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.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Poster Session #185
EAB Poster Session 2
Sunday, May 27, 2012
12:00 PM–2:00 PM
Exhibit Hall 4AB (Convention Center)

Eye Movement Patterns in Choice Behavior With Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP): An Exploratory Study

Area: EAB; Domain: Applied Research
MASAHIRO MORII (Keio University), Mikimasa Omori (Keio University), Jun'ichi Yamamoto (Keio University), Takayuki Sakagami (Keio University)

In the present study, we analyzed the relationship between choice behaviors, preference, and eye movements by using Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) and eye tracking system. On the trial of the IRAP, participants were presented with one of two attribute stimuli (Like or Dislike), one of target stimulus pictures of tasty thing (e.g., Coffee and Tea), and two relational terms, Agree and Disagree as response options. Participants were required to respond as quickly and accurately as possible across two experimental conditions, consistent and inconsistent. In the consistent condition, if participants like coffee better than tea, participants required to choose Agree during the presence of Like and Coffee stimuli. In the inconsistent condition, participants were required to choose Disagree in the presence of Like and Coffee stimuli even though they like coffee better. Eye movements during choosing response were recorded by using eye tracking system. As a result, mean latencies and eye movement pattern were different between two conditions. In inconsistent condition, mean latencies were longer and participants looked at the picture more frequently than in consistent condition. And some typical visual search patterns were observed in both conditions. The relationship between choice behaviors, preference, and eye movements were discussed.


One Shock Now or Three Later? Choice Between Aversive Events in College Students

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
JAMES W. DILLER (Eastern Connecticut State University), Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault (Eastern Connecticut State University), Andrew Ernest Nuzzolilli (Eastern Connecticut State University)

The decrease in reinforcer value following an increased delay to its presentation has been frequently described as delay discounting. Despite the rich literature examining effects of environmental and biological manipulations on discounting of reinforcers, comparatively little work has been done to evaluate the discounting of aversive events. In the present study, college students (N = 42) made a series of choices between a single 0.5-s electric shock delivered after 1 s and3 0.5-s shocks delivered after an increasing delay (1 s to 120 s). In a single experimental session, the delays to the3 shocks systematically increased across blocks of trials that included a forced-choice trial (in which the participant was required to select the 3-shock alternative) and 6 free-choice trials (in which the participant could choose between receiving the single shock or3 shocks. Of the 42 participants, 13 never selected the three-shock alternative during the free-choice trials. Of those who did sample the 3-shock alternative, on average across delay values, participants selected the three shocks on approximately 33% of the trials, with no effect of delay observed. Although delay discounting was not observed in the present paradigm, possible extensions and procedural modifications are discussed.


Do People Acquire Response by Experimentally Naive Others?

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
HIROTO OKOUCHI (Osaka Kyoiku University)

One member of each pair of 42 undergraduates, referred to as a learner, was escorted into a standard human operant laboratory. He/she was asked to earn points exchangeable for money and told that touching a squire shown on the screen of the display monitor may or may not produce points. Unlike standard operant experiments, increasing and decreasing points were not determined by any computer program but by key pressing of another experimentally naive undergraduate, referred to as an instructor. Response rates for 12 of 21 learners were higher than their yoked participants who were given and lost points independent from their responding.

4. Sharing: Social Behavior in Situations of Uncertainty and Risk
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
STEPHANIE STILLING (Western Michigan University), Cynthia J. Pietras (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: The present research investigated human choice in situations involving environmental variability, particularly risky choice within the social context of cooperation. The choice between working alone or working with others was presented in situations involving unpredictable economic gains. Participants were told they would be working with either another (fictitious) person or a computer and the economic context was varied. Sometimes cooperating was optimal (positive budget condition), in that it guaranteed participants would meet the minimum earnings budget requirement every time. While other times working alone was optimal (negative budget condition), since the amount shared was inadequate to meet the minimum earnings budget requirement. A neutral condition was also examined to see if participants would cooperate when there was no monetary requirement. Participants responded on a computer task for hypothetical earnings exchangeable for real money. Results showed that participants preferred working with a partner over working with the computer, suggesting that the social nature of the experiment influenced behavior. In addition, participant’s responding was congruent with the predictions of the earnings budget. These results contribute to the understanding of how environmental context influences cooperation.

Self-Control and Impulsiveness in Adult Human Females: Comparison of Qualitatively Different Consumable Reinforcers

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
LORI ANN B. FORZANO (The College at Brockport, State University of New York), Jennifer Michels (The College at Brockport, State University of New York)

Self-control can be defined as the choice of a larger, more delayed reinforcer over a smaller, less delayed reinforcer, and impulsiveness as the opposite. Previous experiments have shown that type or quality of reinforcer used affects self-control in humans. The purpose of the present experiment was to investigate the effects of qualitatively different reinforcers on the self-control of adult human females. Specifically, in a within-subjects design, participants made choices for two consumable-type reinforcers: food (preferred fruit juice) and video entertainment (preferred cartoon). A new methodology, designed to be similar to the self-control paradigm for delivering food, was used for the delivery of the cartoons. Aspects of the procedure were varied as well. The results have implications for previous research findings of differences in self-control as a function of reinforcer differences. The results are also discussed with respect to their implications for categories of reinforcement and suggest that video entertainment (cartoons) may be considered in the same class of reinforcers as food (i.e., primary, or consumable reinforcers).


Comparing the Effects of Two Training Procedures on Establishing the Derived Stimulus Relations

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
TOMU OHTSUKI (Waseda University), Naoko Kishita (Doshisha University), Takashi Muto (Doshisha University)

In the researches of Relational Frame Theory, the derived stimulus relations are established by two types of training procedures; one is the relational training, and the other is relational evaluation procedure. Although both of procedures involve presenting the stimuli which represent the specific relations, they differ in the way how they use such stimuli. Relational training treats such stimuli as the relational contextual cues; on the other hand, the relational evaluation procedure treats them as the response options (i.e., comparison stimulus). The aim of present study was to compare the effects of two training procedure on establishing the derived stimulus relations. Thirteen undergraduate students completed the similar/opposite relational training. And another thirteen students were exposed to the similar/opposite relational evaluation procedure. Both of the procedures were designed to establish two 2-member stimulus classes which one class was opposite to the other. The result revealed that there were no differences in the effect of two training procedures. In the group of the relational training, 11 out of 13 participants showed the derived stimulus relation in their test phase. On the other hand, all participants who were exposed to the relational evaluation procedure achieved the criterion in the test phase.


Sequence Function Transfer Through Equivalence Classes in College Students

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
ALICE ALMEIDA CHAVES DE RESENDE (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos), Barbara Menin (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos), Jessica Dias (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos), Lia Bantorim (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos), Nathara Gonzaga (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos), Raissa Sanfelice (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos), Pedro Filho (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos), A. Celso Goyos (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos)

The current study attempted to investigate syntax written construction in the Japanese language under the perspective of equivalence class formation and multiple exemplars training. First, three classes of four stimuli each were formed for two college students: subject, complement and verb with matching-to-sample tasks. Next, in modified constructed-response matching-to-sample task (CRMTS), the participants learned to put the sequence A1A2A3 together from a pool of three words each corresponding to a position in the sequence to match the written sequence as sample stimulus. Next, linear tests for the three remaining sequences were conducted. Finally, tests for the emergence of the sequence construction using words which did not participate in the equivalence class formation procedure were introduced. Considering the abstract nature of the stimuli for the participants, it is discussed why sequence behavior was shown for the non-trained stimuli: physical similarity for one specific group of words (verbs) can be considered, but also that categorization within classes and sequence per se are possibly two overarching operants which enabled the results in the final tests.


Effects of Contextual Control Over Recombined Conditional Relations

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
TATIANE CARVALHO CASTRO (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos), Mateus Goncalves Nogueira dos Santos (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos), A. Celso Goyos (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos)

This study investigated the effects of contextual control over recombined conditional relations. Ten undergraduate students participated in the study. Relations A1B1, A2B2, A3B3 were taught with abstract stimuli presented against a blue blackground for half the participants, and relations A1B3, A2B1, A3B2 against a red blackground for the other half. Then, the relationships were reversed and taught for both groups. Next, AB trials were presented under extinction in the presence of the blue background, followed by red background for one group of participants, and in the opposite order for the other group. The results showed that the procedure yielded both contextual control and failure to show it. Further training consisted of presenting original and recombined AB relations against, respectively, red and blue background colors, randomly interspersed. The final phase consisted of AB and BA test trials under extinction with blue or red background colors for the first and second trial blocks, respectively, for each of the participant groups, and a neutral color (green) in the final trial block. The latter procedure yielded more accurate contextual control for most of the participants. The participants also learned to perform contextually under the green background color.


