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.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Poster Session #397
#397 Poster Session (EAB)
Monday, May 26, 2008
12:00 PM–1:30 PM
South Exhibit Hall
81. Effects of Response-Pacing Contingencies on the Value of a Variable-Interval Schedule.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
WESLEY P. THOMAS (West Virginia University/Utah State), Leigh Anne Schrimpf (West Virginia University), Michael Perone (West Virginia University)
Abstract: The present experiment assessed whether the value of a schedule is affected by superimposing a pacing contingency. Rats pressed a lever on a chain variable-interval 30-s variable-interval 30-s schedule. In the baseline conditions, a food pellet was delivered upon the first lever-press at the end of an interval in the terminal link, regardless of the interresponse time defined by the press. In other conditions, pacing contingencies restricted the interresponse times that were eligible for reinforcement by the variable-interval schedule. The value of these paced and unpaced terminal-link schedules was measured by response rates in the initial-link across conditions. The pacing contingencies were effective: Terminal-link response rates were raised when reinforcement depended on short interresponse times and lowered when reinforcement depended on long interresponse times. Despite substantial changes in the terminal-link response rates, however, there was little change in initial-link rates across the conditions. Two conclusions are possible: Either pacing contingencies do not affect the value of a variable-interval schedule, or the chain-schedule procedure is not sufficiently sensitive to detect the effects of pacing on value.
82. The Costs of Remembering: Effects of a “Memory Aid” on Performance in Delayed Matching-to-Sample Procedure.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
RACHEL N. CASSIDY (University of Florida), Timothy D. Hackenberg (University of Florida), Glen M. Sizemore (University of Florida), Anthony DeFulio (University of Florida), Brian D. Kangas (University of Florida)
Abstract: The purpose of this experiment was to determine the conditions under which pigeons would make use of a “memory aid” in a delayed matching-to-sample task. Sample stimuli were a green or white keylight, illuminated on the center key of a three-key operant chamber. Following a delay (retention interval) in which no keys were illuminated, two side keys were illuminated and a response on the correct comparison color key was reinforced. Following initial training, the center key was illuminated red simultaneously with the two side key comparisons. Responses on this center (observing) key reproduced the sample color, effectively converting the delayed matching-to-sample procedure to a simultaneous matching-to-sample procedure. The requirement on the observing key increased by 5 responses each trial according to a progressive ratio schedule. This was designed to increase the cost of the “memory aid” while simultaneously providing a quantitative index of the tradeoffs between remembering with and without the “memory aid” as the difficulty of the task was systematically changed across conditions. The latter was accomplished by changing the retention interval across conditions according to a geometric sequence from 1 to 16 s. Initial results show that accuracy varied inversely, and observing frequency varied directly, with retention interval.
83. Individual Differences in Reward Sensitivity during Group Foraging: Does Competitiveness Predict Sensitivity to Reward?
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
VALERI FARMER-DOUGAN (Illinois State University), James D. Dougan (Illinois Wesleyan University)
Abstract: The effects of group competition on matching behavior of individual rats across 5 competitive groups were examined. Each group (N=5) was exposed to a series of 5 conc VT VT schedules in which food pellets were released at opposite corners of an open field chamber. Both individual and group estimates of matching were obtained, and behavioral data were collected noting the location and behavioral topography of each rat at 30-s intervals. The overall mean reward sensitivity across the five groups was 0.45. However, individual reward sensitivity ranged from a high of 0.98 to a low of 0.05. The 25 rats were then grouped in highest, high, middle, low and lowest groups based on their reward sensitivity. Significant differences were found between the highest/high matchers and the middle, low and lowest matchers. Significant behavioral differences were also observed: The lower-ranked rats showed more foraging from the bottom of the pan, still behavior and rearing but less touching/pushing, fighting and walking than the rats with higher reward sensitivity. Differences in competitive behaviors of individual rats within each of the five foraging groups appear to have modulated foraging success, as measured by the sensitivity to reward parameter.
84. Response Resurgence: A Selective Review and Some New Findings.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
GABRIELLA OKEN (College of Charleston), Adam H. Doughty (College of Charleston)
Abstract: Response resurgence is the recovery of previously extinguished responding when more recently reinforced responding is extinguished. Although the topic of resurgence has received considerable discussion in conceptual analyses, only recently has the topic started to receive comparable empirical analysis. Here, we first present a selective review involving resurgence, where the topics include basic-behavioral-laboratory work, alcohol self-administration, severe behavior disorders in intellectual disabilities, cognitive therapy, communication training, and complex problem solving. Next, we present data from an experiment designed to assess additional conditions that might promote the occurrence of resurgence. Specifically, we show resurgence in rats following reduced reinforcer magnitude for the alternative response.
85. The Effect of Environmental Enrichment on Learning a Simple Discrimination.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
LORI BARNES (Western Michigan University), Kathryn M. Potoczak (Shippensburg University)
Abstract: Research on the effects of environmental enrichment in laboratory rats has used maze performance as its main measure of learning and has, in general, has found a positive effect of enrichment on learning. Fewer studies have used more traditional measures of operant learning, such as the lever press, and have produced conflicting findings, including negative effects of enrichment on learning. The present study examined the effects of enrichment on learning in rats as measured by lever press and then discrimination acquisition. Twenty male Long-Evans weanlings were placed in either individual standard housing (IS), individual enriched housing (IE), group standard housing (GS), or group enriched housing (GE) for four weeks. The rats were then trained to lever press. After acquisition, rats were trained on a discrimination procedure in which a light in the operant chamber indicated when a lever press would result in food delivery. Enrichment was found to have a positive effect on the acquisition of the lever press, though no effect on discrimination was demonstrated. A possible implication of these findings for future operant research includes improved performance on object-related learning tasks due to the inclusion of enrichment.
86. Response-Class Formation in an African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus).
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
KAZUCHIKA MANABE (Nihon University), Takashi Kawashima (Nihon University), Naomi Yatsuda (Nihon University), Kiyoshi Asahina (Nihon University )
Abstract: Two African Penguins were trained to respond to four different operanda: joystick, chain, foot pedal, and photocell. In a session, only two of four responses were reinforced. In the next session, the other two responses were reinforced. After a large number of these successive reversals, one of two African Penguins responded correctly to the operanda that were assigned to the correct ones in the session following the first reinforcement to a response. This suggests that an African Penguin forms response classes.
87. The Development of Equivalence via Shared Stimulus Functions.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
CHRISTOFFER K. EILIFSEN (Akershus University College), Manish Vaidya (University of North Texas), Erik Arntzen (Akershus University College)
Abstract: Two male and two female adults participated in the study. Participants were presented with a simple discrimination task in which they responded to stimuli on a computer screen by saying one out of three self-chosen words out loud. Feedback was given for responses consistent with a pre-arranged division of the stimuli into three sets. This procedure was expected to give rise to three classes of stimuli. Test trials designed to assay the properties of equivalence relations were presented in a match-to-sample format with no consequences for responses in testing blocks of trials. Throughout the study, training and testing blocks alternated allowing a precise characterization of the acquisition of the simple discriminations and the development of equivalence relations. Three out of four participants responded according to the conditional relations that define equivalence. In all cases this response pattern emerged after the participant reached stable performance on the simple discriminations task. The fourth participant did not reach the stability criteria on either the simple discrimination task or the matching-to-sample task. The study supports a prediction that equivalence relations can develop from all the positive elements in a contingency, including a common response.
88. Does Simple Discrimination Training Facilitate the Acquisition of Conditional Discriminations in Young Children?
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
JASON BOYE (University of North Carolina, Wilmington), Rachel Kolb (University of North Carolina, Wilmington), Carol Pilgrim (University of North Carolina, Wilmington), Simone Bullock (University of North Carolina, Wilmington), Grace Mayer (University of North Carolina, Wilmington)
Abstract: It has been shown that some human populations have difficulty acquiring conditional discriminations. Using a match-to-sample program, simple discrimination training was given to 22 typically developing children to assess whether it would facilitate the acquisition of conditional discriminations in this population. Class-specific reinforcement was used to train simple discriminations, choosing A1 instead of two distracter stimuli produced reinforcer one, choosing B1 instead of two distracter stimuli also produced reinforcer one, and choosing A2 instead of two distracter stimuli produced reinforcer two, and so on. Simple discrimination training with class-specific reinforcement was followed by the presentation of reinforcer probes and tests for the emergence of conditional discriminations between stimuli that had been related to a common reinforcer (e.g., A1 and B1). Thus far in our study all participants have shown rapid acquisition of simple discriminations, and all four who have reached relevant testing phases have shown emergent reinforcer-stimulus and conditional discrimination performances. The next phase will test for the formation of three 3-member equivalence classes. Previous research has suggested that, based on the emergent performances seen thus far, emergent equivalence classes are likely to follow.
89. Foraging Strategies in the Radial-Arm Maze: Changes in Global Prey Density.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
ROBERTO P. MACIEL (Universidad de Guadalajara), Felix A. Castellanos (Universidad de Guadalajara)
Abstract: Operant procedures simulating foraging behavior had been widely used in experimental scenarios. Most of the studies about animals searching for food have emphasized the prey choice where the forager is able to choose between poor prey vs. rich prey. In this experiment were analyzed the foraging strategies of six female rats in an environment where multiple patches were available in the Radial-Arm Maze, and where the particular prey values in patches were scheduled concurrently according to eight independent fixed intervals. The results show the pattern of choices among patches according to the systematic changes in the global prey density and the pattern of search and food procurement within the different patches. Variables such as the visit time, travel time, and time persisting to obtain food were measured. The implications for the models in foraging behavior and spatial memory are discussed.
90. Is Activity-Based Anorexia Dependent of Specific Deprivation?
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
IRIS LORENA GOMEZ SANCHEZ (Universidad de Guadalajara), Hector Martinez Sanchez (Universidad de Guadalajara - Mexico)
Abstract: It has been well documented that the model of activity-based anorexia is characterized by a loss of corporal weight, reduction of food intake and a remarkable increase in the activity wheel in rats when food restriction and free access of the running wheel is used. However, we do not know what occurs if food restriction is replaced by water restriction with the rest of experimental conditions remained the same. Six male albino rats (2 months old at the beginning of the experiment) were exposed to water restriction (23 hours) and 23 hours running wheel access during seven consecutives days. Food was always available along the whole experiment. Before experimental conditions, rats received free access to food and water during five consecutive days. Wheel running, body weight, food and water intake were recorded. Data will be analyzed in terms of the relationship between specific deprivation and the activity-based anorexia model.
91. Transfer of Sequential Response with Compound Stimuli.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
MICHIKO NAKAMURA (Komazawa University), Koichi Ono (Komazawa University)
Abstract: In Experiment 1, 20 participants were trained to complete 5-term sequences with unitary stimuli, and were then tested for transfer of sequential response to compound stimuli by adding other dimensions. All participants succeeded in this stage, and next they were tested for transfer of sequential response with stimuli by removing the primary dimension. Eight of ten who were trained with the figure dimension first and 4 of 10 who were trained with the color dimension first demonstrated successful transfer of sequential responses. In Experiment 2, 10 participants were first trained for 5- term sequences with compound stimuli (color and figure), then tested for transfer of sequential response to both color-dimension-only stimuli and figure-dimension-only stimuli. All participants demonstrated transfer to color- dimension-only stimuli and 9 of them demonstrated transfer to figure-dimension-only stimuli. These results suggest that transfer from compound stimuli to unitary stimuli is easier than transfer from unitary stimuli to compound stimuli.
92. Examining Immediate and Delayed Reinforcement in a Contingency Management.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
KRISTIN A. KIEL (James Madison University), J. Philip Erb (James Madison University), Brantley P. Jarvis (James Madison University), Jessica Greta Marie Irons (James Madison University), Sherry L. Serdikoff (James Madison University)
Abstract: The present study examines the role of reinforcer delay within the context of a contingency management (CM) procedure using a brief abstinence test (BAT) to reduce cigarette smoking among college students. During the first baseline week, participants provide biological samples and self-report data about their smoking. During the immediate reinforcer (IR) intervention, participants receive a monetary reward if criterion-level measures are provided; a breath CO sample <4ppm, negative cotinine assessed via urinalysis, and a self-report of zero cigarette use during the previous week. During the delayed reinforcer (DR) condition, participants do not receive the reward until the following week. During a return to baseline conditions for the last week, participants again provide biological and self-report measures and all receive a small monetary reward for attending. To the extent that smoking is differentially reduced in the immediate and delayed conditions, the role of delay within the context of CM is revealed. Implications for large-scale treatment implementations are considered.
