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.


Seventh International Conference; Merida, Mexico; 2013

Event Details

Previous Page


Paper Session #70
Social and Instructional Control Over Performance in Schedules of Reinforcement
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
12:30 PM–1:50 PM
Gran Salon II (Presidente Intercontinental)
Area: EAB
Chair: Josele Abreu-Rodrigues (Universidade de Brasilia)

The Effects of Social Control Upon Instrucion Following

Domain: Experimental Analysis
JOSELE ABREU-RODRIGUES (Universidade de Brasilia), Murilo de Assis Alfaix Melo (Universidade de Brasilia)

The present study investigated the effects of social control upon instruction following. College students were exposed to an FI 15 s schedule during three experimental conditions, which differed in terms of the instructions: DRL 15 s, DRL 7 s and DRL 3 s. With those values, the likelihood of contact with the instruction-schedule discrepancy increased across conditions. The participants performed the task alone (Control Group), in the presence of a classmate (With Classmate Group) or in the presence of the experimenter (With Experimenter Group). For the participants in the Control and With Classmate groups, the time between responses (IRT) was constant and close to 15 s, despite of the instructions; for the participants in the Experimenter Group, on the other hand, the IRTs were similar to the values described by the instructions. These results show a reduction in schedule-sensitivity when the experimenter was present. It was concluded that the social control exerted by an authority figure might favor following inaccurate instructions.

Resurgence of Rule-based Variability Patterns
Domain: Experimental Analysis
THAISSA PONTES (Universidade de Brasília - UnB), Jackson Scott (Wofford College), Kinsey Cameron (Wofford College), Jessie Cart (Wofford College), Alliston K. Reid (Wofford College)
Abstract: The present study had two goals: 1) to produce instructional control of different patterns of behavioral variability, and 2) investigate resurgence of those patterns. College students were randomly assigned to one of three groups and were required to emit sequences of five key presses. The Systematic group was instructed to emit sequences according to some systematic pattern; the Random group was instructed to emit sequences randomly. The Control group did not receive instructions about how to emit sequences. Each group was exposed to the typical three-phase procedure. In the Reinforcement phase, a variability contingency required the current sequence to meet both lag and threshold criteria for reinforcement to occur. In the Elimination phase, all variability patterns underwent extinction while a target sequence was reinforced according to a continuous reinforcement schedule (CRF). The Resurgence phase provided no programmed reinforcement for any behavior. Measurements of identical joint transitions between sequences in the Reinforcement and Resurgence phases enabled the identification and quantitative measurement of the degree to which resurgence of a random or systematic pattern of sequences occurred for each participant. The results demonstrated: 1) that the instructions were sufficient to produce different patterns of behavior and, 2) resurgence of the individual patterns of variability for most participants. In general, the present findings demonstrate that, despite the pattern of variability generated by instructions (Systematic and Random) or self-instructions (Control group) during the Reinforcement phase, the same unique pattern resurged during the Resurgence phase.

The Role of False and True Instructions Uponthe Sunk Cost Effect

Domain: Experimental Analysis
MONIQUE CAMPOS (Universidade de Brasília), Josele Abreu-Rodrigues (Universidade de Brasilia)

The sunk cost effect is a tendency to persist in a disadvantageous endeavor. The present study investigated whether an experimental history with instructions affects the sunk cost effect. College students should attempt to purchase lots of shares. In each trial, the participant could either persist through the attempt or quit it. In the Training Phase, the most advantageous choice was to persist instead of quitting. For the True Instruction and False Instruction groups, the instruction indicated that persisting and quitting was the best choice, respectively; for the No Instruction Group, there was no instruction. In the Testing Phase, quitting a purchase attempt was the most advantageous choice. This phase comprised three conditions: with true instructions in the first and third conditions, and with false instructions in the second condition. In the Training Phase, all participants showed persistence. In the Testing Phase, the participants with no history of true instructions continued persisting (sunk cost effect), even when there was a true instruction, while those with a history of true instructions persisted or quit in accordance to the instructions. The results suggest that the sunk cost effect is affected by the accuracy of the instructions on the most advantageous performance.

Observing Responses and Serial Stimuli: From Tandem to Chained Schedules
Domain: Experimental Analysis
MAYELA HERNÁNDEZ (National Autonomous University of Mexico), Rogelio Escobar (National Autonomous University of Mexico)
Abstract: Two experiments were conducted to determine whether the stimuli associated to each link of a chained schedule of reinforcement function as conditioned reinforcers. In Experiment 1 lever pressing by three rats was reinforced on a chained schedule with four variable-interval 20-s links. Afterwards, the schedule was changed to a tandem schedule and presses on a second lever (observing) produced the stimuli associated to each link of the previous chained schedule for 5 s. It was found that observing responses increased from the initial to the terminal link of the schedule. In Experiment 2, the function of each stimulus in the schedule was determined by replacing the four differential stimuli with a single stimulus in all links. This condition, however, had no systematic effects on observing responses. In a subsequent condition, the stimulus associated with the terminal link of the schedule was removed and observing responses decreased during the four links of the schedule for all rats. These results suggest that in a chained schedule, only the stimulus occurring in temporal proximity to food delivery functions as a conditioned reinforcer of observing responses.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh