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Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior

Impact factor: 1.07 5-Year impact factor: 1.117 Print ISSN: 0022-5002 Online ISSN: 0022-5002 Publisher: Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)

Subjects: Experimental Psychology, Biological Psychology

Most recent papers:

  • Testing the limits of behavior analysis: A review of frans de Waal's Are we smart enough to know how smart animals are?
    Julian C. Leslie.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. October 24, 2018
    --- - |2 In “Are we smart enough to know how smart animals are?” de Waal (2016) summarizes field studies and experiments that demonstrate a huge number of examples of complex behavior in many animal species. His avowed aim is to challenge the views of both lay people and scientists about the limits of intelligence of other species and to demonstrate much closer similarity in the achievements of other species to those of humans, thus undermining claims of human uniqueness. His general explanatory scheme is to infer human‐like cognitive processes in other species to explain complex behavior, at least when this is supported by other evolutionary considerations. This review suggests how behavior analysis might explain some of the phenomena outlined by de Waal, indicates where its explanatory system may need to expand and develop to encompass a wider range of behavior, and points to similarities as well as differences between the explanatory scheme used by de Waal and that of behavior analysis. - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, EarlyView.
    October 24, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.482   open full text
  • The Demand Curve Analyzer: Behavioral economic software for applied research.
    Shawn P. Gilroy, Brent A. Kaplan, Derek D. Reed, Mikhail N. Koffarnus, Donald A. Hantula.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. October 17, 2018
    --- - |2 Free and open‐source software for applying models of operant demand called the Demand Curve Analyzer (DCA) was developed and systematically evaluated for use in research. The software was constructed to streamline the use of recommended screening measures, prepare suitable scaling parameters, fit one of several models of operant demand, and provide publication‐quality figures. The DCA allows users to easily import price and consumption data into spreadsheet‐based controls and to perform statistical modeling with the aid of a graphical user interface. The results from computer simulations and reanalyses of published study data indicated that the DCA provides results consistent with commercially available software that has been traditionally used to apply these analyses (i.e., GraphPadTM Prism). Further, the DCA provides additional functionality that other statistical packages do not include. Practical issues and future directions related to the determination of scaling parameter k, screening for nonsystematic data, and the incorporation of more advanced behavioral economic methods are also discussed. - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, EarlyView.
    October 17, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.479   open full text
  • Assessing the repeatability of resurgence in humans: Implications for the use of within‐subject designs.
    Kathryn M. Kestner, Claudia C. Diaz‐Salvat, Claire C. St. Peter, Stephanie M. Peterson.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. October 16, 2018
    --- - |2 Resurgence refers to the recurrence of a previously reinforced response following the worsening of reinforcement conditions (e.g., extinction) for an alternative response. Because of the implications for treatment relapse, researchers have become particularly interested in mitigating resurgence of human behavior. Some studies have employed reversal designs and varied parameters across replications (e.g., ABCADC) to compare effects of second‐phase variables. Although resurgence is generally repeatable within and between subjects, the extent to which similar levels of resurgence occur across replications is less clear. To assess the repeatability of resurgence, we conducted a secondary analysis of 62 human‐operant data sets using ABCABC reversal designs from two laboratories in the United States. We found significant reductions in the magnitude of resurgence during the second exposure to extinction relative to the first exposure when all other phase variables were held constant. These results suggest that researchers should exercise caution when using within‐subject, across‐phase replications to compare resurgence between variable manipulations with human participants. - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, EarlyView.
    October 16, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.477   open full text
  • A multivariate assessment of the rapidly changing procedure with McDowell's evolutionary theory of behavior dynamics.
    Don Li, Douglas Elliffe, Michael J. Hautus.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. October 16, 2018
    --- - |2 A multivariate analysis is concerned with more than one dependent variable simultaneously. Models that generate event records have a privileged status in a multivariate analysis. From a model that generates event records, we may compute predictions for any dependent variable associated with those event records. However, because of the generality that is afforded to us by these kinds of models, we must carefully consider the selection of dependent variables. Thus, we present a conditional compromise heuristic for the selection of dependent variables from a large group of variables. The heuristic is applied to McDowell's Evolutionary Theory of Behavior Dynamics (ETBD) for fitting to a concurrent variable‐interval schedule in‐transition dataset. From the parameters obtained from fitting ETBD, we generated predictions for a wide range of dependent variables. Overall, we found that our ETBD implementation accounted well for various flavors of the log response ratio, but had difficulty accounting for the overall response rates and cumulative reinforcer effects. Based on these results, we argue that the predictions of our ETBD implementation could be improved by decreasing the base response probabilities, either by increasing the response latencies or by decreasing the sizes of the operant classes. - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, EarlyView.
    October 16, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.478   open full text
  • Resurgence when challenging alternative behavior with progressive ratios in children and pigeonsresurgence with progressive ratios.
    Thuong Ho, John Y. H. Bai, Madeleine Keevy, Christopher A. Podlesnik.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. October 11, 2018
    --- - |2 Resurgence is defined as the recurrence of a previously reinforced and then extinguished target response when reducing or eliminating a more recently reinforced alternative response. In experiments with children and pigeons, we evaluated patterns of resurgence across and within sessions through decreases in reinforcer availability by challenging alternative responding with extinction and progressive‐ratio schedules. In Phase 1, we reinforced only target responding. In Phase 2, we extinguished target responding while reinforcing an alternative response. Finally, Phase 3 assessed resurgence by (a) extinguishing alternative responding versus (b) introducing a progressive‐ratio schedule of reinforcement for alternative responding. In both children and pigeons, resurgence of target responding occurred in both conditions but generally was greater when assessed during extinction than with progressive ratios. Importantly, within‐session patterns of resurgence did not differ between testing with progressive ratios and extinction. Resurgence with progressive ratios tended to be greater with longer durations between reinforcers but we observed similar findings with only simulated reinforcers during extinction testing. Therefore, the present investigation reveals that the events contributing to instances of resurgence remain to be understood, and presents an approach from which to examine variables influencing within‐session patterns of resurgence. - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, EarlyView.
    October 11, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.474   open full text
  • Multiscale behavior analysis and molar behaviorism: An overview.
    William M. Baum.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. October 10, 2018
    --- - |2 In the context of evolutionary theory, behavior is the interaction between the organism and its environment. Two implications follow: (a) behavior takes time; and (b) behavior is defined by its function. That behavior takes time implies that behavioral units are temporally extended patterns or activities. An activity functions as an integrated whole composed of parts that are themselves smaller‐scale activities. That behavior is defined by its function implies that behavior functions to change the environment in ways that promote reproductive success. Phylogenetically important events (PIEs) are enhanced or mitigated by activities they induce as a result of natural selection. Induction explains all the phenomena that have traditionally been explained by reinforcement. This multiscale view replaces discrete responses and contiguity with multiscale activities and covariance. A PIE induces operant activity as a result of covariance in the form of a feedback relation between the activity and the PIE. A signal (conditional inducer) induces PIE‐induced activities as a result of covariance between the PIE and the signal. In an ontological perspective, behavior is a process, and an activity is a process individual. For example, ontological considerations clarify the status of delay and probability discounting. A true natural science of behavior is possible. - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, EarlyView.
    October 10, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.476   open full text
  • Reinforcement of variability facilitates learning in humans.
    Jocelyn Hansson, Allen Neuringer.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. October 09, 2018
    --- - |2 Studies with rats and pigeons showed that reinforcement of response variability improved learning of difficult response sequences. The results suggested that concurrent reinforcement of variability might be a helpful tool when educators or therapists attempt to teach individuals with learning difficulties. However, similar experiments with humans failed to confirm the results. In fact, in the human case, concurrent reinforcement of variability interfered with learning. The present experiment studied the same phenomenon with human participants in the context of a computer‐based game. Our results were consistent with the nonhuman animal findings. When students in our experiment were concurrently reinforced for sequence variability, they were more likely than control participants to learn a difficult response sequence. We conclude that reinforcement of variability can facilitate learning—in humans as well as animals —and discuss possible reasons for the difference between our results and the previous human findings. - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, EarlyView.
    October 09, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.475   open full text
  • Transitivity as skinnerian problem solving controlled by self‐constructed relational stimuli.
    Ioannis S. Moustakis, Robert C. Mellon.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. October 01, 2018
    --- - |2 In tests of the derivation of complex relations such as transitivity, extant cues might fail to evoke effective responding, necessitating the construction of supplemental stimuli prior to their solution. The significance of this process was investigated by within‐subject manipulation of an instructional variable designed to produce different levels of construction of supplemental stimulation concerning relationships among stimulus elements of concatenated conditional discriminations. In two experimental sessions, serial training of three 5‐member stimulus classes occurred, either with the instruction to simply name the component stimuli or to both name them and generate a tale serially linking the stimuli named; such constructed stimuli might be spontaneously reconstructed by precurrent acts in subsequent tests of “emergent” relations. Participants whose supplemental stimulus construction at the first session was limited to name‐giving derived significantly more relations when, in training at session two, they generated tales linking stimulus elements; this same near‐errorless derivation was obtained at the first session whenever relational stimuli beyond bidirectional naming were constructed. In some cases the uninstructed construction of supplementary relational stimuli occurred at the first session, to equivalent effect; such construction might constitute a typically unobserved component of the derivation of relations among stimulus elements entailed in multiple conditional discriminations. - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, EarlyView.
    October 01, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.473   open full text
  • Renewal of extinguished operant behavior following changes in social context.
    Kaitlyn O. Browning, Timothy A. Shahan.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 21, 2018
    --- - |2 Renewal is the reoccurrence of previously extinguished behavior following a change in the context in which extinction was conducted. Despite an extensive body of research examining renewal, little is known about the role of social stimuli in renewal. The present experiments provided a novel examination of renewal of operant behavior by changing social stimuli across phases in an ABA renewal preparation. In both experiments, social stimuli were arranged by placing another rat in a second compartment of a divided operant chamber. In Experiment 1, the presence of another rat defined the extinction context, whereas an empty second compartment defined the baseline and testing contexts. We reversed these contextual manipulations in Experiment 2 such that the presence of another rat defined the baseline and testing contexts and the second compartment was empty during extinction. Renewal of lever pressing occurred when the other rat was removed from the chamber in Experiment 1 and when the other rat was returned to the chamber in Experiment 2. Thus, social stimuli may function as contextual stimuli, and changes in social contexts may produce renewal of previously extinguished behavior. - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, EarlyView.
    September 21, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.472   open full text
  • A system for the real‐time tracking of operant behavior as an application of 3D camera.
    Toshikazu Kuroda.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 19, 2018
    --- - |2 The capacity of 3D cameras to measure many different aspects of behavior (e.g., velocity, pattern, and posture) could contribute to the understanding of behavior. The present article describes a system for the real‐time tracking of operant behavior, which is applicable to other domains of behavioral science as well. Methods for real‐time 3D tracking of animal behavior are described, along with sample C++ programs. A demonstration using one zebrafish as a subject indicated that the present system successfully tracked the 3D motion of the fish. Moreover, the acquisition of a target response (i.e., approach to a corner of the aquarium) was demonstrated with the arrangement of a reinforcement contingency at the corner in the absence of a traditional, salient operandum. The system offers the capacity to characterize more completely ongoing behavior in learning tasks across a range of species than simply performance of discrete operant responses. The system also is capable of tracking multiple individuals simultaneously so it is possible both to study social interactions and arrange contingencies for engaging in social behavior. Other possible applications of 3D cameras are discussed. - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, EarlyView.
    September 19, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.471   open full text
  • Towards validation of delay discounting in the pigeon.
    Daniel D. Holt, Matthew R. Wolf, Ryne D. Skytta.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 17, 2018
    --- - |2 A series of procedures were conducted in an attempt to assess various forms of validity related to the use of pigeons in research on delay discounting. In separate experimental arrangements, pigeons pressed a treadle, pecked a lit key, pecked a darkened key, or pecked a lit key with a hold as the required response. First, the obtained results were consistent with what would be necessary if the construct of delay discounting were being measured, which provides evidence of face validity. Second, criterion validity was assessed by comparing individual differences in rates of discounting across procedures. Third, to assess internal validity, each pigeon repeated the Treadle, Key Peck, and Dark Key procedures. Again, at both the aggregate and individual levels, the obtained indifference points did not differ systematically between replications. Finally, to assess external validity, discounting was observed regardless of the procedure, where the patterns of data at the aggregate level, and generally at the individual level, were orderly and well described by a hyperbolic function. In addition, rates of discounting were similar when pigeons pecked a lit key, a dark key, or a key with a hold; and each of those rates of discounting tended to be steeper than when treadle pressing. Generally speaking, pigeons that discounted relatively steeply on one procedure also tended to discount relatively steeply on the other procedures. The procedures evidence some of the necessary elements involved with the use of pigeons in research on delay discounting. - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, EarlyView.
    September 17, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.470   open full text
  • The effects of outcome unit framing on delay discounting.
    William B. DeHart, Jonathan E. Friedel, Charles C. J. Frye, Ann Galizio, Amy L. Odum.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 11, 2018
    --- - |2 We examined the effects of outcome framing on delay discounting. In Experiment 1, participants completed four delay‐discounting tasks. In one monetary task, money was framed in units of dollars ($50), and in the other, money was framed in units of handfuls of quarters (equal to $50). In one food task, food was framed in clear units of food (e.g., 100 M&Ms), and in the other, food was framed in units of servings (e.g., 10 servings of M&Ms). When money was framed in units of dollars, participants discounted less by delay compared to discounting of handfuls of quarters. When food was framed as clear units, participants also discounted less compared to how they discounted servings. In Experiment 2, participants completed two delay‐discounting tasks for dollars and quarters (e.g., $50 or 200 quarters) to determine if the results of Experiment 1 were due to the differences in handling costs. In one delay‐discounting task, money was framed in units of dollars. In the other delay‐discounting task, money was framed in units of quarters. There was no difference in how participants discounted delayed money framed as dollars or quarters. Clear unit framing may result in less discounting by delay than fuzzy unit framing. - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, EarlyView.
    September 11, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.469   open full text
  • An evolutionary theory of behavior dynamics applied to concurrent ratio schedules.
    J. J McDowell, Bryan Klapes.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 08, 2018
    --- - |2 An evolutionary theory of adaptive behavior dynamics was tested by studying the behavior of artificial organisms (AOs) animated by the theory, working on concurrent ratio schedules with unequal and equal ratios in the components. The evolutionary theory implements Darwinian rules of selection, reproduction, and mutation in the form of a genetic algorithm that causes a population of potential behaviors to evolve under the selection pressure of consequences from the environment. On concurrent ratio schedules with unequal ratios in the components, the AOs tended to respond exclusively on the component with the smaller ratio, provided that ratio was not too large and the difference between the ratios was not too small. On concurrent ratio schedules with equal ratios in the components, the AOs tended to respond exclusively on one component, provided the equal ratios were not too large. In addition, the AOs' preference on the latter schedules adjusted rapidly when the equal ratios were changed between conditions, but their steady‐state preference was a continuous function of the value of the equal ratios. Most of these outcomes are consistent with the results of experiments with live organisms, and consequently support the evolutionary theory. - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, EarlyView.
    September 08, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.468   open full text
  • Issue Information.

    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 05, 2018
    --- - - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Volume 110, Issue 2, September 2018.
    September 05, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.467   open full text
  • Equivalence class formation as a function of preliminary training with pictorial stimuli.
    Erik Arntzen, Richard K. Nartey.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 05, 2018
    --- - |2 The present experiment investigated the effects of preliminary training with pictorial stimuli on the subsequent formation of three 5‐member equivalence classes (A➔B➔C➔D➔E) in 84 university students assigned to seven groups of 12. In the Abstract (ABS) group, all stimuli were abstract shapes. In the Picture (PIC) group, the C stimuli were pictures, and the remaining stimuli were the same abstract shapes as in the ABS group. For the remaining five groups, all stimuli were the same abstract shapes as in the ABS group. However, across groups, preliminary training involved either the establishment of conditional relations with simultaneous (SMTS) or delayed (DMTS) matching‐to‐sample with 0 s, 3 s, 6 s, or 9 s between the abstract C stimuli and the meaningful pictures. For the ABS and the PIC groups, 16.7% and 83.3% of participants formed classes, respectively. Preliminary training with SMTS and DMTS with 0 s, 3 s, and 6 s produced a linear increase in the likelihood of equivalence class formation, 41.7%, 50%, and 75%, respectively. Increasing the duration of delay further from 6 s to 9 s produced a substantial decline, 50%. This experiment extends knowledge about how including meaningful pictures enhances equivalence class formation. - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Volume 110, Issue 2, Page 275-291, September 2018.
    September 05, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.466   open full text
  • Behavioral control by the response–reinforcer correlation.
    Toshikazu Kuroda, Kennon A. Lattal.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. August 03, 2018
    --- - |2 Using a discrete‐trials procedure, two experiments examined the effects of response–reinforcer correlations on responding while controlling molecular variables that operated at the moment of reinforcer delivery (e.g., response–reinforcer temporal contiguity, interresponse times preceding reinforcement). Each trial consisted of three successive components: Response, Timeout, and Reinforcement, with the duration of each component held constant. The correlation between the number of responses in the Response component and reinforcer deliveries in the Reinforcement component was varied. In the Positive‐correlation condition, a larger number of responses in the Response component programmed a higher reinforcement rate (Experiment 1) or a shorter time to reinforcement (Experiment 2) in the Reinforcement component. Although programmed in this way, the actual reinforcer delivery was dependent on, and occurred immediately after, a response in the Reinforcement component. In the Zero‐correlation condition, the programmed rates of reinforcement (Experiment 1) or the times to reinforcement (Experiment 2) in the Reinforcement component of each trial were yoked to those in the preceding Positive‐correlation condition. Responding in the Response component was higher in the Positive‐ than in the Zero‐correlation condition, without systematic changes in molecular variables. The results suggest that the response–reinforcer correlation can be a controlling variable of behavior. - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Volume 110, Issue 2, Page 185-200, September 2018.
    August 03, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.461   open full text
  • Punishment of an alternative behavior generates resurgence of a previously extinguished target behavior.
    Rafaela M. Fontes, João C. Todorov, Timothy A. Shahan.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. July 31, 2018
    --- - |2 Resurgence is often defined as the recurrence of an extinguished behavior when a more recently reinforced alternative behavior is also extinguished. Resurgence has also been observed when the alternative behavior is devalued by other means (e.g., reinforcement rate or magnitude reductions). The present study investigated whether punishment of an alternative behavior would generate resurgence. A target response was reinforced during Phase 1 and then extinguished in Phase 2 while an alternative response was reinforced. During Phase 3, response‐dependent foot shocks were superimposed on the schedule of reinforcement for the alternative response and shock intensity was escalated gradually across sessions. Resurgence of the target response was reliably observed, mostly at higher intensities. The effect was replicated in two subsequent exposures to the sequence of conditions, with resurgence tending to occur at the lowest foot shock intensity. These results suggest that devaluation of an alternative behavior via punishment can generate resurgence. Although it is difficult to reconcile the overall pattern of results with Bouton's context account, these findings are consistent with the suggestion that resurgence results from a “worsening of conditions” for the alternative behavior and with the formalization of that suggestion in terms of a choice‐based matching‐law account (i.e., Resurgence as Choice). - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Volume 110, Issue 2, Page 171-184, September 2018.
    July 31, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.465   open full text
  • Does a rat free a trapped rat due to empathy or for sociality?
    Yosuke Hachiga, Lindsay P. Schwartz, Alan Silberberg, David N. Kearns, Maria Gomez, Burton Slotnick.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. July 25, 2018
    --- - |2 This report evaluates whether a rat releasing a trapped rat from a restraint tube is better explained as due to its empathic motivation or to the pursuit of social contact. In the first condition, each of six rats chose in an E maze between entering an empty goal box versus entering a goal box where its entrance caused a rat trapped in a restraint tube to be released. Rats preferred the goal box with the trapped rat over the empty goal box. In the second condition, these rats chose between releasing a restraint‐tube‐trapped rat in one goal box and another rat in the second goal box that was not locked into its restraint tube. Rats showed no preference between alternatives. In the third condition, rats chose between a goal box containing a rat with an open restraint tube and an empty goal box. Rats preferred the rat with the open restraint tube over the empty goal box. These results support attributing the response of releasing a rat from a restraint tube to the reinforcing power of social contact rather than interpreting this response as empathically motivated. - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Volume 110, Issue 2, Page 267-274, September 2018.
    July 25, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.464   open full text
  • Stimulus contributions to operant resurgence.
    Tyler D. Nighbor, Stephanie L. Kincaid, Christopher M. O'Hearn, Kennon A. Lattal.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. July 25, 2018
    --- - |2 In two experiments, pigeons were exposed to a three‐phase resurgence procedure (train Response A; extinguish Response A and train Response B; extinguish Response B). In the first experiment, the stimuli associated with phases were different, resulting in a resurgence procedure combined with an ABC renewal procedure. Presenting the novel stimulus, C, during extinction of both responses in the third phase resulted in minimal resurgence. Subsequently, substituting the original training Stimulus A for Stimulus C resulted in resurgence with all pigeons. In the second experiment, resurgence with the same stimuli present in all three phases of the resurgence procedure (AAA) was compared concurrently with a resurgence procedure in which the ABC renewal procedure used in Experiment 1 was superimposed. Substantially more resurgence occurred with the AAA procedure compared to the ABC procedure. Although ABC renewal in combination with the resurgence procedure generated some resurgence, such recurrent responding was attenuated relative to that observed when the stimulus conditions were constant across phases. Combined with earlier research showing the enhancing effects of combining resurgence and ABA renewal procedures, the present results elaborate on how stimuli correlated with certain behavioral histories affect the course of operant resurgence. - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Volume 110, Issue 2, Page 243-251, September 2018.
    July 25, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.463   open full text
  • A laboratory model for evaluating relapse of undesirable caregiver behavior.
    Daniel R. Mitteer, Brian D. Greer, Wayne W. Fisher, Adam M. Briggs, David P. Wacker.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. July 20, 2018
    --- - |2 The success of behavioral treatments like functional communication training depends on their continued implementation outside of the clinical context, where failures in caregiver treatment adherence can lead to the relapse of destructive behavior. In the present study, we developed a laboratory model for evaluating the relapse of undesirable caregiver behavior that simulates two common sources of disruption (i.e., changes in context and in treatment efficacy) believed to affect caregiver treatment adherence using simulated confederate destructive behavior. In Phase 1, the caregiver's delivery of reinforcers for destructive behavior terminated confederate destructive behavior in a home‐like context. In Phase 2, the caregiver implemented functional communication training in a clinical context in which providing reinforcers for destructive or alternative behavior terminated confederate destructive behavior. In Phase 3, the caregiver returned to the home‐like context, and caregiver behavior produced no effect on confederate destructive or alternative behavior, simulating an inconsolable child. Undesirable caregiver behavior relapsed in three of four treatment‐adherence challenges. - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Volume 110, Issue 2, Page 252-266, September 2018.
    July 20, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.462   open full text
  • The roles of delay and probability discounting in texting while driving: Toward the development of a translational scientific program.
    Yusuke Hayashi, Heather J. Fessler, Jonathan E. Friedel, Anne M. Foreman, Oliver Wirth.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. July 20, 2018
    --- - |2 A sample of 109 college students completed a survey to assess how frequently they send or read text messages while driving. In a novel discounting task with a hypothetical scenario in which participants receive a text message while driving, they rated the likelihood of replying to a text message immediately versus waiting to reply until arriving at a destination. The scenario presented several delays to a destination and probabilities of a motor vehicle crash. The likelihood of waiting to reply decreased as a function of both the delay until the destination and the probability of a motor vehicle crash. Self‐reported higher frequencies of texting while driving were associated with greater rates of both delay and probability discounting. The degree of delay discounting was altered as a function of the probability of a motor vehicle crash and vice versa. These results suggest that both delay and probability discounting are important underlying mechanisms of drivers' decision to text while driving. - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Volume 110, Issue 2, Page 229-242, September 2018.
    July 20, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.460   open full text
  • Analysis of apparent demonstrations of responding in accordance with relational frames of sameness and opposition.
    Benigno Alonso‐Álvarez, Luis Antonio Pérez‐González.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. July 12, 2018
    --- - |2 We evaluated whether contextual control over equivalence and nonequivalence and responding by exclusion can explain the outcomes of relational frame theory (RFT) studies on sameness and opposition relations. We trained nine college students to maintain and reverse conditional discriminations with X1 and X2 as contextual stimuli. In Experiment 1, X1 and X2 controlled derived stimulus relations (DSR) analogous to those controlled by Same and Opposite in RFT studies. These results can be explained by at least two hypotheses: X1 and X2 were cues for equivalence and nonequivalence and responding by exclusion, or for sameness and opposition. In Experiment 2, X1 and X2 controlled DSR predicted by the hypothesis that they were cues for equivalence and nonequivalence and responding by exclusion, and not predicted by the hypothesis that they were cues for sameness and opposition. The results of Experiment 2 and the functional equivalence of X1 and X2 with Same and Opposite in Experiment 1 suggest that Same and Opposite were cues for equivalence and nonequivalence and responding by exclusion in RFT studies. - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Volume 110, Issue 2, Page 213-228, September 2018.
    July 12, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.458   open full text
  • Reinforcement uncertainty enhances preference for choice in humans.
    Kristen A. Rost.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. July 01, 2018
    --- - |2 Under concurrent‐chains schedules of reinforcement, participants often prefer situations that allow selection among alternatives (free choice) to situations that do not (forced choice). The present experiment examined the effects of reinforcement probability on choice preferences. Preferences for free versus forced choice were measured under a condition in which participants' choices were always reinforced (reinforcement probability of 1.0) and a condition in which outcomes were uncertain (reinforcement probability of 0.5). Forty‐four college students participated and preferences were examined under a concurrent‐chains schedule of reinforcement. Participants preferred free choice under uncertain reinforcement, but a bias toward free choice was not observed when reinforcement was certain. These results align with previous findings of preference for free choice under conditions of uncertainty, but suggest that preference may be dependent upon probabilistic reinforcement contingencies in the terminal links of the concurrent‐chains arrangement. Thus, reinforcement probability is an important variable to consider when conducting similar studies on the value of choice. - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Volume 110, Issue 2, Page 201-212, September 2018.
    July 01, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.449   open full text
  • A low‐cost platform for eye‐tracking research: Using Pupil© in behavior analysis.
    Carlos R. Picanço, François Tonneau.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. June 21, 2018
    --- - |2 Tracking eye movements is being increasingly recognized as a valuable source of information about stimulus control. So far, however, eye‐tracking research has suffered from accessibility issues, with expensive hardware and closed‐source software. In this article we review Pupil©, an eye‐tracking platform developed by Pupil Labs and that combines open‐source software with low‐cost hardware components. We offer concrete recommendations about Pupil use in stimulus‐control research and we show how the software can be extended to automatize the analysis of gaze data. Finally, we present the results of a study of visual discrimination and conditioned reinforcement conducted with Pupil, establishing the usefulness of this platform as a research tool in behavior analysis. - Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Volume 110, Issue 2, Page 157-170, September 2018.
    June 21, 2018   doi: 10.1002/jeab.448   open full text
  • Symmetry and stimulus class formation in humans: Control by temporal location in a successive matching task.
    Sarah Beurms, Frits Traets, Jan De Houwer, Tom Beckers.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. October 06, 2017
    Symmetry refers to the observation that subjects will derive B‐A (e.g., in the presence of B, select A) after being trained on A‐B (e.g., in the presence of A, select B). Whereas symmetry is readily shown in humans, it has been difficult to demonstrate in nonhuman animals. This difficulty, at least in pigeons, may result from responding to specific stimulus properties that change when sample and comparison stimuli switch roles between training and testing. In three experiments with humans, we investigated to what extent human responding is influenced by the temporal location of stimuli using a successive matching‐to‐sample procedure. Our results indicate that temporal location does not spontaneously control responding in humans, although it does in pigeons. Therefore, the number of functional stimuli that humans respond to in this procedure may be half of the number of functional stimuli that the pigeons respond to. In a fourth experiment, we tested this assumption by doubling the number of functional stimuli controlling responding in human participants in an attempt to make the test more comparable to symmetry tests with pigeons. Here, we found that humans responded according to indirect class formation in the same manner as pigeons do. In sum, our results indicate that functional symmetry is readily observed in humans, even in cases where the temporal features of the stimuli prevent functional symmetry in pigeons. We argue that this difference in behavior between the two species does not necessarily reflect a difference in capacity to show functional symmetry between both species, but could also reflect a difference in the functional stimuli each species responds to.
    October 06, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.282   open full text
  • The effects of fixed‐interval schedules on variability of pigeons' pecking location.
    Masanori Kono.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 20, 2017
    Many studies that have investigated performance under reinforcement schedules have measured response rate or interresponse time, which reflect the temporal dimension of responding; however, relatively few studies have examined other dimensions. The present study investigated the effects of fixed‐interval schedules on the location of pigeons' pecking response. A circular response area 22.4 cm in diameter was used so that the pecking responses were effective over a wide range. Pigeons were exposed to a fixed‐interval schedule whose requirement was systematically varied between conditions. Response location moved closer to the location of the last reinforced response as time elapsed in each trial. Additionally, as the fixed‐interval duration requirement increased, response locations shifted to the border of the response area and the variability of response locations increased. These results suggest that fixed‐interval schedules systematically control response location.
    September 20, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.276   open full text
  • Delay discounting as impaired valuation: Delayed rewards in an animal obesity model.
    David P. Jarmolowicz, Jennifer L. Hudnall, Luanne Hale, Stephen C. Fowler, Marco Bortolato, Shea M. Lemley, Michael J. Sofis.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 20, 2017
    Obesity is a major public health problem, which, like many forms of addiction, is associated with an elevated tendency to choose smaller immediate rather than larger delayed rewards, a response pattern often referred to as excessive delay discounting. Although some accounts of delay discounting conceptualize this process as impulsivity (placing the emphasis on overvaluing the smaller immediate reward), others have conceptualized delay discounting as an executive function (placing the emphasis on delayed rewards failing to retain their value). The present experiments used a popular animal model of obesity that has been shown to discount delayed rewards at elevated rates (i.e., obese Zucker rats) to test two predictions that conceptualize delay discounting as executive function. In the first experiment, acquisition of lever pressing with delayed rewards was compared in obese versus lean Zucker rats. Contrary to predictions based on delay discounting as executive function, obese Zucker rats learned to press the lever more quickly than controls. In the second experiment, progressive ratio breakpoints (a measure of reward efficacy) with delayed rewards were compared in obese versus lean Zucker rats. Contrary to the notion that obese rats fail to value delayed rewards, the obese Zucker rats' breakpoints were (at least) as high as those of the lean Zucker rats.
