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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Paper Session #395
Recent Advances in the Study of Operant Variability
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Zurich D, Swissotel
Area: EAB
Chair: Josele Abreu Rodrigues (Universidade de Brasilia)

Resistance to Change of Operant Variability: A Parametric Analysis

Domain: Basic Research
Raquel Moreira Aló (Universidade de Brasília, Brazil), JOSELE ABREU RODRIGUES (Universidade de Brasilia), Carlos Renato Xavier Cançado (Universidade de Brasilia, Brazil), Adam H. Doughty (College of Charleston)

Resistance to prefeeding was studied under three different variability requirements. Across three baseline conditions, four lever-press sequences by rats were maintained on a two-component multiple schedule. In the VAR component, a threshold contingency of 0.1 was in effect. In the REP component, only one sequence was reinforced. In the YOKE component, no variability requirement was in effect. Reinforcement probabilities were equated across multiple schedule components in each baseline condition. In baseline, U values were greater in the VAR than the REP and YOKE components, and similar between the latter two. In the prefeeding test after the multiple VAR YOKE baseline, resistance of U values was greater in the VAR than in the YOKE component. In the prefeeding test after the multiple REP YOKE baseline, resistance was similar between schedule components. Finally, in the prefeeding test after the REP VAR baseline, resistance of U values was greater in the VAR than in the REP component. Thus, baseline variability levels were directly related to the behavioral persistence, regardless of whether this level was required (VAR and REP) or allowed (YOKE) by reinforcement contingencies in each schedule component.


Is Variability an Operant Dimension of Behavior?

Domain: Basic Research
REUT PELEG (Oslo and Akershus University College), Per Holth (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences), Neil T. Martin (Behavior Analyst Certification Board)

Behavioral variability was characterized as an operant dimension of behavior (Page & Neuringer, 1985). Three studies examined the effects of reinforcement and extinction on three-response sequences under lag reinforcement schedules. Resistance to change of each response position was measured under lag 3 and lag 5 schedules. Variability increased under lag schedules as expected. However, contrary to what would be expected based on temporal contiguity of each response position with the reinforcer, backward progression of extinction was observed, as the first and not the last response was the most resistant to change. As responding did not cease, it was concluded that an interaction between both reinforcement and extinction is involved in the variability observed under lag schedules.




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Modifed by Eddie Soh