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.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Symposium #455
Proposals for the Experimental Analysis of Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of Behavior
Monday, May 31, 2021
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Varsovia Hernandez Eslava(Universidad Veracruzana)
Discussant: Peter R. Killeen (Arizona State University)

The study of the behavioral continuum, which incorporate patterns of local and translational responses, is important for a full comprehension of the dynamics of behavior. This symposium will present four studies that, using rats as subjects in an extended experimental chamber, incorporated translational and discrete response patterns to the analysis of behavior. Studies 1 and 2 analyze these patterns and the spatial dynamics of behavior under single and concurrent Fixed Time Schedules. Studies 3 and 4 present contingent schedules that employs translational patterns of the subjects (i.e, traveled distance, times of stays in zones) as criteria to obtain reinforcement. In all four studies, the integration of discrete and continuous measures of behavior was conducted in terms of the analysis of routes, distance to the dispenser, time spent in zones, recurrence patterns, entropy and divergence measures. The importance of the integration of different dimensions of behavior for a comprehensive and functional characterization of the behavioral continuum will be discussed.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): behavioral continuum, rats, spatio-temporal dynamics, translational patterns

Ecological Location of a Water Source and Spatial Dynamics of Behavior Under Temporally Scheduled Water Deliveries

VARSOVIA HERNANDEZ ESLAVA (University of Veracruz; Comparative Psychology Laboratory), Alejandro Leon (University of Veracruz, Comparative Psychology Laboratory), Isiris Guzmán (University of Veracruz, Comparative Psychology Laboratory), Carlos Hernández-Linares (University of Veracruz; Facultad de Matemáticas), Martha Avendaño-Garrido (University of Veracruz; Facultad de Matemáticas), Porfirio Toledo (University of Veracruz, Facultad de Matemáticas), Esteban Escamilla-Navarro (University of Veracruz, Facultad de Matemáticas)

In non-contingent schedules, patterns of behavior are affected by the temporal variation of water deliveries. While temporal variation is accomplished by delivering water at fixed or variable times, spatial variation is usually accomplished by varying the number of dispensers and distance among them. Such criteria do not consider the possible ecological relevance of the location of water dispensers and the possible interaction with schedules of reinforcement. In this study, we evaluated the effect of delivering water on two locations under Fixed (FT) or Variable Time (VT) schedules upon behavioral dynamics. Subjects were six experimentally-naïve Wistar rats exposed to a FT 30s (Experiment 1) or to a VT (Experiment 2) water delivery schedule in an enlarged experimental chamber. In the first condition water was delivered at the center of the experimental chamber while in the second condition water was delivered at the center of a wall of the experimental chamber. Routes, distance to the dispenser, recurrence patterns, time spent in zones, entropy and divergence were analyzed. Our findings show a differential relevance of the location of the dispensers that should be considered in studies evaluating behavioral dynamics. Results are discussed from an integrative ecological-parametric framework.

Food and Water Deprivation Effects on Activation and Direction of Behavior in Wistar Rats
VÍCTOR QUINTERO (University of Veracruz; Comparative Psychology Laboratory), Varsovia Hernandez Eslava (University of Veracruz; Comparative Psychology Laboratory), Alejandro Leon (University of Veracruz; Comparative Psychology Laboratory), Iyanu Torres (Universidad Anáhuac ), Juan López (University of Veracruz, Facultad de Estadística e Informática)

The effects of food or water deprivation on food or water consumption has been extensively reported in the literature. The effect of the interaction of those deprivation conditions on food and water consumption and on the temporal organization of behavior is less known. In this study we evaluated the effects of four different conditions of food and water deprivation on the spatio-temporal organization of behavior when food and water are concurrently available. Six rats were exposed to each of four different conditions of food and water deprivation: a) food deprivation, b) water deprivation, c) food and water deprivation and d) no deprivation. Experimental sessions consisted of simultaneously presenting a food pellet and a drop of water using a Concurrent Fixed Time 30 s schedule on two dispensers located on opposite walls of an extended experimental chamber. Local (number of drops of water and pellets consumed and head entries to dispensers) and translational (location and displacement routes) patterns were recorded. We found differential effect of the deprivation conditions on the before mentioned measures with no equivalent effects of food and water deprivation. The results are discussed in terms of the motivational function of deprivation conditions on measures of vigor and direction of behavior.


Alteration of the Kinesthetic-Motor System and Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of Behavior in Rats Under Displacement-Contingent Schedules

ISIRIS GUZMÁN (University of Veracruz; Comparative Psychology Laboratory), Alejandro Leon (University of Veracruz; Comparative Psychology Laboratory), Varsovia Hernandez Eslava (Universidad Veracruzana; Comparative Psychology Laboratory)

Vestibular motor syndrome is a common alteration in laboratory rats that affect their displacement. In the present study we sought to evaluate changes in the spatio-temporal dynamics of behavior in rats with this syndrome using displacement-contingent schedules of reinforcement and to compare it with the behavior of intact animals. Subjects were four Wistar rats (two with vestibular syndrome and two without it) under 23 hours of water deprivation. The apparatus was an enlarged experimental chamber with a water dispenser located at the center of the arena. Subjects were exposed in a counterbalanced way to a Fixed Distance 100 cm and to a Variable Distance 100 cm schedule. Once the criterion distance was satisfied, 0.3cc of water was delivered for 3sec. All subjects showed directed and functional patterns of behavior (sensibility to the water schedule) by the end of the experiment; however, the behavioral dynamics were markedly different and a clear pattern of behavior emerged late for rats with vestibular syndrome. It is suggested that the proposed methodological arrangement is useful for the study of the behavioral continuum in rats with alterations on their kinesthetic-motor system as well as with rats with no alteration.


Behavioral Dynamics Under a Temporo-Spatial Schedule Contingent to the Organism´s Location With an Acoustic Signal in Rats

ALEJANDRO LEON (University of Veracruz; Comparative Psychology Laboratory), Isiris Guzmán (University of Veracruz; Comparative Psychology Laboratory), Varsovia Hernandez Eslava (University of Veracruz; Comparative Psychology Laboratory)

The behavioral dynamics on a water-delivery, temporospatial schedule contingent to the organism´s location with an acoustic signal in rats was analyzed. The experimental space was segmented in two, on each segment a fixed-time schedule (FT-15") was presented but only when the organism was located on a particular segment. The difference between both segments was the probability of water-delivery associated to the FT for each spatial segment: p=1 vs p=0. The spatial segment of high probability was the DS and the low probability was the S-delta. There were three groups, each one with two rats, that varied on the kind of signal presented on DS and S-delta: a) tone (7 kHz) while the organism was in DS; b) tone (7 kHz) while the organism was in S-delta; c) no tone. Routes, time spent in zones, recurrence patterns, crossing between segments, water-deliveries produced and effective contacts with water deliveries were analyzed. Results suggest that the behavioral dynamics of rats was functionally integrated to the programmed contingencies to its spatial activity and that this integration was facilitated by the signal, indistinctly if this was presented on DS or S-delta. The implications of the paradigm and analysis proposed are discussed.




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