    September 20, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.275   open full text
  • Dogs don't always prefer their owners and can quickly form strong preferences for certain strangers over others.
    Erica N. Feuerbacher, Clive D. L. Wynne.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 04, 2017
    The unique relationship between dog and owner has been demonstrated in several experimental procedures, including tests in which dogs are left alone or with a stranger, tests of dogs’ appeasement or social approach when petted by their owner or a stranger, and their ability to learn when taught by their owner or a stranger. In all cases, dogs responded differently to their owner, which has been referred to as a specific attachment, and likely a product of a prolonged history of reinforcement. In the current study, we used a concurrent choice paradigm in which dogs could interact with two people, both of whom provided the same petting interaction, to test whether owned dogs would prefer their owner over a stranger and whether the familiarity of the testing context would influence preference. We also investigated whether shelter and owned dogs tested with two strangers would show a preference between strangers and whether that preference would be similar in magnitude to any preference between the owner and stranger. Owned dogs preferred to interact with their owners when in an unfamiliar context, but allocated more time to the stranger in a familiar context. Both shelter and owned dogs tested with two strangers showed a magnitude of preference for one stranger over the other similar to owned dogs’ preference for owners in an unfamiliar context. These results parallel what has been found in strange situation tests with owned dogs tested with their owners, but the strength of preference shown for one of two strangers indicates dogs can form a preference for one person quickly.
    September 04, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.280   open full text
  • Training intraverbal bidirectional naming to establish generalized equivalence class performances.
    Adrienne M. Jennings, Caio F. Miguel.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. August 29, 2017
    The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of tact and intraverbal training on the establishment of generalized equivalence classes. Seventeen college students were exposed to tact training, listener testing, and intraverbal training (A'B’ and B'C’) in two experiments. Visual–visual matching‐to‐sample and intraverbal tests measured performances consistent with the formation of equivalence classes. Generalization was assessed with four novel sets of stimuli. In the second experiment, matching‐to‐sample tests for baseline relations (AB, BC) were eliminated to control for the possibility that equivalence classes were developed through exposure to these visual stimulus–stimulus relations. Thirteen of 17 participants passed all matching‐to‐sample and intraverbal posttests. Results suggest that when trained and emergent intraverbal relations were not maintained or were faulty, participants did not respond correctly during matching‐to‐sample posttests.
    August 29, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.277   open full text
  • Reinforcement value and fixed‐interval performance.
    Jonathan Buriticá, Cristiano V. dos Santos.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. August 29, 2017
    The concept of reinforcement value summarizes the effect of different variables, such as reinforcement delay, reinforcement magnitude, and deprivation level, on behavior. In the present set of experiments, we evaluated the effect of reinforcement devaluation on performance under FI schedules. The literature on timing and reinforcement value suggests that devaluation generates longer expected times to reinforcement than the same intervals trained under control conditions. We devalued reinforcement with delay in Experiments 1A, 1B, and 2, and diminished deprivation in Experiments 3A and 3B. Devaluation reduced response rates, increased the number of one‐response intervals, and lengthened postreinforcement pauses, but had inconsistent effects on other timing measures such as quarter life and breakpoint. The results of delayed reinforcement and diminished deprivation manipulations are well summarized as reinforcement devaluation effects. These results suggest that devaluation may reduce stimulus control. In addition, we argue that the process by which delayed reinforcement affects behavior might also explain some effects observed in other devaluation procedures through the concept of reinforcement value.
    August 29, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.279   open full text
  • Stimuli previously associated with reinforcement mitigate resurgence.
    Andrew R. Craig, Kaitlyn O. Browning, Timothy A. Shahan.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. August 29, 2017
    Resurgence refers to the recurrence of an extinguished target behavior following subsequent suspension of alternative reinforcement. Delivery of reinforcers during extinction of alternative behavior has been shown to mitigate resurgence. The present experiment aimed to determine whether delivering stimuli associated with reinforcers during resurgence testing similarly mitigates resurgence. Three groups of rats pressed target levers for food according to variable‐interval 15‐s schedules during Phase 1. In Phase 2, lever pressing was extinguished, and an alternative nose‐poke response produced alternative reinforcement according to a variable‐interval 15‐s schedule. Food reinforcement was always associated with illumination of the food aperture and an audible click from the pellet dispenser during Phases 1 and 2. Phase 3 treatments differed between groups. For one group, nose poking continued to produce food and food‐correlated stimuli. Both of these consequences were suspended for a second group. Finally, nose poking produced food‐correlated stimuli but not food for a third group. Target‐lever pressing resurged in the group that received no consequences and in the group that received only food‐correlated stimuli for nose poking. Resurgence, however, was smaller for the group that received food‐correlated stimuli than for the group that received no consequences for nose poking. Target‐lever pressing did not increase between phases in the group that continued to receive food and associated stimuli. Thus, delivery of stimuli associated with food reinforcement after suspension of food reduced but did not eliminate resurgence of extinguished lever pressing. These findings contribute to potential methodologies for preventing relapse of extinguished problem behavior in clinical settings.
    August 29, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.278   open full text
  • Response–reinforcer dependency and resistance to change.
    Carlos R. X. Cançado, Josele Abreu‐Rodrigues, Raquel Moreira Aló, Flávia Hauck, Adam H. Doughty.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. August 17, 2017
    The effects of the response–reinforcer dependency on resistance to change were studied in three experiments with rats. In Experiment 1, lever pressing produced reinforcers at similar rates after variable interreinforcer intervals in each component of a two‐component multiple schedule. Across conditions, in the fixed component, all reinforcers were response‐dependent; in the alternative component, the percentage of response‐dependent reinforcers was 100, 50 (i.e., 50% response‐dependent and 50% response‐independent) or 10% (i.e., 10% response‐dependent and 90% response‐independent). Resistance to extinction was greater in the alternative than in the fixed component when the dependency in the former was 10%, but was similar between components when this dependency was 100 or 50%. In Experiment 2, a three‐component multiple schedule was used. The dependency was 100% in one component and 10% in the other two. The 10% components differed on how reinforcers were programmed. In one component, as in Experiment 1, a reinforcer had to be collected before the scheduling of other response‐dependent or independent reinforcers. In the other component, response‐dependent and ‐independent reinforcers were programmed by superimposing a variable‐time schedule on an independent variable‐interval schedule. Regardless of the procedure used to program the dependency, resistance to extinction was greater in the 10% components than in the 100% component. These results were replicated in Experiment 3 in which, instead of extinction, VT schedules replaced the baseline schedules in each multiple‐schedule component during the test. We argue that the relative change in dependency from Baseline to Test, which is greater when baseline dependencies are high rather than low, could account for the differential resistance to change in the present experiments. The inconsistencies in results across the present and previous experiments suggest that the effects of dependency on resistance to change are not well understood. Additional systematic analyses are important to further understand the effects of the response–reinforcer relation on resistance to change and to the development of a more comprehensive theory of behavioral persistence.
    August 17, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.274   open full text
  • Are behaviors at one alternative in concurrent schedules independent of contingencies at the other alternative?
    James S. MacDonall.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. August 14, 2017
    Some have reported changing the schedule at one alternative of a concurrent schedule changed responding at the other alternative (Catania, 1969), which seems odd because no contingencies were changed there. When concurrent schedules are programmed using two schedules, one associated with each alternative that operate continuously, changing the schedule at one alternative also changes the switch schedule at the other alternative. Thus, changes in responding at the constant alternative could be due to the change in the switch schedule. To assess this possibility, six rats were exposed to a series of conditions that alternated between pairs of interval schedules at both alternatives and a pair of interval schedules at one, constant, alternative and a pair of extinction schedules at the other alternative. Comparing run lengths, visit durations and response rates at the constant alternative in the alternating conditions did not show consistent increases and decreases when a strict criterion for changes was used. Using a less stringent definition (any change in mean values) showed changes. The stay/switch analysis suggests it may be inaccurate to apply behavioral contrast to procedures that change from concurrent variable‐interval variable‐interval schedules to concurrent variable‐interval extinction schedules because the contingencies in neither alternative are constant.
    August 14, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.271   open full text
  • Generalization of the disruptive effects of alternative stimuli when combined with target stimuli in extinction.
    Christopher A. Podlesnik, Ludmila Miranda‐Dukoski, C. K. Jonas Chan, Vikki J. Bland, John Y. H. Bai.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. August 03, 2017
    Differential‐reinforcement treatments reduce target problem behavior in the short term but at the expense of making it more persistent long term. Basic and translational research based on behavioral momentum theory suggests that combining features of stimuli governing an alternative response with the stimuli governing target responding could make target responding less persistent. However, changes to the alternative stimulus context when combining alternative and target stimuli could diminish the effectiveness of the alternative stimulus in reducing target responding. In an animal model with pigeons, the present study reinforced responding in the presence of target and alternative stimuli. When combining the alternative and target stimuli during extinction, we altered the alternative stimulus through changes in line orientation. We found that (1) combining alternative and target stimuli in extinction more effectively decreased target responding than presenting the target stimulus on its own; (2) combining these stimuli was more effective in decreasing target responding trained with lower reinforcement rates; and (3) changing the alternative stimulus reduced its effectiveness when it was combined with the target stimulus. Therefore, changing alternative stimuli (e.g., therapist, clinical setting) during behavioral treatments that combine alternative and target stimuli could reduce the effectiveness of those treatments in disrupting problem behavior.
    August 03, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.272   open full text
  • Searching for the variables that control human rule‐governed “insensitivity”.
    Adam E. Fox, Elizabeth G. E. Kyonka.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. August 03, 2017
    Verbal rules or instructions often exert obvious and meaningful control over human behavior. Sometimes instructions benefit the individual by enabling faster acquisition of a skill or by obviating an aversive consequence. However, research has also suggested a clear disadvantage: “insensitivity” to changing underlying contingencies. The two experiments described here investigated the variables that control initial rule‐following behavior and rule‐following insensitivity. When the initial rule was inaccurate, behavior was consistent with the rule for approximately half of participants and all participants' behavior was mostly insensitive to changing contingencies. When the initial rule was accurate, behavior of all participants was consistent with it and behavior for nearly all participants was insensitive to changes in underlying contingencies. These findings have implications for how best to establish and maintain rule‐following behavior in applied settings when deviant behavior would be more reinforcing to the individual.
    August 03, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.270   open full text
  • Is talking to yourself thinking?
    Howard Rachlin.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. August 03, 2017
    The question whether talking to yourself is thinking is considered from two viewpoints: radical behaviorism and teleological behaviorism. For radical behaviorism, following Skinner (1945), mental events such as ‘thinking’ may be explained in terms of private behavior occurring within the body, ordinarily unobservable by other people; thus, radical behaviorism may identify talking to yourself with thinking. However, to be consistent with its basic principles, radical behaviorism must hold that private behavior, hence thinking, is identical with covert muscular, speech movements (rather than proprioception of those movements). For teleological behaviorism, following Skinner (1938), all mental terms, including ‘thinking,’ stand for abstract, temporally extended patterns of overt behavior. Thus, for teleological behaviorism, talking to yourself, covert by definition, cannot be thinking.
    August 03, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.273   open full text
  • Choosing among multiple alternatives: Relative and overall reinforcer rates.
    Emma Beeby, Brent Alsop.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. July 31, 2017
    Choice behavior among two alternatives has been widely researched, but fewer studies have examined the effect of multiple (more than two) alternatives on choice. Two experiments investigated whether changing the overall reinforcer rate affected preference among three and four concurrently scheduled alternatives. Experiment 1 trained six pigeons on concurrent schedules with three alternatives available simultaneously. These alternatives arranged reinforcers in a ratio of 9:3:1 with the configuration counterbalanced across pigeons. The overall rate of reinforcement was varied across conditions. Preference between the pair of keys arranging the 9:3 reinforcer ratio was less extreme than the pair arranging the 3:1 reinforcer ratio regardless of overall reinforcer rate. This difference was attributable to the richer alternative receiving fewer responses per reinforcer than the other alternatives. Experiment 2 trained pigeons on concurrent schedules with four alternatives available simultaneously. These alternatives arranged reinforcers in a ratio of 8:4:2:1, and the overall reinforcer rate was varied. Next, two of the alternatives were put into extinction and the random interval duration was changed from 60 s to 5 s. The ratio of absolute response rates was independent of interval length across all conditions. In both experiments, an analysis of sequences of visits following each reinforcer showed that the pigeons typically made their first response to the richer alternative irrespective of which alternative was just reinforced. Performance on these three‐ and four‐alternative concurrent schedules is not easily extrapolated from corresponding research using two‐alternative concurrent schedules.
    July 31, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.269   open full text
  • Control by past and present stimuli depends on the discriminated reinforcer differential.
    Sarah Cowie, Michael Davison, Douglas Elliffe.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. July 23, 2017
    The extent to which a stimulus exerts control over behavior depends largely on its informativeness. However, when reinforcers have discriminative properties, they often exert less control over behavior than do other less reliable stimuli such as elapsed time. We investigated why less reliable cues in the present often overshadow stimulus control by more reliable cues presented in the recent past, by manipulating the reliability and duration of stimulus presentations. Five pigeons worked on a modified concurrent schedule in which the location of the response that produced the last reinforcer was a discriminative stimulus for the likely time and location of the next reinforcer. In some conditions, either the location of the previous reinforcer, or the location of the next reinforcer, was signaled by a red key light. This stimulus was either Brief, occurring for 10 s starting a fixed time after the most recent reinforcer, or Extended, being present at all times between food deliveries. Brief and Extended stimuli that signaled the same information had a similar effect on choice when they were present, but control by Brief stimuli weakened as time since stimulus offset elapsed. Control was divided among stimuli in the present and recent past according to the apparent reliability of the information signaled about the next reinforcer. More reliable stimuli in the present degraded, but did not erase, control by less reliable stimuli presented in the recent past. Thus, we conclude that less reliable stimuli in the present control behavior to a greater degree than do more reliable stimuli in the recent past because these more reliable stimuli are forgotten, and hence their relation to the likely availability of food cannot be discriminated.
    July 23, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.268   open full text
  • Discounting: A practical guide to multilevel analysis of indifference data.
    Michael E. Young.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. July 12, 2017
    Multilevel modeling provides the ability to simultaneously evaluate the discounting of individuals and groups using indifference point data. After considering the conditions when weaknesses emerge in estimating individual discounting as a prelude to estimating group discounting, examples are provided that indicate that multilevel modeling improves estimation in the presence of variability and missing data, and when trying to fit two‐parameter discounting functions. Concrete examples of how to fit nonlinear multilevel models are provided to help researchers in the adoption of these methods.
    July 12, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.265   open full text
  • Aversive functions of response effort: Fact or artifact?