Test Order and Randomized Stimulus-Set Effects in Simultaneous Protocols

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
ABDULRAZAQ A. IMAM (John Carroll University)

Simultaneous protocols typically yield poorer stimulus equivalence outcomes than other protocols common used in equivalence research. Fourteen participants worked with 2independent groups of 3 3-member equivalence classes in 2 conditions, 1 using the standard simultaneous protocol and the other using a hybrid simultaneous training and simple-to-complex testing. Stimulus-sets used for these conditions in previous studies (Imam, 2011; Warner & Imam, 2008) were randomized. Although there was no consistent difference in time taken to complete blocks, participants achieved better accuracy and positive percent change in accuracy in the hybrid than the standard protocols. The results implicate test order rather than stimulus sets as significant factors in the differential effects on accuracy and equivalence yields.

10. Derived Relational Responding as a Function of Emotional Salience and Context
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
JULIE BLASKEWICZ BORON (Youngstown State University), Leanna Mattila (Youngstown State University), Michael C. Clayton (Youngstown State University)
Abstract: Environmental cues influence behavior, and emotionally-salient cues are particularly relevant for social functioning in daily life. Prior research by Tyndall and colleagues (Tyndall, Roche, & James, 2009) found transfer of function through equivalence classes was slower with emotionally aversive stimuli, compared to neutral stimuli. This suggests that the salience of stimuli affects class formation. Research has demonstrated that context is important for emotion perception, and performance tends to increase when contextual information is available (Feldman Barrett, Mewquita, & Gendron, 2011). An important contextual difference employed by Tyndall and colleagues was the comparison of pictures with faces (aversive) to those without faces (neutral). The present study was designed to improve upon prior research emphasizing the relevance of context and emotion. Stimuli included six neutral and six aversive pictures, as well as 12 nonsense syllables. Similar stimuli were used for a comparison group; however, these pictures displayed emotion only, and lacked context. Undergraduate students volunteered, and were tested individually, with random assignment to the neutral or aversive condition. The five phases consisted of respondent training, operant training, transfer of function test, equivalence training, and equivalence test. The current project resulted in 26% of participants viewing contextual pictures progressing beyond Phase 3, and no significant group differences in Phases 4 and 5. All stimuli included faces, which likely made discrimination as a function of valence (neutral/aversive) more challenging. Discussion will include implications of emotion with and without context for transfer of function through equivalence classes.

Enhancing Stimulus Class Formation With Errorless Learning Procedures

Area: EAB; Domain: Applied Research
ALVARO TORRES CHAVEZ (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico), Guadalupe Luisa Jiménez Sánchez (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico), Isabel Santos Pérez (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico), Angel Tovar y Romo (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico)

We evaluated the role of errorless discrimination training and error correction procedures in the establishment of baseline conditional relations and equivalence class formation in elementary school children. Participants were 26 children, 11 female and 15 male, aged 6 to 7 years old; they were randomly assigned to one of six experimental conditions: A, C, and E without errorless learning procedures, B, D, and F with errorless learning procedures, the children were evaluated in a natural school setting. The data showed that the two errorless learning procedures promote a faster and homogeneous acquisition of the conditional relations during baseline training. Participants in errorless experimental conditions (B, D, and F) showed a higher percentage of stimulus class formation and a higher behavioral accuracy index. Stimulus class formation ability is correlated with learning of basic reading skills; therefore, the design of instruments and procedures for the evaluation and enhancement of this ability in the behavioral repertoires of children, would allow us to predict the success in learning of basic reading skills.


CANCELED: Implementation of Matching-to-Sample Procedures for Reading by Lay Individuals

Area: EAB; Domain: Applied Research
CAMILA P. PENARIOL (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos), A. Celso Goyos (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos)

Under the behavior analysis perspective, the teaching of reading skills may be programmed through matching-to-sample (MTS), a procedure largely employed in stimulus equivalence research. This study is an attempt to investigate which repertoire is necessary so that lay individuals can implement MTS to teach children in applied settings. Three undergraduate students participated. A set of three stimuli was used to teach participants to: (1) program AC (dictated word-printed word) training; (2) implement AC training and (3) analyze data performance. Teaching sessions consisted of instruction and demonstration. Correct responses were followed by verbal praise and incorrect responses by the end of the task and reintroduction of the demonstration. Criterion to finish session was 100% of correct responses. Later, generalization tests were introduced with new sets of stimuli, in which there were no programmed consequences for correct and incorrect responses. All participants met criterion in the three training phases, and showed generalization to new sets of stimuli. The results suggest that the procedure may be efficient to teach teachers to implement MTS procedures and that further relations should be introduced in the training program.


