to a mixed-schedule stimulus, which did not signal the upcoming transition. Responding during the initial multiple-schedule demonstrated extended pausing during rich-to-lean transitions suggesting an aversive nature of the stimulus signaling a rich-to-lean transition. Continued investigation into responding on an available stimulus-termination key aims to clarify the nature of the rich-to-lean stimulus. If responding were maintained by termination of this stimulus, but not of stimuli signaling other transition types, additional support for the aversive transition hypothesis would be provided.
27. The Effects of Varying Levels of Food Deprivation on Escape and Avoidance Responding in Mice
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
MATTHEW LEWON (University of Nevada, Reno), Glory R. Finnegan (University of Nevada, Reno), Sarah Hogue (University of Nevada, Reno), Linda J. Parrott Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Motivating operations (MOs) are typically held to alter the extent to which specific stimuli are reinforcing or aversive, which is correlated with changes in an organism’s behavior with respect to those specific stimuli as consequences. It is likely, however, that any given MO affects the reinforcing/punishing efficacy of a wide range of reinforcers and/or aversive stimuli. The present study examined whether the MO of food deprivation, which establishes food as a more effective reinforcer, also alters the extent to which other stimuli function as aversive. Mice were taught to respond on a nose poke apparatus to escape or avoid the presentation of a loud noise in a signaled avoidance procedure, and the rate of responding to terminate or avoid the noise was taken as a measure of the noise’s efficacy as an aversive stimulus. Relative to sessions in which subjects were not deprived of food, substantially more escape/avoidance responses were made during sessions in which subjects were deprived of food for either 16 or 24 hours. These findings suggest that, in addition to altering the value of food as a reinforcer, food deprivation also alters the extent to which noise functions as an aversive stimulus.
28. Discrimination Acquisition Rate of Complex and Simple Stimuli in Pigeon Subjects
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
REBECCA HOTCHKISS (Fordham University )
Abstract: Stimuli differ in their simplicity or, conversely, complexity. Carter and Eckerman (1975) researched matching to sample acquisition based on stimuli complexity and found that there was no difference in rate of learning between the two. But information theory (Jensen, Ward, Balsam, 2013) quantifies the idea that complex stimuli contain more information than simple stimuli. Thus with more information it should be easier for the organism to distinguish between complex stimuli rather than between simple stimuli. Two experiments were conducted to investigate the application of this theory to discrimination training in pigeons. The first experiment compared the rate of learning identity matching to sample using colors with the rate of learning symbolic matching to sample using clip art as samples and different clip art as comparisons. A second experiment compared acquisition of discrimination between simple stimuli, shapes, with acquisition of a discrimination between complex stimuli, shapes superimposed over photographs. Both experiments found that discriminations using complex stimuli were acquired at a faster rate than discrimination among simple stimuli, which contradicts previous research that had reverse findings. The present results support the information theory as applied to discrimination learning, where the more information provided by a stimulus allows for a faster learning.
29. Exclusion Performance and Emergent Simple Discriminations in Domestic Dogs (Canis Familiaris)
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
ISABELA ZAINE (Universidade Federal de São Carlos), Camila Domeniconi (Universidade Federal de São Carlos), Julio C. De Rose (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos)
Abstract: Investigation of emergent behaviors in non-human animals may lead to evidence of symbolic behavior in non-verbal organisms. This study aimed to investigate exclusion performance and emergent simple discriminations after visual simple simultaneous discrimination trainings (S+/S-) in four adult domestic dogs. Exclusion was inferred by tests of: 1) choices between the S- set and undefined stimuli (SI); 2) choices between the S+ and another set of undefined stimuli (SI). Choices of SI in test type 1 and S+ in test 2 simultaneously indicate exclusion performance. Trials between SI and SI tested for emergent simple discriminations in which choices of SI indicate emergent repertoire resultant from exclusion trials. Training was conducted in 2 blocks of 6 different pairs of stimuli each. After each training block, 2 cycles of tests were conducted, being the first comprised by 6 trials different from each other, and the second repeated those trials. Exclusion was found for 3 subjects considering training blocks separately or pooled and for all subjects analyzing just cycles 1 from both trainings (Fischers test: p<0.03). Emergent simple discriminations were observed for two subjects, both in the second block of training (binomial p<0.01). Results suggest dogs performed by exclusion, but learning outcomes were not a frequent result.