    Jonathan W. Pinkston, Benjamin M. Libman.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. July 12, 2017
    Historically, effort has been viewed as aversive. Most supporting evidence comes from studies demonstrating increased force/effort requirements reduce operant responding. Changes in force/effort requirements, however, are often accompanied by changes in response definition when mechanical devices are used to define the response. As a consequence, responses measured at one point in a study may go unmeasured at other points. In an alternative approach, we used a continuous measurement strategy that provided a means to fix the threshold force defining the response class and simultaneously allowed independent manipulation of the force criteria required to produce reinforcement. Rats pressed a force transducer according to a fixed‐ratio 5 schedule of food delivery. The criterion force was systematically increased and decreased; the threshold for response detection was constant. When response rates included only criterion responses, overall rate decreased when force requirements increased. By contrast, when all responses, both those meeting force criteria and those that did not (above the threshold but below the criteria for reinforcement) were included in the rate calculation, increases in force increased response rate. Increases in force criteria also increased the maximum force (g) and time‐integral of force (g‐s) of operant behavior. Control conditions showed increases in responding could be explained by the emergence of subcriterion responses, irrespective of force. We conclude that prior results showing effort decreases response rates are due to an artifact arising from inadvertent changes in response definitions. Increases in effort may better be understood as changes in the response:reinforcer payoff owing to the emergence of a subcriterion response class.
    July 12, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.264   open full text
  • A method for detailed movement pattern analysis of tadpole startle response.
    Kasra Zarei, Karen L. Elliott, Sanam Zarei, Bernd Fritzsch, James H. J. Buchholz.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. June 27, 2017
    Prolonged space flight, specifically microgravity, presents a problem for space exploration. Animal models with altered connections of the vestibular ear, and thus altered gravity sensation, would allow the examination of the effects of microgravity and how various countermeasures can establish normal function. We describe an experimental apparatus to monitor the effects of ear manipulations to generate asymmetric gravity input on the tadpole escape response. To perform the movement pattern analysis, an imaging apparatus was developed that uses a high‐speed camera to obtain time‐resolved, high‐resolution images of tadpole movements. Movements were recorded in a temperature‐controlled test chamber following mechanical stimulation with a solenoid actuator, to elicit a C‐start response. Temperature within the test cell was controlled with a recirculating water bath. Xenopus laevis embryos were obtained using a standard fertilization technique. Tadpole response to a controlled perturbation was recorded in unprecedented detail and the approach was validated by describing the distinct differences in response between normal and one‐eared tadpoles. The experimental apparatus and methods form an important element of a rigorous investigation into the response of the tadpole vestibular system to mechanical and biochemical manipulations, and can ultimately contribute to improved understanding of the effects of altered gravity perception on humans.
    June 27, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.263   open full text
  • Theoretical implications of quantitative properties of interval timing and probability estimation in mouse and rat.
    Aaron Kheifets, David Freestone, C.R. Gallistel.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. June 27, 2017
    In three experiments with mice ( Mus musculus ) and rats (Rattus norvigicus), we used a switch paradigm to measure quantitative properties of the interval‐timing mechanism. We found that: 1) Rodents adjusted the precision of their timed switches in response to changes in the interval between the short and long feed latencies (the temporal goalposts). 2) The variability in the timing of the switch response was reduced or unchanged in the face of large trial‐to‐trial random variability in the short and long feed latencies. 3) The adjustment in the distribution of switch latencies in response to changes in the relative frequency of short and long trials was sensitive to the asymmetry in the Kullback–Leibler divergence. The three results suggest that durations are represented with adjustable precision, that they are timed by multiple timers, and that there is a trial‐by‐trial (episodic) record of feed latencies in memory.
    June 27, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.261   open full text
  • How do reinforcers affect choice? Preference pulses after responses and reinforcers.
    Stephanie Gomes‐Ng, Douglas Elliffe, Sarah Cowie.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. June 01, 2017
    In concurrent schedules, reinforcers are often followed by a brief period of heightened preference for the just‐productive alternative. Such ‘preference pulses’ may reflect local effects of reinforcers on choice. However, similar pulses may occur after nonreinforced responses, suggesting that pulses after reinforcers are partly unrelated to reinforcer effects. McLean, Grace, Pitts, and Hughes (2014) recommended subtracting preference pulses after responses from preference pulses after reinforcers, to construct residual pulses that represent only reinforcer effects. Thus, a reanalysis of existing choice data is necessary to determine whether changes in choice after reinforcers in previous experiments were actually related to reinforcers. In the present paper, we reanalyzed data from choice experiments in which reinforcers served different functions. We compared local choice, mean visit length, and visit‐length distributions after reinforcers and after nonreinforced responses. Our reanalysis demonstrated the utility of McLean et al.'s preference‐pulse correction for determining the effects of reinforcers on choice. However, visit analyses revealed that residual pulses may not accurately represent reinforcer effects, and reinforcer effects were clearer in visit analyses than in local‐choice analyses. The best way to determine the effects of reinforcers on choice may be to conduct visit analyses in addition to local‐choice analyses.
    June 01, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.260   open full text
  • Failure to find a distance effect in pigeon choice.
    Matthew C. Bell, Federico Sanabria.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. May 24, 2017
    Primates take longer to choose between alternatives with smaller differences in value. This effect—a particular instance of the distance effect in symbolic comparisons—has not been replicated in birds. Instead, birds appear to respond independently to each alternative, such that the latency to choose depends primarily on the alternative of highest value. Three experiments tested for the distance effect in pigeons under conditions not previously considered. Experiment 1 presented pigeons with forced‐ and binary free‐choice trials, where each alternative was one of three possible delays to reinforcement (4, 8, and 16 s). Pigeons were exposed to the choice stimuli for different amounts of time and with different sample response requirements prior to the choice response. Experiment 2 added a fourth (0‐s delay) alternative. Experiment 3 substituted the 16‐s delay with a second 4‐s delay. In all experiments, pigeons systematically chose the shortest delay to reinforcement. Latency to choose the 4‐s delay did not vary when choosing against the 8‐s or 16‐s delay, regardless of whether choice stimuli were exposed for the duration of nine pecks (Experiment 1), or whether a 0‐s delay alternative was sometimes present (Experiment 2). Latency to choose the preferred of two identical alternatives (4‐s vs. 4‐s) was shorter than the latency to choose between different alternatives (4‐s vs. 8‐s; Experiment 3); this is the opposite of a distance effect. These results show no evidence of a distance effect in pigeon choice, consistent with the hypothesis that pigeons respond independently to each choice alternative.
    May 24, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.259   open full text
  • Choice among two and three alternatives.
    Emma Beeby, Brent Alsop.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. May 18, 2017
    Although choice between two alternatives has been widely researched, fewer studies have examined choice across multiple (more than two) alternatives. Past models of choice behavior predict that the number of alternatives should not affect relative response allocation, but more recent research has found violations of this principle. Five pigeons were presented with three concurrently scheduled alternatives. Relative reinforcement rates across these alternatives were assigned 9:3:1. In some conditions three keys were available; in others, only two keys were available. The number of available alternatives did not affect relative response rates for pairs of alternatives; there were no significant differences in behavior between the two and three key conditions. For two birds in the three‐alternative conditions and three birds in the two‐alternative conditions, preference was more extreme for the pair of alternatives with the lower overall pairwise reinforcer rate (3:1) than the pair with higher overall reinforcer rate (9:3). However, when responding during the changeover was removed three birds showed the opposite pattern in the three‐alternative conditions; preference was more extreme for the pair of alternatives with the higher overall reinforcer rate. These findings differ from past research and do not support established theories of choice behavior.
    May 18, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.258   open full text
  • Selection by consequences, behavioral evolution, and the price equation.
    William M. Baum.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. May 18, 2017
    Price’s equation describes evolution across time in simple mathematical terms. Although it is not a theory, but a derived identity, it is useful as an analytical tool. It affords lucid descriptions of genetic evolution, cultural evolution, and behavioral evolution (often called “selection by consequences”) at different levels (e.g., individual vs. group) and at different time scales (local and extended). The importance of the Price equation for behavior analysis lies in its ability to precisely restate selection by consequences, thereby restating, or even replacing, the law of effect. Beyond this, the equation may be useful whenever one regards ontogenetic behavioral change as evolutionary change, because it describes evolutionary change in abstract, general terms. As an analytical tool, the behavioral Price equation is an excellent aid in understanding how behavior changes within organisms’ lifetimes. For example, it illuminates evolution of response rate, analyses of choice in concurrent schedules, negative contingencies, and dilemmas of self‐control.
    May 18, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.256   open full text
  • The discounting model selector: Statistical software for delay discounting applications.
    Shawn P. Gilroy, Christopher T. Franck, Donald A. Hantula.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. May 03, 2017
    Original, open‐source computer software was developed and validated against established delay discounting methods in the literature. The software executed approximate Bayesian model selection methods from user‐supplied temporal discounting data and computed the effective delay 50 (ED50) from the best performing model. Software was custom‐designed to enable behavior analysts to conveniently apply recent statistical methods to temporal discounting data with the aid of a graphical user interface (GUI). The results of independent validation of the approximate Bayesian model selection methods indicated that the program provided results identical to that of the original source paper and its methods. Monte Carlo simulation (n = 50,000) confirmed that true model was selected most often in each setting. Simulation code and data for this study were posted to an online repository for use by other researchers. The model selection approach was applied to three existing delay discounting data sets from the literature in addition to the data from the source paper. Comparisons of model selected ED50 were consistent with traditional indices of discounting. Conceptual issues related to the development and use of computer software by behavior analysts and the opportunities afforded by free and open‐sourced software are discussed and a review of possible expansions of this software are provided.
    May 03, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.257   open full text
  • Contributions of peter B. Dews (1922‐2012) to the experimental analysis of behavior.
    W. H. Morse.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. May 03, 2017
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    May 03, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.253   open full text
  • Noncontingent reinforcement competes with response performance.
    Michael E. Kelley, Cy B. Nadler, Catalina Rey, Sarah Cowie, Christopher A. Podlesnik.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. April 28, 2017
    Noncontingent reinforcement is a commonly used procedure to decrease levels of problem behavior. Goals of this intervention are to decrease motivation, responding, and the functional relation between behavior and consequences, but it could also possibly compete with performance of alternative desirable responses. In the current study, we assessed the effects of noncontingent reinforcement arranged from 0% to 100% of sessions on performance of alternative responding across two experiments. Experiment 1 assessed manding (i.e., requests) maintained by attention and tangibles with a child with developmental disabilities and Experiment 2 assessed keypecking maintained by food with six pigeons. We extended previous research by (a) showing that noncontingent reinforcement competes with both the acquisition and maintenance (performance) of an alternative response, (b) extending the generality of the findings across nonhuman and human participants, and (c) eliminating influence of sequence effects through random manipulations of noncontingent value in pigeons. Overall, greater amounts of noncontingent reinforcement competed with both acquisition and maintenance of alternative responding.
    April 28, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.255   open full text
  • The effects of 100 dB 1‐kHz and 22‐kHz tones as punishers on lever pressing in rats.
    Jonathan E. Friedel, William B. DeHart, Amy L. Odum.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. April 28, 2017
    Aversive control is an important yet understudied process of learning. One reason aversive control may be relatively understudied is ethical concerns about painful stimuli (e.g., electric shock). High decibel broad‐band noise and 22‐kHz vocalizations both demonstrably affect rodent behavior while not necessarily being painful. The goal of this study was to determine if 100‐dB 22‐kHz‐pure tones were differentially more effective in reducing operant response rates in rats. We examined whether 22‐kHz pure tones would function as aversive stimuli, specifically as positive punishers. The effects of response‐dependent as well as continuously presented 22‐kHz and 1‐kHz tones on rate of response maintained by variable interval 30‐s food deliveries were assessed across several conditions. We found that response rates were lower when tones were presented response dependently than when tones were presented continuously throughout a session. We also found that the lower response rates obtained with response‐dependent 22‐kHz tones were not significantly different from response rates obtained with response‐dependent 1‐kHz tones. The primary conclusion of this experiment is that both 1‐kHz and 22‐kHz tones functioned as punishers, but that the 22‐kHz tones were not differentially more effective in reducing response rate.
    April 28, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.254   open full text
  • Allocation of speech in conversation.
    Carsta Simon, William M. Baum.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. March 22, 2017
    In a replication and extension of Conger and Killeen's (1974) widely cited demonstration of matching in conversations, we evaluated nine participants’ allocation of speech and gaze to two conversational partners. German speakers participated in two 90‐min sessions in which confederates uttered approval on independent variable‐interval schedules. In one of the sessions, confederates uttered approval contingent upon and contiguous with eye contact whereas in the other session approval was uttered independent of the participant's gaze. Several measures of participants’ verbal behavior were taken, including relative duration and rate of speech and gaze. These were compared to confederates’ relative rate of approval and relative duration and rate of talk. The generalized matching equation was fitted to the various relations between participants’ behavior and confederates’ behavior. Conger and Killeen's results were not replicated; participants’ response allocation did not show a systematic relation to the confederates’ relative rate of approval. The strongest relations were to overall talk, rather than approval. In both conditions, the participant talked more to the confederate who talked less—inverse or antimatching. Participants’ gaze showed the same inverse relation to the confederates’ talk. Requiring gaze to be directed toward a confederate for delivery of approval made no difference in the results. The absence of a difference combined with prior research suggests that matching or antimatching in conversations is more likely due to induction than to reinforcement.
    March 22, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.249   open full text
  • Arbitrarily applicable spatial relational responding.
    Richard J. May, Ian Stewart, Luisa Baez, Gary Freegard, Simon Dymond.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. March 22, 2017
    Spatial reasoning, where novel spatial relationships are inferred based on trained relationships, can be conceptualized as arbitrarily applicable spatial relational responding. Here, we conducted two experiments to develop and validate, for the first time, a laboratory procedure to establish arbitrarily applicable spatial relational responding in adult humans. In Experiment 1, participants were trained on nonarbitrary spatial relational tasks designed to establish contextual cues for left of, right of, above, and below. Contextual cues were then used to train a series of arbitrary spatial relations involving four abstract shapes. Following training in a subset of arbitrary relations (A is left of B, B is above C, C is right of D), subsequent testing examined the emergence of untrained spatial relations (B is right of A, C is below B, D is left of C, D is below A and A is above D). When absent in initial tests, spatial relational responding was facilitated by a remedial training procedure incorporating nonarbitrary relational guidance. Participants showed patterns of spatial relational responding consistent with test relations. In Experiment 2, a variant reversal design yielded predictable, reversed spatial relational responses. Overall, the present procedures represent the first empirical demonstration of arbitrarily applicable spatial relational responding and thus, arguably, the first functional analytic model of spatial reasoning.
    March 22, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.250   open full text
  • Behavior analysis and neuroscience: Complementary disciplines.
    John W. Donahoe.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. March 16, 2017
    Behavior analysis and neuroscience are disciplines in their own right but are united in that both are subfields of a common overarching field—biology. What most fundamentally unites these disciplines is a shared commitment to selectionism, the Darwinian mode of explanation. In selectionism, the order and complexity observed in nature are seen as the cumulative products of selection processes acting over time on a population of variants—favoring some and disfavoring others—with the affected variants contributing to the population on which future selections operate. In the case of behavior analysis, the central selection process is selection by reinforcement; in neuroscience it is natural selection. The two selection processes are inter‐related in that selection by reinforcement is itself the product of natural selection. The present paper illustrates the complementary nature of behavior analysis and neuroscience through considering their joint contributions to three central problem areas: reinforcement—including conditioned reinforcement, stimulus control—including equivalence classes, and memory—including reminding and remembering.
    March 16, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.251   open full text
  • How different is a 3D‐printed replica from a conspecific in the eyes of a zebrafish?
    Tommaso Ruberto, Giovanni Polverino, Maurizio Porfiri.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. February 22, 2017
    Robotics is emerging as a promising tool for aiding research on animal behavior. The possibility of generating customizable, controllable, and standardized robotic stimuli has been demonstrated through a number of behavioral assays, involving vertebrates and invertebrates. However, the specific appraisal of the nature of robotic stimuli is currently lacking. Here, we attempt to evaluate this aspect in zebrafish, through a within‐subject design in which experimental subjects are faced with three experimental conditions. In the first test, we investigated sociability by measuring zebrafish response to a conspecific separated by a one‐way glass. In the second test, we studied zebrafish behavior in response to a 3D‐printed zebrafish replica actuated along realistic trajectories through a novel four‐degree‐of‐freedom robotic platform. Last, we investigated fear responses in a shelter‐seeking test. In agreement with our expectations, zebrafish exhibited an equivalent preference for live and robotic stimuli, and the degree of preference for the robotic replica correlated negatively with the individual propensity to seek shelter. The equivalent preference for the replica and conspecific suggests that the appraisal of the target stimuli is analogous. The preliminary evidence of a correlation between behavioral responses across tests points to the readability of robotics‐based approaches to investigate interindividual differences.
    February 22, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.247   open full text
  • Behavioral effects of delayed timeouts from reinforcement.
    Tom Byrne, Alan Poling.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. February 14, 2017
    Timeouts are sometimes used in applied settings to reduce target responses, and in some circumstances delays are unavoidably imposed between the onset of a timeout and the offset of the response that produces it. The present study examined the effects of signaled and unsignaled timeouts in rats exposed to concurrent fixed‐ratio 1 fixed‐ratio 1 schedules of food delivery, where each response on one lever, the location of which changed across conditions, produced both food and a delayed 10‐s timeout. Delays of 0 to 38 s were examined. Delayed timeouts often, but not always, substantially reduced the number of responses emitted on the lever that produced timeouts relative to the number emitted on the lever that did not produce timeouts. In general, greater sensitivity was observed to delayed timeouts when they were signaled. These results demonstrate that delayed timeouts, like other delayed consequences, can affect behavior, albeit less strongly than immediate consequences.
    February 14, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.246   open full text
  • Resurgence and alternative‐reinforcer magnitude.
    Andrew R. Craig, Kaitlyn O. Browning, Rusty W. Nall, Ciara M. Marshall, Timothy A. Shahan.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. February 14, 2017
    Resurgence is defined as an increase in the frequency of a previously reinforced target response when an alternative source of reinforcement is suspended. Despite an extensive body of research examining factors that affect resurgence, the effects of alternative‐reinforcer magnitude have not been examined. Thus, the present experiments aimed to fill this gap in the literature. In Experiment 1, rats pressed levers for single‐pellet reinforcers during Phase 1. In Phase 2, target‐lever pressing was extinguished, and alternative‐lever pressing produced either five‐pellet, one‐pellet, or no alternative reinforcement. In Phase 3, alternative reinforcement was suspended to test for resurgence. Five‐pellet alternative reinforcement produced faster elimination and greater resurgence of target‐lever pressing than one‐pellet alternative reinforcement. In Experiment 2, effects of decreasing alternative‐reinforcer magnitude on resurgence were examined. Rats pressed levers and pulled chains for six‐pellet reinforcers during Phases 1 and 2, respectively. In Phase 3, alternative reinforcement was decreased to three pellets for one group, one pellet for a second group, and suspended altogether for a third group. Shifting from six‐pellet to one‐pellet alternative reinforcement produced as much resurgence as suspending alternative reinforcement altogether, while shifting from six pellets to three pellets did not produce resurgence. These results suggest that alternative‐reinforcer magnitude has effects on elimination and resurgence of target behavior that are similar to those of alternative‐reinforcer rate. Thus, both suppression of target behavior during alternative reinforcement and resurgence when conditions of alternative reinforcement are altered may be related to variables that affect the value of the alternative‐reinforcement source.
    February 14, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.245   open full text
  • Effects of differential rates of alternative reinforcement on resurgence of human behavior.
    Brooke M. Smith, Gregory S. Smith, Timothy A. Shahan, Gregory J. Madden, Michael P. Twohig.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. January 19, 2017
    Despite the success of exposure‐based psychotherapies in anxiety treatment, relapse remains problematic. Resurgence, the return of previously eliminated behavior following the elimination of an alternative source of reinforcement, is a promising model of operant relapse. Nonhuman resurgence research has shown that higher rates of alternative reinforcement result in faster, more comprehensive suppression of target behavior, but also in greater resurgence when alternative reinforcement is eliminated. This study investigated rich and lean rates of alternative reinforcement on response suppression and resurgence in typically developing humans. In Phase 1, three groups (Rich, n = 18; Lean, n = 18; Control, n = 10) acquired the target response. In Phase 2, target responding was extinguished and alternative reinforcement delivered on RI 1 s, RI 3 s, and extinction schedules, respectively. Resurgence was assessed during Phase 3 under extinction conditions for all groups. Target responding was suppressed most thoroughly in Rich and partially in Lean. Target responding resurged in the Rich and Lean groups, but not in the Control group. Between groups, resurgence was more pronounced in the Rich group than the Lean and Control groups. Clinical implications of these findings, including care on the part of clinicians when identifying alternative sources of reinforcement, are discussed.
    January 19, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.241   open full text
  • A second type of magnitude effect: Reinforcer magnitude differentiates delay discounting between substance users and controls.
    Alexandra M. Mellis, Alina E. Woodford, Jeffrey S. Stein, Warren K. Bickel.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. January 19, 2017
    Basic research on delay discounting, examining preference for smaller–sooner or larger–later reinforcers, has demonstrated a variety of findings of considerable generality. One of these, the magnitude effect, is the observation that individuals tend to exhibit greater preference for the immediate with smaller magnitude reinforcers. Delay discounting has also proved to be a useful marker of addiction, as demonstrated by the highly replicated finding of greater discounting rates in substance users compared to controls. However, some research on delay discounting rates in substance users, particularly research examining discounting of small‐magnitude reinforcers, has not found significant differences compared to controls. Here, we hypothesize that the magnitude effect could produce ceiling effects at small magnitudes, thus obscuring differences in delay discounting between groups. We examined differences in discounting between high‐risk substance users and controls over a broad range of magnitudes of monetary amounts ($0.10, $1.00, $10.00, $100.00, and $1000.00) in 116 Amazon Mechanical Turk workers. We found no significant differences in discounting rates between users and controls at the smallest reinforcer magnitudes ($0.10 and $1.00) and further found that differences became more pronounced as magnitudes increased. These results provide an understanding of a second form of the magnitude effect: That is, differences in discounting between populations can become more evident as a function of reinforcer magnitude.
    January 19, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.235   open full text
  • How suboptimal is suboptimal choice?
    Jay E. Hinnenkamp, Timothy A. Shahan, Gregory J. Madden.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. January 19, 2017
    In a frequently used suboptimal‐choice procedure pigeons choose between an alternative that delivers three food pellets with p = 1.0 and an alternative that delivers ten pellets with p = 0.2. Because pigeons reliably choose the probabilistic (suboptimal) alternative, the procedure has been proposed as a nonhuman analog of human gambling. The present experiments were conducted to evaluate two potential threats to the validity of this procedure. Experiments 1 and 2 evaluated if pigeons obtained food at a lower unit price (i.e., pecks per pellet) on the suboptimal alternative than on the optimal alternative. When pigeons worked under this suboptimal procedure they all preferred the suboptimal alternative despite some pigeons paying a higher price for food on that alternative. In Experiment 2, when the unit price ratio more closely approximated the inverse of the expected value ratio, pigeons continued to prefer the suboptimal alternative despite its economic suboptimality. Experiment 3 evaluated if, in accord with the string‐theory of gambling, the valuation of the suboptimal alternative was increased when pigeons misattributed a subset of the suboptimal no‐food trials to the optimal alternative. When trial sequences were arranged to minimize these possible attribution errors, pigeons still preferred the suboptimal alternative. These data remove two threats to the validity of the suboptimal choice procedure; threats that would have suggested that suboptimal choice reflects economic maximization.
    January 19, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.239   open full text
  • “Watch out!”: Effects of instructed threat and avoidance on human free‐operant approach–avoidance behavior.
    Michael W. Schlund, Kay Treacher, Oli Preston, Sandy K. Magee, David M. Richman, Adam T. Brewer, Gemma Cameron, Simon Dymond.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. January 19, 2017
    Approach–avoidance paradigms create a competition between appetitive and aversive contingencies and are widely used in nonhuman research on anxiety. Here, we examined how instructions about threat and avoidance impact control by competing contingencies over human approach–avoidance behavior. Additionally, Experiment 1 examined the effects of threat magnitude (money loss amount) and avoidance cost (fixed ratio requirements), whereas Experiment 2 examined the effects of threat information (available, unavailable and inaccurate) on approach–avoidance. During the task, approach responding was modeled by reinforcing responding with money on a FR schedule. By performing an observing response, participants produced an escalating “threat meter”. Instructions stated that the threat meter levels displayed the current probability of losing money, when in fact loss only occurred when the level reached the maximum. Instructions also stated pressing an avoidance button lowered the threat level. Overall, instructions produced cycles of approach and avoidance responding with transitions from approach to avoidance when threat was high and transitions back to approach after avoidance reduced threat. Experiment 1 revealed increasing avoidance cost, but not threat magnitude, shifted approach–avoidance transitions to higher threat levels and increased anxiety ratings, but did not influence the frequency of approach–avoidance cycles. Experiment 2 revealed when threat level information was available or absent earnings were high, but earnings decreased when inaccurate threat information was incompatible with contingencies. Our findings build on prior nonhuman and human approach–avoidance research by highlighting how instructed threat and avoidance can impact human AA behavior and self‐reported anxiety.
    January 19, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.238   open full text
  • Effects of shifts in food reinforcement context on rats’ consumption of concurrently available water or sucrose solution.
    Chad M. Galuska, Leslie E. Sawyer.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. January 19, 2017
    The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of signaled transitions from relatively rich to lean conditions of food reinforcement on drinking concurrently available water or sucrose‐sweetened water in rats. Past research demonstrated that these negative incentive shifts produce behavioral disruption in the form of extended pausing on fixed‐ratio schedules. Four male Long‐Evans rats operated on a two‐component multiple fixed‐ratio fixed‐ratio schedule. In one manipulation, the ratio was held constant and the components arranged either a large six‐pellet reinforcer (rich) or small one‐pellet reinforcer (lean). In a second manipulation, the components both produced a one‐pellet reinforcer but differed in terms of the ratio requirement, with the rich and lean conditions corresponding to relatively small and large ratios. In both manipulations, components were pseudorandomly presented to arrange four transitions signaled by retractable levers: lean‐to‐lean, lean‐to‐rich, rich‐to‐rich, and rich‐to‐lean (the negative incentive shift). During experimental conditions, a bottle with lickometer was inserted in the chamber, providing concurrent access either to tap water or a 10% sucrose solution. The negative incentive shift produced considerably more drinking than the other transitions in all rats during both manipulations. The level of drinking was not polydipsic; rather, it appears that the negative incentive shift enhanced the value of concurrently available reinforcers relative to food reinforcement.
    January 19, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.242   open full text
  • Are positive and negative reinforcement “different”? Insights from a free‐operant differential outcomes effect.
    Michael A. Magoon, Thomas S. Critchfield, Dustin Merrill, M. Christopher Newland, W. Joel Schneider.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. January 19, 2017
    Although theoretical discussions typically assume that positive and negative reinforcement differ, the literature contains little unambiguous evidence that they produce differential behavioral effects. To test whether the two types of consequences control behavior differently, we pitted money‐gain positive reinforcement and money‐loss‐avoidance negative reinforcement, scheduled through identically programmed variable‐cycle schedules, against each other in concurrent schedules. Contingencies of response‐produced feedback, normally different in positive and negative reinforcement, were made symmetrical. Steeper matching slopes were produced compared to a baseline consisting of all positive reinforcement. This free‐operant differential outcomes effect supports the notion that that stimulus‐presentation positive reinforcement and stimulus‐elimination negative reinforcement are functionally “different.” However, a control experiment showed that the feedback asymmetry of more traditional positive and negative reinforcement schedules also is sufficient to create a “difference” when the type of consequence is held constant. We offer these findings as a small step in meeting the very large challenge of moving negative reinforcement theory beyond decades of relative quiescence.
    January 19, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.243   open full text
  • Comparing positive and negative reinforcement: A fantasy experiment.
    John A. Nevin, Charlotte Mandell.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. January 19, 2017
    We propose quantitative experimental approaches to the question of whether positive and negative reinforcement are functionally different, and discuss scientific and ethical concerns that would arise if these approaches were pursued.
    January 19, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.237   open full text
  • Behavior analysts in the war on poverty: A review of the use of financial incentives to promote education and employment.
    August F. Holtyn, Brantley P. Jarvis, Kenneth Silverman.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. January 11, 2017
    Poverty is a pervasive risk factor underlying poor health. Many interventions that have sought to reduce health disparities associated with poverty have focused on improving health‐related behaviors of low‐income adults. Poverty itself could be targeted to improve health, but this approach would require programs that can consistently move poor individuals out of poverty. Governments and other organizations in the United States have tested a diverse range of antipoverty programs, generally on a large scale and in conjunction with welfare reform initiatives. This paper reviews antipoverty programs that used financial incentives to promote education and employment among welfare recipients and other low‐income adults. The incentive‐based, antipoverty programs had small or no effects on the target behaviors; they were implemented on large scales from the outset, without systematic development and evaluation of their components; and they did not apply principles of operant conditioning that have been shown to determine the effectiveness of incentive or reinforcement interventions. By applying basic principles of operant conditioning, behavior analysts could help address poverty and improve health through development of effective antipoverty programs. This paper describes a potential framework for a behavior‐analytic antipoverty program, with the goal of illustrating that behavior analysts could be uniquely suited to make substantial contributions to the war on poverty.
    January 11, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.233   open full text
  • Children's preference for mixed‐ versus fixed‐ratio schedules of reinforcement: A translational study of risky choice.
    Michael P. Mullane, Brian K. Martens, Emily L. Baxter, Danica Ver Steeg.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. January 11, 2017
    Laboratory research has shown that when subjects are given a choice between fixed‐ratio and bi‐valued mixed‐ratio schedules of reinforcement, preference typically emerges for the mixed‐ratio schedule even with a larger ratio requirement. The current study sought to replicate and extend these findings to children's math problem completion. Using an ABCBC reversal design, four fourth‐grade students were given the choice of completing addition problems reinforced on either a fixed‐ratio 5 schedule or one of three mixed‐ratio schedules; an equivalent mixed‐ratio (1, 9) schedule, a mixed‐ratio (1, 11) schedule with a 20% larger ratio requirement, and an equally lean mixed‐ratio (5, 7) schedule without the small fixed‐ratio 1 component. This was followed by a reversal back to the preceding phase in which preference for the mixed‐ratio schedule had been observed, and a final reversal back to the mixed‐ratio (5, 7) phase. Findings were consistent with previous research in that all children preferred the mixed‐ratio (1, 9) schedule over the equivalent fixed‐ratio 5 schedule. Preference persisted for the leaner mixed‐ratio (1, 11) schedule for three of the four children. Indifference or preference for the fixed‐ratio 5 alternative was observed in phases containing the mixed‐ratio (5, 7) schedule. These results extend previous research on risky choice to children's math problem completion and highlight the importance of a small ratio component in the emergence of preference for bi‐valued mixed‐ratio schedules. Implications of these results for arranging reinforcement to increase children's academic responding are discussed.
    January 11, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.234   open full text
  • Escape from rich‐to‐lean transitions: Stimulus change and timeout.
    Billie J. Retzlaff, Elizabeth T. P. Parthum, Raymond C. Pitts, Christine E. Hughes.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. January 11, 2017
    Extended pausing during discriminable transitions from rich‐to‐lean conditions can be viewed as escape (i.e., rich‐to‐lean transitions function aversively). In the current experiments, pigeons’ key pecking was maintained by a multiple fixed‐ratio fixed‐ratio schedule of rich or lean reinforcers. Pigeons then were provided with another, explicit, mechanism of escape by changing the stimulus from the transition‐specific stimulus used in the multiple schedule to a mixed‐schedule stimulus (Experiment 1) or by producing a period of timeout in which the stimulus was turned off and the schedule was suspended (Experiment 2). Overall, escape was under joint control of past and upcoming reinforcer magnitudes, such that responses on the escape key were most likely during rich‐to‐lean transitions, and second‐most likely during lean‐to‐lean transitions. Even though pigeons pecked the escape key, they paused before doing so, and the latency to begin the fixed ratio (i.e., the pause) remained extended during rich‐to‐lean transitions. These findings suggest that although the stimulus associated with rich‐to‐lean transitions functioned aversively, pausing is more than simply escape responding from the stimulus.
    January 11, 2017   doi: 10.1002/jeab.236   open full text
  • Simulating demand for cigarettes among pregnant women: A Low‐Risk method for studying vulnerable populations.
    Stephen T. Higgins, Derek D. Reed, Ryan Redner, Joan M. Skelly, Ivori A. Zvorsky, Allison N. Kurti.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. December 21, 2016
    A substantive obstacle to experimentally studying cigarette smoking and use of other tobacco products in pregnant women is the risk of adverse effects on mother and fetus from experimenter administration of the product of interest. The purpose of this study is to investigate bypassing that obstacle by using behavioral economic simulation tasks. In the present study we used the Cigarette Purchase Task (CPT) to simulate changes in demand for hypothetical cigarettes as a function of varying cigarette prices. Participants were 95 pregnant women who completed the CPT prior to participation in a smoking‐cessation trial. Aggregate and individual participant demand varied as an orderly function of price and those changes were well fitted by an exponential equation. Demand also varied in correspondence to two well‐validated predictors of individual differences in smoking cessation among pregnant women (cigarettes smoked per day, pre‐pregnancy quit attempts). Moreover, CPT indices were more effective than these two conventional variables in predicting individual differences in whether women made a quit attempt during the current pregnancy. Overall, these results represent a promising step in demonstrating the validity and utility of the CPT for experimentally examining demand for cigarettes, and potentially other tobacco and nicotine delivery products, among pregnant women.
    December 21, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.232   open full text
  • Substitution effects in a generalized token economy with pigeons.
    Leonardo F. Andrade, Timothy D. Hackenberg.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. December 20, 2016
    Pigeons made repeated choices between earning and exchanging reinforcer‐specific tokens (green tokens exchangeable for food, red tokens exchangeable for water) and reinforcer‐general tokens (white tokens exchangeable for food or water) in a closed token economy. Food and green food tokens could be earned on one panel; water and red water tokens could be earned on a second panel; white generalized tokens could be earned on either panel. Responses on one key produced tokens according to a fixed‐ratio schedule, whereas responses on a second key produced exchange periods, during which all previously earned tokens could be exchanged for the appropriate commodity. Most conditions were conducted in a closed economy, and pigeons distributed their token allocation in ways that permitted food and water consumption. When the price of all tokens was equal and low, most pigeons preferred the generalized tokens. When token‐production prices were manipulated, pigeons reduced production of the tokens that increased in price while increasing production of the generalized tokens that remained at a fixed price. The latter is consistent with a substitution effect: Generalized tokens increased and were exchanged for the more expensive reinforcer. When food and water were made freely available outside the session, token production and exchange was sharply reduced but was not eliminated, even in conditions when it no longer produced tokens. The results join with other recent data in showing sustained generalized functions of token reinforcers, and demonstrate the utility of token‐economic methods for assessing demand for and substitution among multiple commodities in a laboratory context.
    December 20, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.231   open full text
  • Epicurus and B. F. Skinner: In search of the good life.
    Allen Neuringer, Walter Englert.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. November 25, 2016
    This paper examines similarities in the works of Epicurus, an ancient Greek philosopher, and B. F. Skinner, a behavioral psychologist. They both were empiricists who argued in favor of the lawfulness of behavior while maintaining that random events were included within those laws. They both devoted much effort to describing how individuals could live effective, rewarding and pleasurable lives. They both emphasized simple and natural pleasures (or reinforcers) and the importance of combining personal pleasures with actions that benefit friends and community. They both opposed punishment and all aversive measures used by governments and religions to control behaviors. And both created utopias: a real community, The Garden, where Epicurus lived with his followers, and a fictional one, Walden Two, by Skinner. We consider how a combination of the ideas of Epicurus and Skinner can contribute to their common goal of helping people to live better lives.
    November 25, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.230   open full text
  • A two‐part mixed effects model for cigarette purchase task data.
    Tingting Zhao, Xianghua Luo, Haitao Chu, Chap T. Le, Leonard H. Epstein, Janet L. Thomas.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. November 14, 2016
    The Cigarette Purchase Task is a behavioral economic assessment tool designed to measure the relative reinforcing efficacy of cigarette smoking across different prices. An exponential demand equation has become a standard model for analyzing purchase task data, but its utility is compromised by its inability to accommodate values of zero consumption. We propose a two‐part mixed effects model that keeps the same exponential demand equation for modeling nonzero consumption values, while providing a logistic regression for the binary outcome of zero versus nonzero consumption. Therefore, the proposed model can accommodate zero consumption values and retain the features of the exponential demand equation at the same time. As a byproduct, the logistic regression component of the proposed model provides a new demand index, the “derived breakpoint”, for the price above which a subject is more likely to be abstinent than to be smoking. We apply the proposed model to data collected at baseline from college students (N = 1,217) enrolled in a randomized clinical trial utilizing financial incentives to motivate tobacco cessation. Monte Carlo simulations showed that the proposed model provides better fits than an existing model. We note that the proposed methodology is applicable to other purchase task data, for example, drugs of abuse.
    November 14, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.228   open full text
  • Stimulus–reinforcer relations established during training determine resistance to extinction and relapse via reinstatement.
    John Y. H. Bai, C. K. Jonas Chan, Douglas Elliffe, Christopher A. Podlesnik.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. November 14, 2016
    The baseline rate of a reinforced target response decreases with the availability of response‐independent sources of alternative reinforcement; however, resistance to disruption and relapse increases. Because many behavioral treatments for problem behavior include response‐dependent reinforcement of alternative behavior, the present study assessed whether response‐dependent alternative reinforcement also decreases baseline response rates but increases resistance to extinction and relapse. We reinforced target responding at equal rates across two components of a multiple schedule with pigeons. We compared resistance to extinction and relapse via reinstatement of (1) a target response trained concurrently with a reinforced alternative response in one component with (2) a target response trained either concurrently or in separate components from the alternative response across conditions. Target response rates trained alone in baseline were higher but resistance to extinction and relapse via reinstatement tests were greater after training concurrently with the alternative response. In another assessment, training target and alternative responding together, but separating them during extinction and reinstatement tests, produced equal resistance to extinction and relapse. Together, these findings are consistent with behavioral momentum theory—operant response–reinforcer relations determined baseline response rates but Pavlovian stimulus–reinforcer relations established during training determined resistance to extinction and relapse. These findings imply that reinforcing alternative behavior to treat problem behavior could initially reduce rates but increase persistence.
    November 14, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.227   open full text
  • Effects of signaling on temporal control of behavior in response‐initiated fixed intervals.
    Adam E. Fox, Elizabeth G. E. Kyonka.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. November 14, 2016
    Behavior and events distributed in time can serve as markers that signal delays to future events. The majority of timing research has focused on how behavior changes as the time to some event, usually food availability, decreases. The primary objective of the two experiments presented here was to assess how behavior changes as time passes between two time markers when the first time marker was manipulated but the second, food delivery, was held constant. Pigeons were exposed to fixed‐interval, response‐initiated fixed‐interval, and signaled response‐initiated fixed‐interval 15‐ and 30‐s schedules of reinforcement. In Experiment 1, first‐response latencies were systematically shorter in the signaled response‐initiated schedules than response‐initiated schedules, suggesting that the first response was a more effective time marker when it was signaled. In Experiment 2, responding in no‐food (i.e. “peak”) trials indicated that timing accuracy was equivalent in the three schedule types. Compared to fixed interval schedules, timing precision was reduced in the signaled response‐initiated schedules and was lowest in response‐initiated schedules. Results from Experiments 1 and 2 coupled with previous research suggest that the overall “informativeness” of a time marker relative to other events and behaviors in the environment may determine its efficacy.
    November 14, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.226   open full text
  • Evaluating the effects of discriminability on behavioral persistence during and following time‐based reinforcement.
    Valdeep Saini, Wayne W. Fisher.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. November 14, 2016
    With four children with autism we evaluated a refinement to time‐based reinforcement designed to reduce response persistence when we simultaneously introduced time‐based reinforcement and extinction. We further evaluated whether this refinement mitigated response recurrence when all reinforcer deliveries ceased during an extinction‐only disruptor phase. The refinement involved increasing the saliency of the contingency change from contingent reinforcement (during baseline) to time‐based reinforcement by delivering different colored reinforcers during time‐based reinforcement. Behavioral momentum theory predicts that increasing the discriminability of the change from variable‐interval to variable‐time reinforcement should lead to faster reductions in responding. We present data on four participants, three of whom displayed response patterns consistent with the predictions of behavioral momentum theory during time‐based reinforcement. However, the participants showed more varied patterns of recurrent behavior during extinction. We discuss these results within a translational research framework focusing on strategies used to mitigate treatment relapse for severe destructive behavior, as time‐based reinforcement is one of the most commonly prescribed interventions for destructive behavior displayed by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
    November 14, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.225   open full text
  • Behavioral pharmacology of the odor span task: Effects of flunitrazepam, ketamine, methamphetamine and methylphenidate.
    Mark Galizio, Brooke April, Melissa Deal, Andrew Hawkey, Danielle Panoz‐Brown, Ashley Prichard, Katherine Bruce.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. October 17, 2016
    The Odor Span Task is an incrementing non‐matching‐to‐sample procedure that permits the study of behavior under the control of multiple stimuli. Rats are exposed to a series of odor stimuli and selection of new stimuli is reinforced. Successful performance thus requires remembering which stimuli have previously been presented during a given session. This procedure has been frequently used in neurobiological studies as a rodent model of working memory; however, only a few studies have examined the effects of drugs on performance in this task. The present experiments explored the behavioral pharmacology of a modified version of the Odor Span Task by determining the effects of stimulant drugs methylphenidate and methamphetamine, NMDA antagonist ketamine, and positive GABAA modulator flunitrazepam. All four drugs produced dose‐dependent impairment of performances on the Odor Span Task, but for methylphenidate and methamphetamine, these occurred only at doses that had similar effects on performance of a simple odor discrimination. Generally, these disruptions were based on omission of responding at the effective doses. The effects of ketamine and flunitrazepam were more selective in some rats. That is, some rats tested under flunitrazepam and ketamine showed decreases in accuracy on the Odor Span Task at doses that did not affect simple discrimination performance. These selective effects indicate disruption of within‐session stimulus control. Overall, these findings support the potential of the Odor Span Task as a baseline for the behavioral pharmacological analysis of remembering.
    October 17, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.224   open full text
  • Syntax for calculation of discounting indices from the monetary choice questionnaire and probability discounting questionnaire.
    Joshua C. Gray, Michael T. Amlung, Abraham A. Palmer, James MacKillop.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 20, 2016
    The 27‐item Monetary Choice Questionnaire (MCQ; Kirby, Petry, & Bickel, 1999) and 30‐item Probability Discounting Questionnaire (PDQ; Madden, Petry, & Johnson, 2009) are widely used, validated measures of preferences for immediate versus delayed rewards and guaranteed versus risky rewards, respectively. The MCQ measures delayed discounting by asking individuals to choose between rewards available immediately and larger rewards available after a delay. The PDQ measures probability discounting by asking individuals to choose between guaranteed rewards and a chance at winning larger rewards. Numerous studies have implicated these measures in addiction and other health behaviors. Unlike typical self‐report measures, the MCQ and PDQ generate inferred hyperbolic temporal and probability discounting functions by comparing choice preferences to arrays of functions to which the individual items are preconfigured. This article provides R and SPSS syntax for processing the MCQ and PDQ. Specifically, for the MCQ, the syntax generates k values, consistency of the inferred k, and immediate choice ratios; for the PDQ, the syntax generates h indices, consistency of the inferred h, and risky choice ratios. The syntax is intended to increase the accessibility of these measures, expedite the data processing, and reduce risk for error.
    September 20, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.221   open full text
  • Characterization of the discriminative stimulus effects of lorcaserin in rats.
    Katherine M. Serafine, Kenner C. Rice, Charles P. France.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 18, 2016
    Lorcaserin is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating obesity and is under consideration for treating substance use disorders; it has agonist properties at serotonin (5‐HT)2C receptors and might also have agonist properties at other 5‐HT receptor subtypes. This study used drug discrimination to investigate the mechanism(s) of action of lorcaserin. Male Sprague–Dawley rats discriminated 0.56 mg/kg i.p. lorcaserin from saline while responding under a fixed‐ratio 5 schedule for food. Lorcaserin (0.178‐1.0 mg/kg) dose‐dependently increased lorcaserin‐lever responding. The 5‐HT2C receptor agonist mCPP and the 5‐HT2A receptor agonist DOM each occasioned greater than 90% lorcaserin‐lever responding in seven of eight rats. The 5‐HT1A receptor agonist 8‐OH‐DPAT occasioned greater than 90% lorcaserin‐lever responding in four of seven rats. The 5‐HT2C receptor selective antagonist SB 242084 attenuated lorcaserin‐lever responding in all eight rats and the 5‐HT2A receptor selective antagonist MDL 100907 attenuated lorcaserin‐lever responding in six of seven rats. These results suggest that, in addition to agonist properties at 5‐HT2C receptors, lorcaserin also has agonist properties at 5‐HT2A and 5‐HT1A receptors. Because some drugs with 5‐HT2A receptor agonist properties are abused, it is important to fully characterize the behavioral effects of lorcaserin while considering its potential for treating substance use disorders.
    September 18, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.222   open full text
  • A crowdsourced nickel‐and‐dime approach to analog OBM research: A behavioral economic framework for understanding workforce attrition.
    Amy J. Henley, Florence D. DiGennaro Reed, Derek D. Reed, Brent A. Kaplan.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. August 26, 2016
    Incentives are a popular method to achieve desired employee performance; however, research on optimal incentive magnitude is lacking. Behavioral economic demand curves model persistence of responding in the face of increasing cost and may be suitable to examine the reinforcing value of incentives on work performance. The present use‐inspired basic study integrated an experiential human operant task within a crowdsourcing platform to evaluate the applicability of behavioral economics for quantifying changes in workforce attrition. Participants included 88 Amazon Mechanical Turk Workers who earned either a $0.05 or $0.10 incentive for completing a progressively increasing response requirement. Analyses revealed statistically significant differences in breakpoint between the two groups. Additionally, a novel translation of the Kaplan‐Meier survival‐curve analyses for use within a demand curve framework allowed for examination of elasticity of workforce attrition. Results indicate greater inelastic attrition in the $0.05 group. We discuss the benefits of a behavioral economic approach to modeling employee behavior, how the metrics obtained from the elasticity of workforce attrition analyses (e.g., P max) may be used to set goals for employee behavior while balancing organizational costs, and how economy type may have influenced observed outcomes.
    August 26, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.220   open full text
  • An alternative approach to calculating Area‐Under‐the‐Curve (AUC) in delay discounting research.
    Allison M. Borges, Jinyi Kuang, Hannah Milhorn, Richard Yi.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. August 26, 2016
    Applied to delay discounting data, Area‐Under‐the‐Curve (AUC) provides an atheoretical index of the rate of delay discounting. The conventional method of calculating AUC, by summing the areas of the trapezoids formed by successive delay‐indifference point pairings, does not account for the fact that most delay discounting tasks scale delay pseudoexponentially, that is, time intervals between delays typically get larger as delays get longer. This results in a disproportionate contribution of indifference points at long delays to the total AUC, with minimal contribution from indifference points at short delays. We propose two modifications that correct for this imbalance via a base‐10 logarithmic transformation and an ordinal scaling transformation of delays. These newly proposed indices of discounting, AUClog d and AUCor d, address the limitation of AUC while preserving a primary strength (remaining atheoretical). Re‐examination of previously published data provides empirical support for both AUClog d and AUCor d . Thus, we believe theoretical and empirical arguments favor these methods as the preferred atheoretical indices of delay discounting.
    August 26, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.219   open full text
  • The absence of numbers to express the amount may affect delay discounting with humans.
    Hugo E. Reyes‐Huerta, Cristiano V. dos Santos.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. August 19, 2016
    Human delay discounting is usually studied with experimental protocols that use symbols to express delay and amount. In order to further understand discounting, we evaluated whether the absence of numbers to represent reward amounts affects discount rate in general, and whether the magnitude effect is generalized to nonsymbolic situations in particular. In Experiment 1, human participants were exposed to a delay‐discounting task in which rewards were presented using dots to represent monetary rewards (nonsymbolic); under this condition the magnitude effect did not occur. Nevertheless, the magnitude effect was observed when equivalent reward amounts were presented using numbers (symbolic). Moreover, in estimation tasks, magnitude increments produced underestimation of large amounts. In Experiment 2, participants were exposed only to the nonsymbolic discounting task and were required to estimate reward amounts in each trial. Consistent with Experiment 1, the absence of numbers representing reward amounts produced similar discount rates of small and large rewards. These results suggest that value of nonsymbolic rewards is a nonlinear function of amount and that value attribution depends on perceived difference between the immediate and the delayed nonsymbolic rewards.
    August 19, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.218   open full text
  • Stagewise multidimensional visual discrimination by pigeons.
    Olga V. Vyazovska, Victor M. Navarro, Edward A. Wasserman.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. July 21, 2016
    We trained six pigeons in a stagewise Multiple Necessary Cues (MNC) go/no‐go task to document the dynamics of discrimination learning involving increasingly complex visual stimuli. The compound stimuli were composed from four dimensions, each of which could assume either of two extreme values or their intermediate value: Shape, Size, Line Orientation, and Brightness. Starting with a stimulus composed entirely from intermediate values, we replaced those values with each of the two extreme dimensional values in four successive stages, thereby increasing the stimulus set from 2 in Stage 1 to 16 in Stage 4. In each stage, only one combination of values signaled food (S+), whereas the remaining combinations did not (S−s). We calculated the rate of pecking during the first 15 s of each stimulus presentation and, in any given stage, training continued until the rate of responding to all of the S−s was less than 20% of the rate of responding to the S+. All pigeons successfully acquired the final discrimination, suggesting that they attended to all of the dimensions relevant for the discrimination. We also replicated the key results of prior MNC studies: (1) the number of extreme dimensional values in each stage was positively related to the amount of training required for pigeons to acquire the discrimination; (2) attentional tradeoffs were most often observed when three or four dimensions were being trained; and (3) throughout training, the number of dimensional values in the S−s that differed from the S+ was positively related to their discriminability from S+.
    July 21, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.217   open full text
  • Concurrent nonindependent fixed‐ratio schedules of alcohol self‐administration: Effects of schedule size on choice.
    Richard A. Meisch, Thomas H. Gomez.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. July 12, 2016
    Choice behavior was studied under concurrent nonindependent fixed‐ratio fixed‐ratio (nFR) schedules of reinforcement, as these schedules result in frequent changeover responses. With these schedules, responses on either operandum count toward the completion of the ratio requirements of both schedules. Five monkeys were subjects, and two pairs of liquid reinforcers were concurrently available: 16% (w/v) and 0% ethanol or 16% and 8% ethanol. For each pair of reinforcers, the nFR sizes were systematically altered across sessions while keeping the schedule size equal for both liquids. Responding varied as a function of reinforcer pair and nFR size. With the 16% and 0% pair, higher response rates were maintained by 16% and were an inverted U‐shape function of nFR size. With 16% and 8%, a greater number of responses initially occurred on the schedule that delivered 8% ethanol. However, as nFR size increased, preference reversed such that responses that delivered 16% ethanol were greater. When the nFR size was subsequently decreased, preference reverted back to 8%. Number of responses emitted per delivery was a dependent variable and, in behavioral economic terms, was the price paid for each liquid delivery. With 16% and 0%, changeover responses initially increased and then decreased as schedule size became larger. In contrast, with the 16% and 8% pair, changeover responses increased directly with schedule size. Responding under nFR schedules is sensitive to differences in reinforcer magnitude and demonstrates that relative reinforcing effects can change as a function of schedule size.
    July 12, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.215   open full text
  • Toward quantifying the abuse liability of ultraviolet tanning: A behavioral economic approach to tanning addiction.
    Derek D. Reed, Brent A. Kaplan, Amel Becirevic, Peter G. Roma, Steven R. Hursh.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. July 12, 2016
    Many adults engage in ultraviolet indoor tanning despite evidence of its association with skin cancer. The constellation of behaviors associated with ultraviolet indoor tanning is analogous to that in other behavioral addictions. Despite a growing literature on ultraviolet indoor tanning as an addiction, there remains no consensus on how to identify ultraviolet indoor tanning addictive tendencies. The purpose of the present study was to translate a behavioral economic task more commonly used in substance abuse to quantify the "abuse liability" of ultraviolet indoor tanning, establish construct validity, and determine convergent validity with the most commonly used diagnostic tools for ultraviolet indoor tanning addiction (i.e., mCAGE and mDSM‐IV‐TR). We conducted a between‐groups study using a novel hypothetical Tanning Purchase Task to quantify intensity and elasticity of ultraviolet indoor tanning demand and permit statistical comparisons with the mCAGE and mDSM‐IV‐TR. Results suggest that behavioral economic demand is related to ultraviolet indoor tanning addiction status and adequately discriminates between potential addicted individuals from nonaddicted individuals. Moreover, we provide evidence that the Tanning Purchase Task renders behavioral economic indicators that are relevant to public health research. The present findings are limited to two ultraviolet indoor tanning addiction tools and a relatively small sample of high‐risk ultraviolet indoor tanning users; however, these pilot data demonstrate the potential for behavioral economic assessment tools as diagnostic and research aids in ultraviolet indoor tanning addiction studies.
    July 12, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.216   open full text
  • Human choices between variable and fixed rewards in hypothetical variable‐delay and double‐reward discounting procedures.
    Todd L. McKerchar, James E. Mazur.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. June 29, 2016
    Prior research has shown that nonhumans show an extreme preference for variable‐ over fixed‐delays to reinforcement. This well‐established preference for variability occurs because a reinforcer's strength or “value” decreases according to a curvilinear function as its delay increases. The purpose of the present experiments was to investigate whether this preference for variability occurs with human participants making hypothetical choices. In three experiments, participants recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk made choices between variable and fixed monetary rewards. In a variable‐delay procedure, participants repeatedly chose between a reward delivered either immediately or after a delay (with equal probability) and a reward after a fixed delay (Experiments 1 and 2). In a double‐reward procedure, participants made choices between an alternative consisting of two rewards, one delivered immediately and one after a delay, and a second alternative consisting of a single reward delivered after a delay (Experiments 1 and 3). Finally, all participants completed a standard delay‐discounting task. Although we observed both curvilinear discounting and magnitude effects in the standard discounting task, we found no consistent evidence of a preference for variability—as predicted by two prominent models of curvilinear discounting (i.e., a simple hyperbola and a hyperboloid)—in our variable‐delay and double‐reward procedures. This failure to observe a preference for variability may be attributed to the hypothetical, rule‐governed nature of choices in the present study. In such contexts, participants may adopt relatively simple strategies for making more complex choices.
    June 29, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.214   open full text
  • Signaled alternative reinforcement and the persistence of operant behavior.
    Vikki J. Bland, John Y.H. Bai, Jane A. Fullerton, Christopher A. Podlesnik.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. June 10, 2016
    Differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) is a treatment designed to eliminate problem behavior by reinforcing an alternative behavior at a higher rate. Availability of alternative reinforcement may be signaled, as with Functional Communication Training, or unsignaled. Whether or not alternative reinforcement is signaled could influence both the rate and persistence of problem behavior. The present study investigated whether signaling the availability of alternative reinforcement affects the rate and persistence of a concurrently available target response with pigeons. Three components of a multiple concurrent schedule arranged equal reinforcement rates for target responding. Two of the components also arranged equal reinforcement rates for an alternative response. In one DRA component, a discrete stimulus signaled the availability of response‐contingent alternative reinforcement by changing the keylight color upon reinforcement availability. In the other DRA component, availability of alternative reinforcement was not signaled. Target responding was most persistent in the unsignaled DRA component when disrupted by satiation, free food presented between components, and extinction, relative to the signaled DRA and control components. These findings suggest the discrete stimulus functionally separated the availability of alternative reinforcement from the discriminative stimuli governing target responding. These findings provide a novel avenue to explore in translational research assessing whether signaling the availability of alternative reinforcement with DRA treatments reduces the persistence of problem behavior.
    June 10, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.212   open full text
  • Effects of signaled and unsignaled alternative reinforcement on persistence and relapse in children and pigeons.
    John A. Nevin, F. Charles Mace, Iser G. DeLeon, Timothy A. Shahan, Kenneth D. Shamlian, Keith Lit, Tara Sheehan, Michelle A. Frank‐Crawford, Stephanie L. Trauschke, Mary M. Sweeney, Danielle R. Tarver, Andrew R. Craig.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. June 10, 2016
    Three experiments explored the impact of different reinforcer rates for alternative behavior (DRA) on the suppression and post‐DRA relapse of target behavior, and the persistence of alternative behavior. All experiments arranged baseline, intervention with extinction of target behavior concurrently with DRA, and post‐treatment tests of resurgence or reinstatement, in two‐ or three‐component multiple schedules. Experiment 1, with pigeons, arranged high or low baseline reinforcer rates; both rich and lean DRA schedules reduced target behavior to low levels. When DRA was discontinued, the magnitude of relapse depended on both baseline reinforcer rate and the rate of DRA. Experiment 2, with children exhibiting problem behaviors, arranged an intermediate baseline reinforcer rate and rich or lean signaled DRA. During treatment, both rich and lean DRA rapidly reduced problem behavior to low levels, but post‐treatment relapse was generally greater in the DRA‐rich than the DRA‐lean component. Experiment 3, with pigeons, repeated the low‐baseline condition of Experiment 1 with signaled DRA as in Experiment 2. Target behavior decreased to intermediate levels in both DRA‐rich and DRA‐lean components. Relapse, when it occurred, was directly related to DRA reinforcer rate as in Experiment 2. The post‐treatment persistence of alternative behavior was greater in the DRA‐rich component in Experiment 1, whereas it was the same or greater in the signaled‐DRA‐lean component in Experiments 2 and 3. Thus, infrequent signaled DRA may be optimal for effective clinical treatment.
    June 10, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.213   open full text
  • A survey of residual analysis and a new test of residual trend.
    J. J McDowell, Olivia L. Calvin, Bryan Klapes.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. May 19, 2016
    A survey of residual analysis in behavior‐analytic research reveals that existing methods are problematic in one way or another. A new test for residual trends is proposed that avoids the problematic features of the existing methods. It entails fitting cubic polynomials to sets of residuals and comparing their effect sizes to those that would be expected if the sets of residuals were random. To this end, sampling distributions of effect sizes for fits of a cubic polynomial to random data were obtained by generating sets of random standardized residuals of various sizes, n. A cubic polynomial was then fitted to each set of residuals and its effect size was calculated. This yielded a sampling distribution of effect sizes for each n. To test for a residual trend in experimental data, the median effect size of cubic‐polynomial fits to sets of experimental residuals can be compared to the median of the corresponding sampling distribution of effect sizes for random residuals using a sign test. An example from the literature, which entailed comparing mathematical and computational models of continuous choice, is used to illustrate the utility of the test.
    May 19, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.208   open full text
  • Assessing the role of alternative response rates and reinforcer rates in resistance to extinction of target responding when combining stimuli.
    Christopher A. Podlesnik, John Y. H. Bai, Katherine A. Skinner.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. May 19, 2016
    Studies of behavioral momentum reveal that reinforcing an alternative response in the presence of a target response reduces the rate of target responding but increases its persistence, relative to training the target response on its own. Because of the parallels between these studies and differential‐reinforcement techniques to reduce problem behavior in clinical settings, alternative techniques to reduce problem behavior without enhancing its persistence are being explored. One potential solution is to train an alternative response in a separate stimulus context from problem behavior before combining the alternative stimulus with the target stimulus. The present study assessed how differences in reinforcement contingencies and rate for alternative responding influenced resistance to extinction of target responding when combining alternative and target stimuli in pigeons. Across three experiments, alternative stimuli signaling a response–reinforcer dependency and greater reinforcer rates more effectively decreased the persistence of target responding when combining alternative and target stimuli within the same extinction tests, but not when compared across separate extinction tests. Overall, these findings reveal that differences in competition between alternative and target responding produced by contingencies of alternative reinforcement could influence the effectiveness of treating problem behavior through combining stimulus contexts.
    May 19, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.206   open full text
  • Behavioral momentum theory fails to account for the effects of reinforcement rate on resurgence.