Technological Evaluation of Equivalence Based Instruction

Area: EAB; Domain: Applied Research
JEFFERY HAMELIN (Queens College and The Graduate Center, The City University of New York), Daniel Mark Fienup (Queens College, The City University of New York), Lanny Fields (Queens College, The City University of New York), Nicole Ann Wright (Woodbury School Australia), Steven Floumanhaft (Queens College, The City University of New York), Kimberly Reyes-Giordano (The Graduate Center, The City University of New York), Rishi E. Chelminski (The City University of New York), Bryan Tyner (The City University of New York)

Instruction based on the stimulus equivalence paradigm has been applied to a number of college-level academic topics, such as algebra (Ninness et al., 2006), statistics (Fields et al., 2009; Fienup & Critchfield, 2010, 2011), neuroanatomy (Fienup, Covey, & Critchfield, 2010), and disability categorization (Walker, Rehfeldt, & Ninness, 2011). A recent review noted that there are several technological variations between protocols found in the research literature (Fienup, Hamelin, Reyes-Giordano, & Falcomata, 2011). The current research examined the influence of training protocol on the number of learners who successfully formed equivalence classes as well as the total time to complete a protocol. Neuroanatomy concepts were taught. In one protocol, participants were trained on all relations serially and then tested for equivalence. The second protocol, called simple-to-complex, included symmetry, transitivity, and equivalence probes prior to the test for equivalence. Participants in the serial training completed the protocol, on average, in less time. However, a larger percentage of participants in the simple-to-complex protocol passed the test of equivalence the first time. Implications for a technology of equivalence based instruction are discussed.


Manual and CAPSI Packages for Teaching Individuals to Conduct MTS Training to Teach Reading

Area: EAB; Domain: Applied Research
MARILEIDE ANTUNES OLIVEIRA (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos), A. Celso Goyos (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos), Joseph J. Pear (University of Manitoba)

Matching-to-sample (MTS) training consists of presenting a stimulus as a sample followed by stimuli called comparisons from which a student makes a choice. This study compared "manual" and "manual-plus-CAPSI" packages for training university students to conduct MTS training to teach reading. Participants were randomly assigned to control or experimental group with 2 participants in each group. During baseline and post-training participants were assessed for accuracy in conducting MTS training. During training the control group studied a manual, and the experimental group studied the manual and wrote online tests via CAPSI. Improvement from baseline to post-training for both groups was statistically significant; however, the difference between post-training performances for the 2 groups was not. Results were discussed in terms of the contents presented in the manual and also in terms of the CAPSI features. A limitation of the study was the small number of participants in each group, which made it difficult to demonstrate clear differences between the packages investigated in this study. Future studies are necessary to test new versions of the manual and the interaction of CAPSI with demonstration videos. Follow-up studies are also necessary using a larger sample size and carrying out a component analysis.


Effects of Instructional Fidelity on Learning: A Translational Approach

Area: EAB; Domain: Applied Research
JASON M. HIRST (University of Kansas), Florence D. DiGennaro Reed (University of Kansas), Derek D. Reed (University of Kansas)

Treatment integrity is defined as a consistent and accurate implementation of a prescribed procedure. The literature has documented both correlational and causal evidence of differential outcomes resulting from varying levels of integrity. Few researchers have examined adherence to protocol within treatments designed to teach academic skills (i.e., instructional fidelity). Also, few have studied whether exposure to imperfect implementation has a longer-term effect that persists even after errors are corrected. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of instructional fidelity on the acquisition of a computerized arbitrary match-to-sample task both in the presence of fidelity errors as well as after errors were removed. Thirty-one undergraduates from a large Midwestern university participated. Within 25 multiple-baseline across participants designs, the effects of 25%, 50%, and 75% fidelity were examined. During the error condition, the program deviated from the prescribed procedure by delivering inaccurate feedback following a proportion of responses. During the perfect fidelity condition, errors were no longer committed. Additionally,6 participants were assigned to a perfect fidelity comparison group. Within-group analyses demonstrated that a carry-over effect was obtained. Between-group analyses demonstrated that the best outcomes were obtained under perfect fidelity while lower levels of fidelity produced progressively lower performances.