30. The Effect of Pre-exposure to Appetitive and aversive Stimuli on Running and Eating in Activity Based Anorexia With Rats
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
ANNE CASTLEY (Bryn Mawr), Paul D. Neuman (Bryn Mawr College)
Abstract: This study examined the effect of pre-exposure to aversive and appetitive stimuli on wheel rotations, food intake and weight loss. 48 Male Sprague Dawley rats at approximately 180 grams were assigned to 4 pre-exposure conditions: handling, heights, immobilization and forced running. The subjects were handled, placed in a Plexiglas box 3.5 feet above the ground, immobilized, or forced to run for 5 minutes daily during baseline. After 5 consecutive days of baseline, the ABA phase began, consisting of restricted food and wheel access until subjects reached 75% of their baseline weight. During the ABA procedure, half of these subjects were randomly selected for continued exposure to the assigned condition while the other half were exposed to ABA only. Once the subjects reached the exclusion criterion of 75% of their baseline weight, they were presented with free access to food and the running wheels were locked. The amount of food consumed, wheel rotations and weight loss during the ABA phase differed based on pre-exposure to the various conditions. These results could be applied to treating people with anorexia nervosa.
31. Symmetry in Rats: A Matter of Procedure?
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
ASHLEY PRICHARD (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Danielle Panoz-Brown (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Katie Dyer (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Samantha Hess (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Erin Lackey (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Melissa Deal (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Katherine Ely Bruce (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Mark Galizio (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Abstract: The process of category and class formation via trained conditional discriminations facilitates the study of emergent relations, especially related to stimulus equivalence in nonhumans. While most studies of emergent symmetry in nonhumans have yielded negative results (see Lionello-DeNolf, 2009 for review), symmetry has been demonstrated in pigeons using visual stimuli in a Go-No-Go procedure (Frank & Wasserman, 2005; Urcuioli, 2008 and subsequent studies). We attempted to replicate Urcuiolis (2008) study in Sprague-Dawley rats in an automated olfactometer using scents as stimuli and comparisons. Fourteen rats were trained initially on either identity or arbitrary conditional discriminations or a mixture of both types. Few rats met baseline criteria in order to be tested for symmetry, and rats that did showed no emergence of symmetry. Procedural parameters were modified (i.e., decreased ITI and increased sample and comparison exposure to FI10) to examine whether these changes facilitate learning. Additionally, we also tested generalization of identity match-to-sample to evaluate training methods.
32. The Illusion of Control in Slot Machine Gambling: A Comparative Survey
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
KIMBERLY LOUDERMILK (University of Nevada, Reno), Benjamin N. Witts (St. Cloud State University)
Abstract: There has been a recent trend in behavior analysis has been to focus on gambling research. To help identify potential topics for investigation, the current study polled individuals as to various elements of slot machine gaming and their beliefs on how they operate. In particular, we focused on the illusion of control, in which the gambler endorses an ability to have some influence over the outcome of the gamble either directly (e.g., how the gamble) or indirectly (e.g., when or where they gamble). Two samples were polled; a university sample and an internet-based sample. Results are compared between and within each group. Results show that, typically, students responded similarly to the internet-based sample and that there were definite areas of concern that would be of interest to the gambling researcher. Results are discussed in light of future directions and the generalizability of results from studies with students to the general population.
