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.

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35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details


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Symposium #521
Human Choice in Naturalistic and Gaming Contexts
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
North 227 BC
Area: EAB; Domain: Experimental Analysis
Chair: Andrea Newcomer (University of North Texas)
Abstract: This symposium brings together several lines of research from laboratories investigating human choice under naturalistic and gaming contexts. The first presentation will discuss extensions of the Behavioral Ecology of Consumption, a foraging theory model of human decision-making in an online environment, in a replication and extension of previous online foraging research. The second presentation will discuss findings of a study on risky-choice behavior using an analogue of the TV show "Deal or No Deal", a game well-suited for analyzing risk taking. The third presentation will discuss both a laboratory preparation in which human subjects engage in a simulated Rock/Paper/Scissors game against a computer opponent and the extent to which response allocation can be described by a modified version of the generalized matching law. Finally, the fourth presentation will discuss data collected in a token-based iterated prisoner’s dilemma social cooperation game.
 
A Behavioral Ecology of Consumption: Online Shopping, Foraging, Effects of Increasing Delays on Purchasing and Patch Residence
DONALD A. HANTULA (Temple University), Diane DiClemente Brockman (The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor), Carter L. Smith (Temple University)
Abstract: This paper extends the Behavioral Ecology of Consumption, a foraging theory model of human decision-making in an online environment, in a replication and extension of previous online foraging research. Previous research has established that in a simulated music mall in which stores are patches and page load delays are travel times, human choices conform to predictions from foraging theory. However, these studies used comparatively short delay intervals. In the current study participants shopped for music CDs in a simulated internet mall featuring five virtual music stores with delay to in-stock feedback of 2, 4, 8, 16, and 32 seconds. Preference was measured as the proportion of total purchases and shopping time (patch residence) allocated to each store. Consistent with previous research, a hyperbolic decay function provided the best fit to the data. The results further the consumer foraging model and bolster existing evidence of the generality of hyperbolic discounting and matching in human decision-making.
 
Deal or No Deal? Risk Taking in the Context of a Popular Game
CARLA H. LAGORIO (University of Florida), Timothy D. Hackenberg (University of Florida)
Abstract: Human choice behavior was examined using an analogue of the TV show “Deal or No Deal”, a game well-suited for analyzing risk taking. In the game, repeated choices are made between taking a fixed monetary offer (“Deal”) or rejecting that offer and taking a risky offer by continuing in the game, with uncertain later payoff amounts (“No Deal”). Using hypothetical monetary amounts, we systematically manipulated in a between-subjects design, the fixed offer in relation to the average offered by the risky alternative. The economic context was also manipulated by altering both the absolute size of the hypothetical payoff and the distribution of the variable payoff amounts. Overall, the studies illustrate a promising set of methods and analytic techniques for examining human risky choice in a relatively short period of time and with minimal instructions.
 
Concurrent Performance in a Three-Alternative Choice Situation: Quantitative Investigations using a Rock/Paper/Scissors Game
BRIAN D. KANGAS (University of Florida), Jesse Dallery (University of Florida), Timothy D. Hackenberg (University of Florida)
Abstract: In a series of experiments, adult human subjects engaged in a simulated Rock/Paper/Scissors game against a computer opponent. The computer opponent’s moves were determined by programmed probabilities that were manipulated across trial blocks. When given minimal instructions, response allocation was well-described by a modified version of the generalized matching equation, with minor-to-moderate overmatching observed. When given accurate probability-related instructions, subjects exhibited pronounced overmatching, a strategy that yielded higher reinforcement rates and greater maximization of reinforcement. On the whole, the series of experiments has shown that the generalized matching law provides a good description of complex human choice in a gaming context. Moreover, the experimental preparation offers a promising set of laboratory methods and analytic techniques that capture important features of human choice outside the laboratory.
 
Choices in a 2-Person Game: A Graded Prisoner's Dilemma Game
Howard Rachlin (Stony Brook University), Leonard Green (Washington University), AMANDA L. CALVERT (Washington University in St. Louis), Jesse D. Eisman (Washington University in St. Louis)
Abstract: Pairs of individuals played an iterated prisoner’s dilemma (IPD) social cooperation game. On each trial both participants were asked to allocate tokens to ‘cooperation’ or ‘defection’ under each of two conditions that differed based on the method of token allocation allowed: All-or-None and Graded. In the All-or-None condition, participants had to allocate all 10 tokens to either cooperation or defection. In the Graded condition, participants could vary the number of tokens allocated to cooperation and defection. Half the pairs of participants completed the Graded condition in Phase 1 followed by the All-or-None condition in Phase 2, whereas the other half completed the All-or-None condition in Phase 1 followed by the Graded condition in Phase 2. Results indicated that participants tended to have higher mean levels of cooperation (greater number of cooperative tokens allocated) in the Graded condition than in the All-or-None condition in both phases. In addition, cooperation increased in the Graded condition in Phase 2, whereas it remained relatively unchanged in the All-or-None condition. These results are consistent with the theory that participants’ cooperative responses are in part determined by the extent to which the other player can reinforce (reciprocate) past cooperation and punish (defect against) past defection.
 

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