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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Symposium #463
Experimental Analysis of Human Social Behavior: Symposium in Honor of David R. Schmitt
Monday, May 26, 2008
3:30 PM–4:50 PM
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Cynthia J. Pietras (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: David R. Schmitt has been a pioneer in the experimental analysis of human social behavior, particularly in the areas of cooperation and competition. In 2007, Dr. Schmitt was given a Distinguished Career Award by the EAHB-SIG, but unfortunately could not attend ABA. In this symposium researchers will present a variety of studies on cooperation, competition, and sharing, to showcase current research on human social behavior and to honor Dr. Schmitt’s contributions to the field.
The Bargaining Problem: A Behavioral Economic Analysis of Reinforcer Allocation in Human Exchanges.
RALPH SPIGA (Temple University), Steven R. Hursh (Institute of Behavior Resources & John Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract: How do individuals distribute the surplus reinforcers produced by cooperative responses? This is the bargaining problem. Individual members of 3 dyads completed Fixed Ratio (FR) schedules to earn money. The magnitude of the FR requirement was varied systematically. An exponential demand curve with the magnitude of the FR schedules as price and earnings as consumption was fit to each individual’s data. During the second experimental phase, the FR schedules for one participant were interlocked with the FR of the second dyad member. In this interlocking arrangement individuals could increase or decrease FR magnitude. When one participant decreased the magnitude of the FR requirement, the magnitude increased for the paired participant. Individuals were not informed of the other’s FR magnitude and the process continued until both individuals agreed to the FR combination. The FR requirement combination agreed to by the participants converged to the price point at which the individual demand curves intersected. The PA Department of Health supported this research.
Social Responses During a Modified Prisoner’s Dilemma: Effects of Nicotine Withdrawal.
DEBORAH ANNE HAAS (Headsprout, Inc.), Ralph Spiga (Temple University), Evan Roberts (Temple University)
Abstract: This experiment examined the effects of abstinence, 0 mg, 2 mg, 4 mg nicotine gum, and ad lib smoking on choices during a modified Prisoner’s dilemma procedure. Each member of an interacting dyad could cooperate, compete, punish, reward, or withdraw from the interaction. Choices determined monetary payoffs. Nicotine dependent smokers were recruited and paired. During sessions 3 to 8 both members of the dyad were abstinent, smoked, or received a nicotine gum dose. During sessions 9 to 13, one randomly selected member of the pair was abstinent, smoked ad lib, or received a nicotine gum dose while the other member smoked ad lib on all 5 occasions. The mean number of cooperative and reward choices following 4 mg nicotine and ad lib smoking was greater than during abstinence, 0 or 2 mg nicotine gum. The mean number of competitive, punitive, and withdrawal choices was greater following abstinence, 0, or 2 mg nicotine gum, respectively, than after ad lib smoking or 4 mg nicotine gum. Abstinent smokers were less likely to follow a tit-for-tat strategy. This was replicated with THC. NIDA supported this research.
Functional Dimensions of Social Behavior: The Cases of Partial Altruism (Cooperation) and Competition.
NORA RANGEL (Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico), Emilio Ribes Iñesta (Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico)
Abstract: Three general dimensions of analysis of any social interaction are proposed. These dimensions are linked to power relations, exchange relations and sanction relations. From this point of view, it is proposed a methodological preparation that allows to evaluate social interactions in a task, whose solution has an intrinsic value. This preparation allows for a distinction between individual and social responses in a free choice situation, under contingencies of competition, total altruism, and partial altruism (cooperation). Using this procedure, participants showed a preference for an individual contingency, although responding to the social contingency generated greater earnings for them. It also was observed the fundamental role of the verbal agreements between the participants in the preference for social responses.
The Sharing Game: Social Factors.
ARTHUR KENNELLY (University of California, San Diego), Edmund J. Fantino (University of California, San Diego)
Abstract: Economic games involving allocation of resources have been a useful tool for the study of decision-making for both psychologists and economists. In the Sharing Game, students distributed resources between themselves and an unseen, passive other by choosing between two allocation options, one that gave the allocator more and the other participant still more (the "optimal" choice) and one which gave the allocator less and the other participant still less (the "competitive" choice). Across multiple repeated-trials experiments, context played an influential role on allocators' choice behavior: students acted more optimally when distributing real versus hypothetical money, and displayed greater competitive behavior when terms such as "game" and "player" were used during the session. In both between- and within-subjects Sharing Games, men allocated optimally more often than women, and a gender/incentive interaction was observed in which men behaved more optimally than women when playing for real versus hypothetical money. Surprisingly, being told that the putative other participant was male, female, or even a computer did not affect students' choices. Within-subjects results suggest that individuals do not exhibit stable preference patterns that reflect personality and / or experience.



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