94. Pre-Ratio Pausing Following Rich-to-Lean Transitions on Multiple Schedules in Fischer 344 and Lewis Rats.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
ADAM T. BREWER (University of Kansas), Patrick S. Johnson (University of Kansas), Jeffrey S. Stein (University of Kansas), Jonathan W. Pinkston (University of Kansas), Dean C. Williams (University of Kansas), Gregory J. Madden (Utah State University)
Abstract: Under fixed-ratio (FR) schedules, post-reinforcement (or pre-ratio) pauses are maladaptive—they decrease the rate of reinforcement. Perone and Courtney (1992) demonstrated that pigeons pause after a reinforcer for a longer interval when there is a discriminable shift from rich (large reinforcer magnitude) to lean (small reinforcer magnitude) components of a multiple FR-FR schedule of positive reinforcement. The generality of this rich-to- lean effect on pausing has been demonstrated across species, responses, and reinforcers (Bejarano, Williams, & Perone, 2003; Wade-Galuska, Perone, & Wirth, 2004). However, it is not known whether biological variables (e.g., neurochemical differences) might affect pausing at rich-to-lean transitions. Fischer 344 and Lewis rats, two genetically inbred strains, were selected for their known differences in brain chemistry (specifically, dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitters) and behavior (e.g., successive negative contrast, impulsivity, and drug self- administration). Both strains were exposed to a multiple FR-FR schedule with values that ranged from FR-25 to FR-150. In rich components, completion of the response requirement resulted in a large amount of food (seven pellets), while lean components resulted in a small amount of food (one pellet). Results suggest that Fischer 344 rats pause longer than Lewis rats following rich-to-lean transitions.
95. Effects of Gestational Undernutrition on Progressive Ratio Schedules of Sucrose Reinforcement: A Replication.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
CHRISTOPHER KREBS (Idaho State University), Erin B. Rasmussen (Idaho State University)
Abstract: Research suggests that gestational undernutrition is linked to obesity in offspring as adults. Previous data from our laboratory examined differences in progressive ratio (PR) schedules of sucrose reinforcement between gestationally undernourished (GU) rats and controls. In the first four sessions of PR, GU rats had higher breakpoints for food than controls. After behavior stabilized, however, a reverse effect was found: GFR rats had lower breakpoints than controls, though this finding was limited because of the low n. The current study represents a systematic replication with a larger n. We food deprived dams for 0 or 45% of their free-feeding intake for days 1-18 of gestation. We allowed selected female offspring (14 in each group; total n=28) to free-feed for one year after birth, and then placed them under 22 hours of food deprivation to establish food as a reinforcer. Then, lever-pressing was placed under a progressive ratio schedule of sucrose reinforcement. Results suggest that at one year, GU’s free-feeding weights were significantly lower than controls, and breakpoints under the PR schedule were lower. These results suggest that the GU protocol we used lead to food have having a less reinforcing property, a finding inconsistent with the GU literature
96. Water-Based Conditioned Reinforcement in a Schedule-Induced Drinking Situation.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
CHRISTIAN LOPEZ GUTIERREZ (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico), Carlos A. Bruner (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico)
Abstract: Previous research has shown that stimuli paired with water cannot be classically conditioned to elicit the water-producing response in a Schedule-Induced Drinking (SID) situation. By contrast, we have demonstrated that stimulus control over drinking can be established using a discriminative procedure, one where a stimulus sets the occasion for the water-reinforcement of the water-producing response. Given that the discriminative and conditioned-reinforcement functions of stimuli are interchangeable, in the present experiment we attempted the conditioned reinforcement of the water-producing response in a SID situation. After extinguishing a discrimination in a SID situation, three rats each were given the former discriminative stimulus either response-independently (SD), as a consequence of responding (Sr) or omitted during the test sessions. Response rates during testing were similar for the SD and Sr conditions, but higher than in the no-stimulus condition. These results show the water-based conditioned reinforcement of the water-producing response in a SID situation.
97. Recominative Generalization of Within-Syllable Units: Short and Long Vowel Sounds.
Area: EAB; Domain: Applied Research
MEGAN N. SHOWALTER WEAVER (University of Kansas), Christy A. Alligood (University of Kansas), Janna N. Skinner (University of Kansas), Tanya Baynham (University of Kansas), Anna C. Schmidt (University of Kansas), Kathryn Saunders (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Previous studies have demonstrated recombinative generalization of within-syllable units following multiple-exemplar training. The present study tested for generalization of sound-print rime relations involving long and short vowel sounds across different onsets. Participants diagnosed with intellectual disabilities completed training via a computerized word-construction task designed to establish relations between spoken and printed words containing the rimes “at” and “ate.” The design included word-construction pretesting of the words and nonwords used in the study and control words with different rimes. Following this, training and testing was conducted across six different word sets, each containing 4 words with two different onsets (e.g., rat, pate, pat, rate). Training included construction of the isolated rimes (at and ate). Participants demonstrated generalization by constructing novel words following training on other words. We discuss additional procedures implemented with some participants to promote generalization, and ways that training efficiency might be improved in future participants.
