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

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Invited Paper Session #2
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Some Common Conditioning Variables Have an Effect on Eating by Rats

Monday, October 7, 2013
8:30 AM–9:20 AM
Yucatan II (Fiesta Americana)
Area: EAB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Carlos A. Bruner, Ph.D.
Chair: Carlos Javier Flores (Universidad de Guadalajara)
CARLOS A. BRUNER (National University of Mexico)
Dr. Carlos A. Bruner completed his Ph.D. in 1981 at the Queens College of the City University of New York and since then has been a professor at the National University of Mexico (UNAM). Dr. Bruner has published more than 130 journal articles and chapters in specialized books on a wide range of topics in behavior analysis, including the influence of temporal context on the effects of delayed reinforcement on operant behavior and schedule-induced drinking. Dr. Bruner has contributed outstandingly to the development of behavior analysis in Mexico. He served twice as the president of the Mexican Society for Behavior Analysis and as editor of the Mexican Journal of Behavior Analysis. Dr. Bruner also has contributed to the growth of behavior analysis in Mexico through the mentorship of his students, many of whom now hold academic positions at universities in Mexico. During the last 15 years he has held a distinguished National Researcher Award from the Mexican Government and has been honored by UNAM with a PRIDE Award for academic excellence in teaching, research and dissemination of knowledge.

In the vast majority of operant experiments reinforcement magnitude (e.g., meal size) has been treated as a parameter of other independent variables that control the subject's behavior (e.g., the delivery of three food-pellets as reinforcement). By contrast, in some experiments conducted in our laboratory, we have focused on reinforcement magnitude (i.e., the number of response-produced food pellets) as the dependent variable of this type of experiment. In a first study, the rat's "natural" durations of an opportunity to eat and successive inter-opportunity periods were both altered. Shortening the feeding opportunities and lengthening the inter-opportunity periods increased the rate of eating. In a second study, the temporal location of a short neutral stimulus within the inter-opportunity period was varied. Food eaten was a decreasing function of lengthening the stimulus-opportunity interval, including either, the enhancement or suppression of eating about a baseline with no stimulus. In a third experiment, the effects of reinforcement delay in a food-accumulation situation were studied. Food accumulation (and consumption) increased as delay of reinforcement was lengthened. The general conclusion of our experiments is that independent variables commonly studied in conditioning experiments have considerable influence on the magnitude of eating by rats.

Target Audience:

Behavior analysts interested in conditioning.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the event, participants should be able to: -- Understand that the environmental conditions known to influence eating are scattered across the different areas of psychology. -- Know that the independent variables of eating mentioned in different areas of psychology may reduce to fewer. Some common conditioning variables may serve this purpose. -- Describe that the research is derived from two ideas. The first is that we view previous findings on eating as isolated points in a continuum of operations. The second is that we view behavior analysis as an approach to the whole of psychology.



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