Effects of a Perceived Audience and Type of Feedback on Self-Editing in Writing

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
L. KIMBERLY EPTING (Elon University), Alyson Hignight (Elon University), Brittany Bowers (Elon University), Jennifer Cox (Elon University), Hayley D'Antuono (Elon Uniersity), John Hollander (Elon University)

Self-editing behavior is a complex response-class not extensively studied in behavior analysis. Self-editing monitors communication with others, ensuring that it is effective. Skinner proposed in Verbal Behavior (1957) that this judgment is based on the audience's reaction, with positive reactions (smiling, nodding) reinforcing verbal behavior and negative reactions (frowning, silence) punishing it. Skinner also argued that self-editing is influenced by the type of audience. This is applicable to writing. This study, in which undergraduates composed2 essays, investigated the effect of a perceived audience (professor, peer, nonspecified reviewer) on self-editing in writing. Additionally, it investigated whether prior feedback (positive vs. negative) influences self-editing of subsequent writing. A keystroke-logging program measured editing, including pauses and edit types. Preliminary results show an interaction effect between audience and feedback on post-response time (elapsed time between the last keystroke and when the essay is submitted). Participants tend to wait longer to submit an essay after receiving negative feedback from a professor; they reduce post-response time after receiving negative feedback from a peer or nonspecified reviewer. This experiment confirms the influence of variables predicted by Skinner in Verbal Behavior, extending understanding of self-editing as a complex response-class in writing.


The Tower of London With Three of Its Variants: Post-session Analysis Verbal Report

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
MARIA LUISA CEPEDA ISLAS (FES Iztacala UNAM), Diana Moreno Rodriguez (FES Iztacala UNAM), Hortensia Hickman (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México), Patricia Plancarte Cansino (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico), Rosalinda Arroyo (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico)

Since the implementation of the Tower of London Test by Shallice in 1982, numerous variants of the towers physical appearance have been developed. The Tower of London is a task that has proved being successful for the study of problem solving in adult and child populations. The present study shows the comparison of the verbal report post session and the number of movements at solution of three versions of the Tower of London. Participated 46 university students of psychology distributed in the three groups, each group solved to one version of the task. All participants were exposed a four blocks of four trial each one, at the end of the session the participants were interviewed. The results showed significant differences in the quantitative measures between Tower of London Traditional and the modificated versions. The analysis of verbal reports indicated similarities between the groups. p.e. strategies used, planning behavior etc. It requires more systematic research to determine whether TOL is a good strategy for the analysis of human complex behavior within of experimental analysis of behavior.


Generalized Contextual Control Over the Transformation of Stimulus Function

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
NAOKO KISHITA (Doshisha University), Takashi Muto (Doshisha University), Tomu Ohtsuki (Waseda University), Mie Sakai (Doshisha University)

Kishita & Muto (2011) showed that using multiple exemplar training, the forms of stimuli acquired differential control over the specific discriminative functions obtained via the transformation. The present study extended the result of previous study by establishing three 4-member classes instead of three 3-member classes, to clearly define the control variables required in the process of abstracting the stimulus features that are differentially associated with reinforcement or punishment for behaving in line with the transformation. Three 4-member stimulus equivalence classes, each consisted of four physically distinct visual stimuli were established for 9 undergraduate students using match-to-sample (MTS) task. Following the MTS training and testing, participants were provided with many trials in which behaving in accordance with transformation of function were differentially reinforced or punished depending on the presence of a class of physical features of the stimuli. Finally, new equivalence classes were established and test for generalized contextual control were presented. The result revealed that 7 subjects included in analyses demonstrated contextual control over the derived transformation of stimulus functions, of which 4 showed the generalization of contextual control. Data presented will contribute to empirical verification of how generalized stimulus control over function transformation might arise in natural settings.

19. A Call for Refined Procedures for the Experimental Analysis of Autoclitics in Animals
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
TOSHIKAZU KURODA (West Virginia University), Kennon A. Lattal (West Virginia University)
Abstract: An exploratory study of autoclitics was conducted using pigeons exposed to a delayed matching-to-sample procedure that renders private events unnecessary in analyzing autoclitics. Trials began with a sample component where the center key was illuminated either red or green. Pecking the key led to a retention interval, followed by an autoclitic component where a single peck on one of white side keys led to a choice component. If the left key was pecked, correct and incorrect color discriminations resulted in 9-s and 0-s access to food, respectively. If the right key was pecked, correct and incorrect discriminations led to 3-s and 1.5-s reinforcers, respectively. In effect, the left and right responses respectively served as “definitely” and “maybe” responses. With this procedure, however, little evidence of autoclitics was found in pigeons. The result seems attributable to a failure by the pigeons to discriminate reinforcer magnitudes that were arranged differentially as a function of the pigeon’s own responding during the autoclitic component. To enhance this form of discrimination, we recently added a set of discriminative stimuli during the choice component: a constant or a flashing houselight, depending on which of the autoclitic keys the pigeon pecked. Results of this modification are pending.

CANCELED: The Trader Game: An Analysis of Risky Behavior

Area: EAB; Domain: Applied Research
ANTONIO L. MIGLIATO (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos), A. Celso Goyos (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos)

Economic games are useful tools for the study of decision making. Specifically, these tools can investigate how participants allocate their resources. In many everyday life situations outcomes are both unknown and uncertain and are affected by contextual variables. A behavioral game-like experimental model was used to investigate these variables. The model employed in this study used multiple trials and a forced choice paradigm between 2 alternatives in which the participant decided between risking or not his/her hypothetical money. An alternative offered the possibility to maintain the amount received, and another provided the opportunity to invest money, opting for a situation in which could have a profit or loss, both allocated at the same time in the same alternative. The questions were presented to 38 adults of both genders in a paper and pencil format, and the experimental setup in a room at the local university. The results revealed 2 profiles of investors. The conservatives invested when the chances of winning are high in relation to losses; and the aggressive ones, who invested even when the chances of winning were equal to losses. Thus, variables such as probability of gain and loss showed to be decisive in the process of selecting participants.


Behavioral Economics: Money and Marginal Propensity to Consume in the Animal Laboratory

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
ANA CAROLINA TROUSDELL FRANCESCHINI (Universidade de Sao Paulo), Maria Helena Hunziker (Universidade de Sao Paulo)

Marginal Propensity to Consume (MCP) is an economic concept that analyzes consumption as a function of income changes: if income increases, consumption increases as well, but in a lower proportion. MCP is empirically verified in human societies, but has not been studied in the animal laboratory, mainly due to difficulties in translating the concept of money. In an attempt to establish a measurement unit functionally similar to money with rats, this study used a panel of 14 small lights. If at least one light on the panel was on during the experimental session, the lever-pressing (LP) response would be reinforced, and for every number of reinforcements delivered, one light would switch off. When all the lights were off, LB would have no consequences. The amount of income available to the rats was the numbers of lights on in the beginning of each session (ex: 9 lights equaling $9). Two reinforcers were used in two separate experimental phases: water (phase 1) and a 10% sucrose solution (phase 2). The independent variable was the number of lights on (income), and three dependent variables were tested as proxies for consumption: rate of responding, delivered volume and number of lights switched off. Results: PMC was observed in terms of volume and number of lights, but not response rate. PMCs controlling variables identified so far are 1) deprivation; 2) number of subjects, and 3) cost of response. Further steps should include tests of whether lights became conditioned stimulus and if they may acquire generalized functions.


The Sunk Cost Effect as the Results of Behavioral Histories in Pigeons

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
SHUN FUJIMAKI (Keio University), Takayuki Sakagami (Keio University)

The sunk cost effect is roughly defined as the tendency to continue a choice behavior on one alternative where an individual invested in the past, even when there is another better alternative available. Many studies related to this effect focused on the continuation of choice, while few studies operated organisms' behavioral histories. In the first phase, pigeons were exposed to the concurrent small-ratio (FR2) and large-ratio schedules. The value of large-ratio key was determined by the adjusting procedure for each subject, based on the point that pigeons exclusively chose small-ratio key. Then we tested if the pigeons would show preference to the large-ratio key in the concurrent schedule just after a component which color was same as the large-ratio key and that required 20 responses for transition to the concurrent choice. This combined chained schedule was also used as probe trials in the remaining experiment. In the following phases, pigeons were exposed to various conditions, such as extinction in a separate component which color was same as the small-ratio key, or variable reinforcements in a component which color was same as the large-ratio key. We examined whether these histories affected the sunk cost effect or not.




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