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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Paper Session #393
Cooperation in Non-Human Animals
Monday, May 29, 2017
9:00 AM–9:20 AM
Hyatt Regency, Centennial Ballroom A
Area: EAB
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Amanda Ackerman (West Virginia University)

Shaping Cooperation in Pigeons

Domain: Basic Research
AMANDA ACKERMAN (West Virginia University), Kennon Andy Lattal (West Virginia University)

This paper is concerned with the analysis of contingencies controlling the behavior of two organisms simultaneously. In doing so we return to a problem of historic interest in behavior analysis, but on which there has been little recent experimentation. Two pigeons were trained to respond on a cooperation task. The task was to peck simultaneously on two metal disks located at either end of a rod which was attached to a wooden toy firetruck. These pecks moved the firetruck down a wooden track. In the terminal performance, reinforcement was delivered when the truck reached the end of the track. Beginning with adapting the pigeons to being in a social environment with one another, a variety of problems were encountered in shaping the cooperative behavior. One of the most difficult problems was coordinating the individual responses toward the common goal of moving the truck. This and other problems will be discussed and illustrated with video clips showing the problem behavior and its resolution. The final cooperative behavior was achieved after several months of training.




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