33. Does the Internet Addiction Test Predict Impulsiveness in Temporal Discounting of Non-Essential Internet Access?
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
ELWYN MARTIN (Eastern Oregon University), Charles A. Lyons (Eastern Oregon University)
Abstract: Impulsiveness has been proposed as a defining factor of addiction in studies of temporal discounting of addictive commodities. The Internet Addiction Test (I.A.T; Young, 1998) purports to be a reliable and valid measure of addictive use of the Internet. The current study accessed temporal discounting in a series of hypothetical choices involving non-essential Internet access available immediately or after one of six delays. College students ages 18 - 38 completed an online procedure involving temporal discounting of both money ($50 – $6000) and non-essential Internet access (5 minutes – 600 minutes). Initial results reveal sharper discounting (as measured by area under the curve) for non-essential Internet access than for money in delay periods up to one year (p < .001). The I.A.T did not strongly predict the rate of discounting (r = .13) for non-essential Internet access. To the extent that Internet addiction may be reflected by impulsiveness in temporal discounting, we conclude the I.A.T remains unverified as a predictive tool.

The Analysis of Choice Behavior in Multi-Stage Gambles

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
XIAOTING SHI (Keio University), Takayuki Sakagami (Keio University), Takahide Omori (Keio University)

According to expected utility theory, there should be no preference between gambles that have identical outcomes. However, we sometimes see a preference due to random features of gambling�for example, the order of probabilities. In present study, subjects made 96 choices on a computer between two alternatives. Each consisted of two stages leading with equal joint probability to identical outcomes. In one alternative, the first stage offered higher probability of winning than the second stage. In the other, the first stage offered lower probability than the second. We didn�t tell subjects in advance about the probability of alternatives. There were two conditions, with an ITI in use and without ITI. The function of the ITI was to equate between alternative reinforce rates, and its duration was longer if the subjects didn�t win the first stage than if they won. Blackout was presented during the ITI. As a result, there was no preference between the alternatives without ITI. However, with ITI the subjects preferred the alternative in which the earlier stage had higher probability. The subjects may dislike the alternative with the lower probability in the first stage because they met the longer ITI more times than the other alternative.

35. Effects of Stimulus Characteristics on Stimulus Overselectivity
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
TAKAMITSU OKUYAMA (Hosei University), Satoru Shimamune (Hosei University)
Abstract: Stimulus overselectivity refers to the phenomenon whereby stimulus control over behavior is exerted only by a limited subset of the total stimuli. It is displayed not only by individuals with autism but also by normal adults. Previous studies of animals indicated that responses are controlled by strong stimulus characteristics. These effects are commonly known as the overshadowing effect and history effect. The control variables of stimulus overselectivity in humans are not clear. This study investigated the impact of stimulus that emphasized certain characteristics on stimulus overselectivity. Four university students participated. All the participants were trained on delayed identity matching to sample task, and then tested in three conditions. They were given tests with stimuli that emphasized size, difference, and history. The results indicated that overselectivity is controlled by the stimulus characteristics. All four participants showed stimulus overselectivity in the test using stimulus that emphasized size. The same was true for two participants in the test with stimulus that emphasized difference and for three participants in the test with stimulus that emphasized history. Thus, we considered that the control variables of stimulus overselectivity are the overshadowing effect and history effect.
36. Fixed-interval pause duration in chained fixed-ratio, fixed-interval schedules
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
LUCAS COUTO DE CARVALHO (Oslo and Akershus University College), Joao Claudio Todorov (Universidade de Brasilia), Kalliu Couto (Oslo and Akershus University College)
Abstract: Ten rats were submitted to chained fixed-ratio (FR), fixed-interval (FI) schedules of reinforcement. A FR schedule at one lever produced a discriminative stimulus associated with a FI 60-s schedule of primary reinforcement (water) at the second response lever. In Experiment 1, the FI schedule was kept constant while the FR requirement was changed from one to seven responses under five different experimental conditions for five rats. Increases in the FR requirement resulted in increases in postreinforcement pauses but also decreases in pauses in the FI schedule. Using another five rats, Experiment 2 tested the hypothesis that short pauses in the FI schedule result from the use of the chained schedules procedure. Baseline was a FI 80-s schedule. In the second condition, chained FR 1 FI 80-s schedules were programmed. The third condition was a return to baseline. In baselines 1 and 2, the FI pause was compatible with the literature but decreased considerably when a chained schedule was used. The present results support the hypothesis that the time between primary reinforcement presentations dominates the control of FI pauses over control by the onset of a discriminative stimulus.
37. The Analysis of University students’ Verbal Behaviors in CMC and FtF
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
YUKIKO TAKEUCHI (Tokiwa University), Tetsumi Moriyama (Tokiwa University)
Abstract: The present study aimed to compare the effects of two kinds of communication modes on university students’ verbal behaviors. The two kinds of communication modes were computer-mediated communication (CMC) and face-to-face communication (FtF). The participants were five students and they were paired and exposed to the two communication modes. The topic of each communication came from a picture book. The dependent variables were the participants’ verbal behaviors during each of the communication modes. The verbal behaviors were analyzed based on Skinner’s viewpoint on human verbal behaviors. The results showed that the communication modes evoked much verbal behaviors of each participant based on her partner’s verbal issues irrelevant to the content of the picture book. The number of words per statement was the same in the two communication modes; however, the number of conversation cycles and that of topics of the participants’ conversations in CMC were fewer than in FtF. Although in CMC the participants tacted the content of the picture book, they tacted issues in FtF, irrelevant to the picture book. In conclusion, analyzing verbal behaviors during the communication modes based on behavior analytic view is an efficient way for understanding specific effects of the communication modes on human behaviors.
38. Temporal Control in Signaled Response-Initiated Fixed-Interval Schedules: Aggregated and Single-Trial Analyses
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
ADAM E. FOX (St. Lawrence University), Dwight Lastinger (West Virginia University), Elizabeth Kyonka (West Virginia University)
Abstract: Five pigeons were exposed to 15- and 30-s fixed-interval (FI), response-initiated fixed-interval (RIFI), and signaled response-initiated fixed-interval (SRIFI) schedules of reinforcement. Conditions were arranged using a multiple schedule in which the FI schedule was always yoked to either the RIFI or SRIFI schedule to equate interreinforcement intervals in the two schedule types. To measure temporal control, one of every five trials was a “peak” trial in which no food was delivered. Response rates were higher in RIFI schedules than in the other schedule types. Normalized mean response-rate gradients and single-trial start and stop times indicated that timing accuracy was similar in all three schedule types, but timing precision was best in the FI schedules, worst in the RIFI schedules, and in between in the SRIFI schedules.
39. Sensory Preconditioning in Partial Reinforcement
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
GABRIEL VELAZQUEZ GONZALEZ (Universidad de Guadalajara), Carlos Javier Flores Aguirre (Universidad de Guadalajara), Oscar Garcia Leal (Universidad de Guadalajara)
Abstract: It has been reported that the stimulus-stimulus contingency is an important factor in associative learning. Nevertheless, some studies in the area of partial reinforcement in Pavlovian conditioning have shown contradictory results. Therefore, it is proposed to indirectly assess the learning of an association between stimuli using a sensory preconditioning task. In the first phase, three groups of female rats were exposed to a serial compound of neutral stimuli (AB). In the second phase, one group (Continuous Group) was exposed to a continuous reinforcement schedule (B+), whereas the other two groups received partial reinforcement (B+, B–): for one group (Addition Group) nonreinforced trials were added to the continuous reinforcement schedule, and for other group (Subtraction Group) reinforcers were removed from the continuous reinforcement schedule. In the test phase responding to stimulus A was examined. Stimuli A and B were counterbalanced. In the second phase, subjects in the Continuous Group responded more than subjects in the groups exposed to partial reinforcement. However, in the test phase Continuous and Addition Groups responded more than subjects in the Subtraction Group. These results suggest that the learning of an association between stimuli depends on the stimulus-stimulus contingency and the number of reinforced trials.
40. Operant Variation and Learning of Difficult Sequences: Effects of Instructions and Baseline Variation Levels
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
BRUNO ANGELO STRAPASSON (Universidade Federal do Paraná), Maria Helena Leite Hunziker (Universidade de São Paulo)
Abstract: Neuringer (2009) suggested that some discrepancies between humans and nonhumans in studies of operant variability can be due, at last partially, to the content of instructions provided to the humans. This experiment investigated this supposition by asking some participants to find out what they need to do to produce reinforcement while asking other simply to gain reinforcement. Twenty eight students were randomly distributed into two groups and exposed to two phases: 1) CRF reinforcement for sequences of four key press responses (baseline); 2) concurrent reinforcement for (a) sequence variations and (b) emission of a low probability sequence (observed during baseline and referred to as the difficult sequence). Reinforcement would be maximized if the subject learned to emit the difficult sequence. Differential instructions were given at the beginning of Phase 2. The groups did not differ as a function of the differential instructions. However, the level of “spontaneous” variability observed during baseline was inversely related to the probability of emitting the difficult sequence during the second phase (r=-0.654, p<0.001). That is, subjects who varied the least during baseline were most likely to learn the difficult target sequence. These results did not confirm the prediction about instructional control, but they suggest that previous tendencies to vary, presumably originating in the non-experimental environment, can be an important variable determining learning of difficult sequences.
41. Can't Answer Response Option (CARO) Disrupts Equivalence Formation in Simultaneous Protocols using Linear-Series Training Structure
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
ABDULRAZAQ A. IMAM (John Carroll University), Patricia Jimenez-Jimenez (John Carroll University)
Abstract: Simultaneous protocols and linear-series (LS) training structures typically yield poorer stimulus equivalence outcomes than other protocols and training structures commonly used in equivalence research. Additionally, participants tend to use a cant answer response option (CARO) when available rather than form equivalence classes. Fourteen undergraduate students participated. Whereas their equivalence yields were about equally poor (Fig. 1) in two conditions, one using the standard simultaneous protocol and the other using a hybrid simultaneous training and simple-to-complex testing presenting two independent groups of three three-member equivalence classes, the participants used CARO more with the standard than with the hybrid protocols (Fig. 2). The difference in CARO adoption in the standard simultaneous protocol compared to that in the hybrid simultaneous protocol was statistically significant (t(11) = 4.439, p < .001, ?2 = .64, d = 2.68). The results implicate test order effects in CARO availabilitys disruptive effects and suggest explanations for the difficulty often encountered with the simultaneous protocol.
42. Do Ratio Schedules Generate the Characteristic Bitonic Drinking Functions Observed in Schedule-Induced Polydipsia?
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
MELISSA M. M. ANDREWS (Central Michigan University), Mark P. Reilly (Central Michigan University)
Abstract: Schedule-induced polydipsia is characterized by drinking copious amounts of water and is produced and maintained by intermittent food delivery. Typically, drinking is bitonically related to the inter-food interval (IFI) when reinforcers are delivered according to interval-based schedules (Falk, 1969). Carlisle (1971), on the other hand, showed that drinking was monotonically related to the fixed-ratio value; however the range of ratios may have been too constricted to show any existing bitonic function. The aim of the present study is to more thoroughly examine the nature of the schedule-induced drinking function when ratio contingencies (specifically large ratios) are in effect. To that end, rats lever pressed for food under a progression of fixed ratios (doubling from 1 to 256) while water was freely available. Following this, the lever was removed and the food was delivered non-contingently according to a fixed-time (FT) schedule yoked to the IFIs generated by the FR schedules. As in Carlisle (1971), the amount of water consumed tended to increase across the FR progression, while water intake across the FT progression was somewhat less consistent. The variables responsible for the shape of these functions are currently under investigation.
Keyword(s): poster session



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