98. A Simple Response Model of Pavlovian Conditioning.
Area: EAB; Domain: Theory
STEVEN C. STOUT (Jacksonville State University)
Abstract: Mathematical models of Pavlovian conditioning share the common assumption that responding to a CS directly reflects the strength of an underlying CS-US association, including in some cases an inhibitory association. Thus, in theories that subscribe to the What You See Is What You Have (WYSIWYH) response rule, any deficits of conditioning, such as those observed in cue competition paradigms as blocking, overshadowing, and relative stimulus validity effects are attributed to impoverished learning of this central association. An alternative view, originally proposed by Miller and colleagues' comparator hypothesis, is that contiguity between two stimuli always results in the formation of an association between them that is unaffected by other stimuli, and that expression of latent associations are governed by response rules more complex than WYSIWYH. Here, a mathematical formalization of the comparator hypothesis is presented and contrasted with the canonical WYSIWYH model of Rescorla and Wagner. The model presented is a subset of Stout and Miller’s SOCR model and is simple enough to be understood by undergraduates enrolled in survey courses in conditioning and learning. The model accounts for all of the phenomena of Rescorla-Wagner plus latent inhibition and recovery from cue competition phenomena which that model cannot by nature predict.
99. Dynamic Modeling of Individual Acquisition Patterns on an Operant Task in Mice.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
JAIME ROBLES (Virginia Commonwealth University), Cristina Vargas-Irwin (Virginia Commonwealth University)
Abstract: A multidimensional analysis of the dynamics of acquisition is presented. The dynamics are characterized by a combination of rate of change and structural change parameters. Vector autoregressive techniques alongside with structural change test for the time series of acquisition produce a parametric representation of the acquisition process. The result shows different patterns of parameter configurations that are consistent with within-subject, within-session response patterns, treated as time series processes.
100. Matching-to-Sample and Equivalence Associations in Horses.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
ERIN LEIGH STEIN (The University of Illinois), Sarah Danielle Albert (The University of Illinois), Vera Christina Kazaniwskyj (The University of Illinois), Amy Fischer (The University of Illinois), Jennifer L. Sobie (University of Illinois)
Abstract: Matching-to-sample (MTS) procedures have been used extensively with a variety of species in both experimental analysis preparations and behavioral pharmacology assessments, but have been used in limited evaluation with domestic horses. Employing a two-choice visual MTS apparatus similar to that described in Kastak, Schusterman and Kastak (2001) and following the methodology they developed in evaluating stimulus matching and equivalence in a California sea lion, this study assessed matching behavior in one young adult (8-year-old) Quarter Horse Appendix gelding and one aged (36-year-old) Quarter Horse gelding. As in Kastak, Schusterman and Kastak, the differential outcome effect was evaluated as a technique for enhancing discrimination and initiating rudimentary equivalence associations. Data collection is in progress.
101. Conditional Discrimination and Stimulus Equivalence: Effects of Suppressing Derived Symmetrical Responses on the Emergence of Transitivity.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
AARON A. JONES (Intermountain Centers for Human Development), Sigrid S. Glenn (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Symmetry suppression was conducted for five subjects who demonstrated a tendency to derive equivalence relations based on conditional discrimination training in a match-to-sample procedure. Symmetry suppression was applied in three consecutive sessions in which symmetrical responses were suppressed for one stimulus class in the first condition, two stimulus classes in the second condition, and all three stimulus classes in the final condition. Symmetry suppression slowed the emergence of transitivity for two subjects and prevented it for the other three. Results indicated that unplanned features of stimulus configurations emerged as discriminative variables that controlled selection responses and altered the function of consequent stimuli.
102. Preference Pulses: The Effects of Post-Reinforcer Blackouts.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
MICHELLE E. BANICEVICH (University of Auckland), Michael C. Davison (University of Auckland), Douglas Elliffe (University of Auckland)
Abstract: Preference pulses are short-term and often extreme changes in choice following reinforcement, normally for the just-reinforced response. While initially interpreted as a local effect of the last reinforcer location, recent research has reported pulses towards the not-just-reinforced response. This experiment shows the effect on preference pulses of 5 durations (2.5, 5, 10, 20, and 30 s) of blackout - periods where no reinforcers are delivered, signaled by the offset of all experimental stimuli. It was found that increasing blackout duration creates pulses that are increasingly nondifferential towards the richer (as opposed to most recent) alternative. A possible explanation of the corresponding change in probability of reinforcement immediately after blackout is also investigated.



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