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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #293
Metacontingencies Experiments: Culturant's Selection by Positive and Aversive Cultural Consequences With Humans and Non-Humans
Sunday, May 28, 2017
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Hyatt Regency, Centennial Ballroom B/C
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Sigrid S. Glenn (University of North Texas)

This symposium shows experiments that used the metacontingency concept to investigate in controlled conditions, if it is possible to determinate behavior by scheduling conditional relations between culturants and cultural consequences. The first study investigated if consequences would determinate choices of resources distributions. Pairs of children were exposed to different conditions - with no consequences, consequences for equal distributions and consequences for unequal distributions. Results showed that choices were under control of consequences. The second study investigated if it is possible to control non-humans behaviors by cultural consequences. Pairs of fish received cultural consequences by simulating killer whales behavior. Results showed that non-humans are sensitive to engage in behavior in groups when cultural consequences are available. The third study aimed to discover if cultural consequences could suppress culturants that had been previously strengthened. Two triads of undergraduate students were exposed to two conditions. In one condition they would receive bonus if a specified aggregate product were produced. As result, frequency of those culturants was increased. In the another condition the specified culturants produced withdraw of bonus. In that condition the frequency of culturants dropped immediately. Together, these studies show in controlled conditions, that schedule cultural consequences could determinate behavior in groups.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): aversive control, cooperative behavior, culturant, metacontingency

Reducing Culturant's Frequency by Presentation of Aversive Cultural Consequences

FABIO HENRIQUE BAIA (Universidade de Rio Verde), Isabella Lemes (Universidade de Rio Verde), Poliana Ferreira da Silva (Universidade de Rio Verde), Rogerio Guaita dos Santos Baia (Universidade de Rio Verde)

Recent studies have showed that the culturants recurrence is determined by culturant consequences. These previously studies used only conditional relations that increase culturants frequency. This is, analogous process to reinforcement in operant level. This work aimed to see if the use of cultural consequences characterized by withdraw of bonus could suppress culturants that have been previously strengthened. Six undergraduate students distributed in tow triads. In condition A responses were reinforced by points and culturants by adding bonus. In condition B responses still produced points, but culturants (that attend the criteria in previous condition) would produce withdraw bonus. The Triad 1 was exposed to ABAB design and Triad 2 to BABA design. Results showed that scheduling withdraw bonus could weak culturants previously strengthened. The data are discussed concerning different processes of selection in cultural level: strengthening cultural and weakening cultural. They are analogous processes of reinforcement and punishment in operant level.


Punishment By Third Parties in Equal and Unequal Distributions: Metacontingencies With Pairs of Children via Simulation With Characters

LAÉRCIA ABREU VASCONCELOS (Universidade de Brasília (UnB)), Karen Mororó (Universidade de Brasilia)

Evolutionary psychology understands that cooperative behavior can be explained by a continuous relation of cultural and genetic evolution. Whereas behavior analysis proposes that those behaviors can be learned throughout one's life history. To analyze the effects of cultural and individual consequences in the participants' choices in the third-party punishment game, eight pairs were exposed to an ABCBAC conditions sequence. Under Condition A, no choice contingent consequences were provided. Under Condition B, the bonus were delivered contingently to the pair's choices in order to punish equal distributions and not to punish unequal distributions. Under Condition C, the bonus were delivered contingently to the pair's choices in order not to punish equal distributions and punish unequal distributions. If only one participant of the pair emitted the required choice, an individual point was delivered. Four pairs emitted the required choices to produce individual and cultural points. Two pairs chose consistently not to punish equal distributions and punish unequal distributions throughout all conditions. Two other pairs chose to punish any kind of distribution throughout all the experiment. The results suggest that individual and cultural consequences produce changes on choices when participants contact them.


Fish as Subjects for the Experimental Analysis of Metacontingency

LUCAS COUTO DE CARVALHO (Oslo and Akershus University College)

Metacontingency is a conceptual tool that allows behavior analysts to study behavioral processes at a cultural level. The majority of studies on metacongencies have investigated cooperating behavior of human participants. Skinner (1962), however, showed some experimental setups for the study of cooperation in pigeons, which were followed by others. Outside laboratory works are also interesting examples on how we can investigate cooperative behavior in nonhumans. Pitman and Durban (2011), for example, have shown that groups of killer whales develops cooperative hunting behavior to capture a prey. Inspired on these natural observations, this work was designed to present an experimental setup that allows researchers to investigate, in a more controlled condition, the role of environmental variables on coordinating responses. It was, then, chose fish as a way to simulate killer whales behavior. In addition, results of a pilot study are presented. The results of the pilot experiment may indicate that a targeted aggregate product, emitted by the pairs of fish, could be shaped and maintained by its consequences. Cooperative behavior of fish may, therefore, be taken as baseline for future investigations: Further experimental analysis may enhance our understanding of cultural group selection as those investigated in natural situations.




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