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.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #63
Choice as a Behavioral Tool: Using Concurrent Operants to Study Factors Other Than Positive Reinforcement
Saturday, May 29, 2010
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
Lone Star Ballroom Salon C (Grand Hyatt)
Area: EAB; Domain: Experimental Analysis
Chair: Christopher A. Podlesnik (University of Michigan)
Abstract: In the experimental analysis of behavior, choice procedures are a powerful way to examine the effects of two or more concurrently available sources of positive reinforcement. In the present symposium, choice procedures are used to investigate how operant behavior is influenced by variables in addition to positively reinforcing events. Podlesnik and Woods validate a novel choice procedure to assess the reinforcing and punishing effects of drugs in rats and monkeys. Rasmussen and Buckley examine the effects of rimonabant, a cannabinoid-receptor antagonist, on rats’ choices between foods differing in nutritional value and palatability. Magoon and Critchfield use choice to compare the effects of positive and negative reinforcement contingencies in college students. McDowell uses a matching framework to understand how a previous history of deviant behavior in adolescent boys impacts the likelihood of normative and inappropriate talk in the presence of natural reinforcement contingencies. Although positive reinforcement plays an integral role in each of these papers, these studies demonstrate a variety of ways in which choice procedures are used to examine variables other than positive reinforcement.
Assessing the Reinforcing and Aversive Effects of Intravenous Drugs
CHRISTOPHER A. PODLESNIK (University of Michigan), James H. Woods (University of Michigan)
Abstract: Intravenous drug self-administration procedures in experimental animals are used to assess reinforcing drug effects to indicate drug-abuse liability in humans. Drugs with aversive effects are not differentiated clearly from behaviorally inactive drugs in standard drug self-administration procedures. Therefore, the present series of experiments validate an animal model for assessing reinforcing and punishing drug effects. Rats and monkeys choose between two options: a food pellet alone or a food pellet plus an intravenous drug injection. Reinforcing and punishing drug effects are indicated by relatively more or less responding, respectively, on the drug lever. Drugs previously shown to produce reinforcing and aversive effects (e.g., cocaine and histamine, respectively) produced such effects in the present procedure. This procedure could be used to preclinically assess therapeutic drugs for issues of potential abuse liability or prescription noncompliance.
Effects of Rimonabant on the Reinforcing Properties of Palatable Food: A Choice Analysis
JESSICA L BUCKLEY (Idaho State University), Erin B. Rasmussen (Idaho State University)
Abstract: Rimonabant, a cannabinoid antagonist, is purported to be more effective in reducing the reinforcing properties of palatable foods compared to less palatable food. However, this assertion is based on free-food intake studies in which the amount of palatable food eaten under baseline conditions is higher than less palatable food. The present experiment examines whether rimonabant reduces the reinforcing efficacy of palatable food more than less palatable food by using a concurrent schedule arrangement that controls the programmed rates of two pellet types: sucrose and grain-based. Lever-pressing of six rats was placed under three concurrent VI VI schedules in which the reinforcer ratios for two types of pellets (sucrose vs. sucrose; grain vs. grain; and sucrose vs. grain) was 5:1, 1:1, and 1:5. After behavior stabilized under each concurrent schedule, acute doses of rimonabant were administered (0-10 mg/kg) before an experimental session. Allocation of responses to each alternative was characterized using the generalized matching equation, which allows bias toward one food alternative (log k) to be measured. Preliminary data suggest that rimonabant may reduce bias to sucrose when grain-based pellets are concurrently available. This supports that rimonabant is more effective at reducing the reinforcing properties of palatable food.
Risky Choice in Pigeons: Preference for Amount Variability Using a Token Reinforcement Paradigm
CARLA H. LAGORIO (University of Florida), Timothy D. Hackenberg (Reed College)
Abstract: Abstract not available.
Child Deviance and Sensitivity to Reinforcement
JACK J. MCDOWELL (Emory University)
Abstract: Delinquent boys who engaged in naturally occurring conversations with their peers allocated their verbal behavior to categories of rule-break and normative talk in accordance with the matching law. Each boy’s bouts of rule-break and normative talk were reinforced by positive social responses from the other boy. As a group the boys showed a degree of undermatching that is typically found in laboratory experiments and a strong bias in favor of normative talk. When boys were grouped according to their history of deviant behavior, those with the greatest deviance showed the most undermatching and the least bias in favor of normative talk. The greater degree of undermatching for the most deviant boys indicates that their verbal behavior was less strongly governed by reinforcer allocations than was the verbal behavior of the least deviant boys.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh