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 #102
Choice, Delay Discounting, and Respondent Conditioning
Sunday, May 29, 2016
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Zurich E, Swissotel
Area: EAB
Chair: Harold L. Miller Jr. (Brigham Young University)

A Comparative Approach to Matching-Based Measurement of Gain-Loss Asymmetry

Domain: Basic Research
HAROLD L. MILLER JR. (Brigham Young University), Diego Flores (Brigham Young University), Veronika Tait (Brigham Young University), Frank Robertson (Brigham Young University), Marcia Ventura (Brigham Young University), Jordan Sgro (Brigham Young University), Colby Kipp (Brigham Young University), Madeline Hollenbeak (Brigham Young University)

The matching law has proven robust across species, methods, and reinforcers. Research in behavioral economics has demonstrated the asymmetrical effects of gains (reinforcers) and losses (punishers) on human decision making in hypothetical scenarios primarily involving monetary outcomes. We applied matching-based analysis to the measurement of the gain-loss differential in three parallel experimental series involving human participants, pigeons, and rats. The experimental procedure included conjoint interdependent concurrent variable-interval schedules of reinforcement and punishment. Human participants played a customized video game in which the concurrent schedules were associated with the two sides of a screen containing moving submarines and underwater targets. Participants gained or lost on-screen points or actual coins (dispensed by and inserted into a device next to the screen). Nonhuman subjects received access to food or lost that access while responding in standard experimental chambers (pecking for pigeons and lever pressing for rats). Molar data analysis utilized a set of models derived from the generalized matching law to produce model-specific parameter values for gain and loss, respectively. Molecular data analysis utilized event recording to identify behavioral patterns characteristic of the transition from gain-only to gain-plus-loss conditions and vice versa. We will describe the results from each experimental series, then compare and contrast the three sets of results.


Temporal Regularity and Temporal Variability in Pavlovian Conditioning

Domain: Basic Research
GABRIEL VELAZQUEZ GONZALEZ (Universidad de Guadalajara), Desiderio Ramirez (Universidad de Sonora), Gandhy Aguiar (Universidad Autonoma de Nayarit), Alejandra Martinez (Universidad Católica de Pereira), Josue Gonzalez Diaz (University of Guadalajara)

Organisms can anticipate an environmental event when it occurs regularly in time or when it is preceded by a cue. Three experiments were conducted in order to explore the interaction between these two strategies. Each experiment involved to maintain constant or variable certain temporal relation between the conditional stimulus (CS, noise) and the unconditional stimulus (US, water) in a Pavlovian conditioning procedure. Rats were used as experimental subjects. In Experiment 1 subjects were exposed to a fixed or a variable intertrial interval; in Experiment 2 subjects were exposed to a variable interstimulus interval, but one of the stimuli occurred at fixed interval; and in Experiment 3 subjects were exposed to fixed or variable duration of the CS. Approaching to the water dispenser was established as the target response. When the US-US interval was fixed subjects gradually increased responding over the interval. In contrast, responding was relatively constant when the US-US interval was variable. Furthermore, responding increased when the CS was presented. This increase depended on the temporal proximity of the CS with the US. These results suggest that the organisms adjust their behavior to the temporal regularities of the stimuli occurrences.

Delay Discounting: Lack of Say-Do Correspondence
Domain: Basic Research
MATT LOCEY (University of Nevada, Reno), Courtney Smith (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: In a series of studies, humans made three different types of choices: (1) Verbal predictions of preference for hypothetical consumable reinforcers, (2) Actual choices for experienced, consumable reinforcers, and (3) Verbal self-reports of preference for experienced, consumable reinforcers. All three choice types involved choices between alternatives that differed in delay. Participants experienced one or more sessions of Type 2 choices prior to any Type 1 or Type 3 choices. Following this experience with different delayed consequences, a hypothetical situation was described. That hypothetical situation exactly matched the recently experienced situation with Type 2 choices. Participants were then asked which alternative they would prefer in that described situation. These Type 1 choices are the type of hypothetical choices usually asked in most human delay discounting tasks (except the choices were for recently experienced consumable reinforcers). In some studies, participants were also asked Type 3 choices after completing all Type 2 choices. Type 3 choices consisted of a simple self-report of which alternative (e.g., left or right operanda) was preferred during the immediately preceding Type 2 choices. Fewer than 50% of participants showed a consistent preference across these three choice types - raising concerns about popular discounting methodology.

Selection of IBCs and Their Aggregate Products

Domain: Basic Research
LUCAS COUTO DE CARVALHO (Oslo and Akershus University College), Kalliu Couto (Oslo and Akershus University College), Nayara Gois (Oslo and Akershus University College), Ingunn Sandaker (Oslo and Akershus University College), Joao Claudio Todorov (Universidade de Brasilia)

We performed two experiments in which pairs of participants were asked to coordinately respond in order to achieve a common goal. Each participant would move a piece in a virtual chessboard and meetings in adjacent cells in specific areas were reinforced according to an ABAB design, experiment 1, and ABA design, Experiment 2. For experiment 1, meetings were not reinforced at conditions A. Meetings were reinforced by successive approximations at conditions B. The results from the first experiment showed that the variability index of IBCs and aggregate products were smaller in conditions B than in conditions A. However, they did not completely stereotyped. Experiment 2 was design to evaluate if longer exposure to intervention condition would enhance stereotypy in the IBCs and their aggregate product. The second experiment used ABA design where conditions A where intervention condition, and condition B baseline. Results of experiment 2 shows that a complete stereotypy on IBCs and aggregate product was found. Both experiments may be indicating that contingent reinforcing consequences may have a selective effect upon IBCs and their aggregate products.




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