    Andrew R. Craig, Timothy A. Shahan.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. May 19, 2016
    The behavioral‐momentum model of resurgence predicts reinforcer rates within a resurgence preparation should have three effects on target behavior. First, higher reinforcer rates in baseline (Phase 1) produce more persistent target behavior during extinction plus alternative reinforcement. Second, higher rate alternative reinforcement during Phase 2 generates greater disruption of target responding during extinction. Finally, higher rates of either reinforcement source should produce greater responding when alternative reinforcement is suspended in Phase 3. Recent empirical reports have produced mixed results in terms of these predictions. Thus, the present experiment further examined reinforcer‐rate effects on persistence and resurgence. Rats pressed target levers for high‐rate or low‐rate variable‐interval food during Phase 1. In Phase 2, target‐lever pressing was extinguished, an alternative nose‐poke became available, and nose‐poking produced either high‐rate variable‐interval, low‐rate variable‐interval, or no (an extinction control) alternative reinforcement. Alternative reinforcement was suspended in Phase 3. For groups that received no alternative reinforcement, target‐lever pressing was less persistent following high‐rate than low‐rate Phase‐1 reinforcement. Target behavior was more persistent with low‐rate alternative reinforcement than with high‐rate alternative reinforcement or extinction alone. Finally, no differences in Phase‐3 responding were observed for groups that received either high‐rate or low‐rate alternative reinforcement, and resurgence occurred only following high‐rate alternative reinforcement. These findings are inconsistent with the momentum‐based model of resurgence. We conclude this model mischaracterizes the effects of reinforcer rates on persistence and resurgence of operant behavior.
    May 19, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.207   open full text
  • Exclusion performance and learning by exclusion in dogs.
    Isabela Zaine, Camila Domeniconi, Julio C. de Rose.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. May 19, 2016
    Responding by exclusion is a type of emergent repertoire in which an individual chooses an alternative by the apparent exclusion of other available alternatives. In this case it is possible to respond appropriately to an undefined stimulus (one that has not previously acquired discriminative functions) by excluding the defined alternatives. There is evidence of exclusion in humans and nonhuman animals, although learning as an outcome of exclusion does not always occur. This study aimed to investigate exclusion in visual simple discriminations and learning of new simple discriminations resulting from exclusion in four border collies. Subjects were trained to perform simple simultaneous discriminations between pairs of tridimensional objects, and were then tested for exclusion, novelty control and learning of new simple discriminations. All dogs successfully responded by exclusion, choosing an undefined stimulus displayed with an S‐. For three dogs, it was possible to conclude that these previously undefined stimuli acquired S+ functions, documenting learning of new simple discriminations. However, this required up to four exposures to exclusion trials with each pair of stimuli.
    May 19, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.209   open full text
  • Training intraverbal naming to establish equivalence class performances.
    Monica L. Ma, Caio F. Miguel, Adrienne M. Jennings.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. May 06, 2016
    The purpose of this three‐experiment study was to evaluate whether performance consistent with the formation of equivalence classes could be established after training adults to tact and intraverbally relate the names of visual stimuli. Fourteen participants were exposed to tact training, listener testing, and intraverbal training (A'B’ and B'C’) prior to matching‐to‐sample (MTS) and intraverbal posttests presented in different sequences across experiments. All participants demonstrated emergent MTS and intraverbal relations consistent with equivalence class formation. More importantly, all participants emitted experimentally defined or self‐generated tacts or intraverbally named the correct sample‐comparison pairs at some point during posttests. These results are consistent with the intraverbal naming account (Horne & Lowe, 1996) in that participants who passed novel relations MTS tests also demonstrated emergence of corresponding intraverbal relations. However, verbal reports and latency data suggest that participants did not necessarily have to use intraverbal naming as a problem solving strategy continuously throughout MTS posttests. These results extended previous research by showing that verbal behavior training of baseline relations (A'B’ and B'C’) is sufficient to establish novel conditional relations consistent with equivalence class formation.
    May 06, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.203   open full text
  • Does overall reinforcer rate affect discrimination of time‐based contingencies?
    Sarah Cowie, Michael Davison, Luca Blumhardt, Douglas Elliffe.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. May 06, 2016
    Overall reinforcer rate appears to affect choice. The mechanism for such an effect is uncertain, but may relate to reinforcer rate changing the discrimination of the relation between stimuli and reinforcers. We assessed whether a quantitative model based on a stimulus‐control approach could be used to account for the effects of overall reinforcer rate on choice under changing time‐based contingencies. On a two‐key concurrent schedule, the likely availability of a reinforcer reversed when a fixed time had elapsed since the last reinforcer, and the overall reinforcer rate was varied across conditions. Changes in the overall reinforcer rate produced a change in response bias, and some indication of a change in discrimination. These changes in bias and discrimination always occurred quickly, usually within the first session of a condition. The stimulus‐control approach provided an excellent account of the data, suggesting that changes in overall reinforcer rate affect choice because they alter the frequency of reinforcers obtained at different times, or in different stimulus contexts, and thus change the discriminated relation between stimuli and reinforcers. These findings support the notion that temporal and spatial discriminations can be understood in terms of discrimination of reinforcers across time and space.
    May 06, 2016   doi: 10.1002/jeab.204   open full text
  • Reinforced behavioral variability: Working towards an understanding of its behavioral mechanisms.
    Adam H. Doughty, Ann Galizio.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. October 12, 2015
    There is disagreement about how to characterize the environment‐behavior relations involved in the reinforcement of behavioral variability. The present research examined some of these issues using food‐maintained, 4‐peck sequences in pigeons. Experiment 1 evaluated the claim that behavioral variability is not reinforced directly but, rather, is the byproduct of changing over within sequences. Considerably higher levels of behavioral variation occurred under a relative‐frequency threshold contingency than under a contingency that required a changeover but not variability per se. These results are consistent with the argument that behavioral variability is reinforced directly. Experiment 2 assessed the effects on variation levels of manipulating inter‐trial and inter‐response intervals. Variability increased with longer inter‐response intervals but not with longer inter‐trial intervals. These results are consistent with multiple explanations, including the notion that remembering past behavior interferes with the emission of reinforced variation. Consequently, Experiment 3 examined more directly the relation between remembering and reinforced variation. Variation levels were not affected by a concurrent contingency that encouraged pigeons to remember their past behavior. The implications of this research are presented in the context of working towards an understanding of the environment‐behavior relations involved in the reinforcement of behavioral variability.
    October 12, 2015   doi: 10.1002/jeab.171   open full text
  • Preference pulses and the win–stay, fix‐and‐sample model of choice.
    Yosuke Hachiga, Takayuki Sakagami, Alan Silberberg.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 29, 2015
    Two groups of six rats each were trained to respond to two levers for a food reinforcer. One group was trained on concurrent variable‐ratio 20 extinction schedules of reinforcement. The second group was trained on a concurrent variable‐interval 27‐s extinction schedule. In both groups, lever‐schedule assignments changed randomly following reinforcement; a light cued the lever providing the next reinforcer. In the next condition, the light cue was removed and reinforcer assignment strictly alternated between levers. The next two conditions redetermined, in order, the first two conditions. Preference pulses, defined as a tendency for relative response rate to decline to the just‐reinforced alternative with time since reinforcement, only appeared during the extinction schedule. Although the pulse's functional form was well described by a reinforcer‐induction equation, there was a large residual between actual data and a pulse‐as‐artifact simulation (McLean, Grace, Pitts, & Hughes, 2014) used to discern reinforcer‐dependent contributions to pulsing. However, if that simulation was modified to include a win–stay tendency (a propensity to stay on the just‐reinforced alternative), the residual was greatly reduced. Additional modifications of the parameter values of the pulse‐as‐artifact simulation enabled it to accommodate the present results as well as those it originally accommodated. In its revised form, this simulation was used to create a model that describes response runs to the preferred alternative as terminating probabilistically, and runs to the unpreferred alternative as punctate with occasional perseverative response runs. After reinforcement, choices are modeled as returning briefly to the lever location that had been just reinforced. This win–stay propensity is hypothesized as due to reinforcer induction.
    September 29, 2015   doi: 10.1002/jeab.170   open full text
  • The effect of reinforcer magnitude on probability and delay discounting of experienced outcomes in a computer game task in humans.
    Anna K. Greenhow, Maree J. Hunt, Anne C. Macaskill, David N. Harper.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 17, 2015
    Delay and uncertainty of receipt both reduce the subjective value of reinforcers. Delay has a greater impact on the subjective value of smaller reinforcers than of larger ones while the reverse is true for uncertainty. We investigated the effect of reinforcer magnitude on discounting of delayed and uncertain reinforcers using a novel approach: embedding relevant choices within a computer game. Participants made repeated choices between smaller, certain, immediate outcomes and larger, but delayed or uncertain outcomes while experiencing the result of each choice. Participants' choices were generally well described by the hyperbolic discounting function. Smaller numbers of points were discounted more steeply than larger numbers as a function of delay but not probability. The novel experiential choice task described is a promising approach to investigating both delay and probability discounting in humans.
    September 17, 2015   doi: 10.1002/jeab.166   open full text
  • The distribution of response bout lengths and its sensitivity to differential reinforcement.
    Ryan J. Brackney, Federico Sanabria.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 17, 2015
    Response bouts are clusters of responses that occur in rapid succession and are punctuated by pauses during which the response does not occur. Under variable interval schedules of reinforcement, the number of responses in each bout (the bout length) varies among bouts. This experiment was aimed at determining whether the relative rate of reinforcement influenced the relative frequency of bouts of different lengths. Lever pressing in rats was reinforced under a tandem variable time (VT) 150‐s fixed ratio (FR) X, where X could be 1 or 5 and varied randomly after each reinforcer. Two conditions were included: majority FR1 (mFR1) and majority FR5 (mFR5). In mFR1, 75% of reinforcers had a tandem FR requirement of 1 and 25% had a tandem FR requirement of 5; this distribution was reversed in mFR5. The dynamic bi‐exponential refractory model of response bouts was fitted to the interresponse times (IRTs) in each condition. Model parameter estimates and IRTs were then used to simulate probable distributions of bout lengths. These distributions comprised a mixture of short geometrically‐distributed bout lengths and long negative‐binomially‐distributed bout lengths. Long bouts were significantly longer in the mFR5 condition than in the mFR1 condition. In conjunction with previous data, the present study suggests that the prevalence of long bouts increases with the proportion of reinforcers with FR5 requirement. These results suggest that bouts of different lengths are sensitive to the rate at which they are reinforced.
    September 17, 2015   doi: 10.1002/jeab.168   open full text
  • Emergent identity but not symmetry following successive olfactory discrimination training in rats.
    Ashley Prichard, Danielle Panoz‐Brown, Katherine Bruce, Mark Galizio.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 17, 2015
    The search for symmetry in nonhuman subjects has been successful in recent studies in pigeons (e.g., Urcuioli, 2008). The key to these successes has been the use of successive discrimination procedures and combined training on identity, as well as arbitrary, baseline relations. The present study was an effort to extend the findings and theoretical analysis developed by Urcuioli and his colleagues to rats using olfactory rather than visual stimuli. Experiment 1 was a systematic replication of Urcuioli's (2008) demonstration of symmetry in pigeons. Rats were exposed to unreinforced symmetry probes following training with two arbitrary and four identity conditional discriminations. Response rates on symmetry probe trials were low and provided little evidence for emergent symmetry in any of the seven rats tested. In Experiment 2, a separate group of six rats was trained on four identity relations and was then exposed to probe trials with four novel odor stimuli. Response rates were high on identity probe trials, and low on nonmatching probe trials. The similar patterns of responding on baseline and probe trials that were shown by most rats provided a demonstration of generalized identity matching. These findings suggest that the development of stimulus control topographies in rats with olfactory stimuli may differ from those that emerge in pigeons with visual stimuli. Urcuioli's (2008) theory has been highly successful in predicting conditions necessary for stimulus class formation in pigeons, but may not be sufficient to fully understand determinants of emergent behaviors in other nonhuman species.
    September 17, 2015   doi: 10.1002/jeab.169   open full text
  • The effects of tact training on the development of analogical reasoning.
    Caio F. Miguel, Sarah E. Frampton, Charisse A. Lantaya, Danielle L. LaFrance, Kelly Quah, Careen S. Meyer, Nassim C. Elias, Jonathan K. Fernand.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 17, 2015
    This study assessed whether tact training would establish analogies as measured by equivalence–equivalence relations. In Experiment 1, six college students were trained to tact “same” or “different” in the presence of AB and BC compounds based on component class membership (e.g., A1B1 as “same”, and A1B2 as “different”), and then tested on emergent tacts (BA, CB, AC, CA) and equivalence–equivalence relations. Only one of six participants passed all tests without remedial training. In Experiment 2, six college students were trained to tact only compounds belonging to the same class as “same”. Three of six participants passed all tests without remedial training. In Experiment 3, six college students were trained to tact stimuli belonging to the same class with a common name prior to exposure to relational tact training. All participants passed tests without remedial training. In Experiment 4, eight college students were trained to tact stimuli belonging to the same class with a common name. Six participants passed without remedial training, while two, who did not tact the relation of the compounds, did not. Results from these studies suggest that simple discrimination of individual components and their relation in the form of tacts is related with equivalence performance.
    September 17, 2015   doi: 10.1002/jeab.167   open full text
  • Effects of select and reject control on equivalence class formation and transfer of function.
    William F. Perez, Gerson Y. Tomanari, Manish Vaidya.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 01, 2015
    The present study used a single‐subject design to evaluate the effects of select or reject control on equivalence class formation and transfer of function. Adults were exposed to a matching‐to‐sample task with observing requirements (MTS‐OR) in order to bias the establishment of sample/S+ (select) or sample/S‐ (reject) relations. In Experiment 1, four sets of baseline conditional relations were taught—two under reject control (A1B2C1, A2B1C2) and two under select control (D1E1F1, D2E2F2). Participants were tested for transitivity, symmetry, equivalence and reflexivity. They also learned a simple discrimination involving one of the stimuli from the equivalence classes and were tested for the transfer of the discriminative function. In general, participants performed with high accuracy on all equivalence‐related probes as well as the transfer of function probes under select control. Under reject control, participants had high scores only on the symmetry test; transfer of function was attributed to stimuli programmed as S‐. In Experiment 2, the equivalence class under reject control was expanded to four members (A1B2C1D2; A2B1C2D1). Participants had high scores only on symmetry and on transitivity and equivalence tests involving two nodes. Transfer of function was extended to the programmed S‐ added to each class. Results from both experiments suggest that select and reject controls might differently affect the formation of equivalence classes and the transfer of stimulus functions.
    September 01, 2015   doi: 10.1002/jeab.164   open full text
  • Symmetry in the pigeon with sample and comparison stimuli in different locations. II.
    Melissa Swisher, Peter J. Urcuioli.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. July 28, 2015
    Pigeons were trained on arbitrary (hue‐form) and identity (hue‐hue and form‐form) successive matching with center‐key samples and left‐key comparisons. Later, they were tested on form‐hue (symmetry) probe trials that were structured either in the different‐locations fashion as the baseline trials (viz., center‐key samples and left‐key comparisons) or with a constant location by using center‐key samples and center‐key comparisons. Three of four pigeons showed symmetry when the probe‐trial samples and comparisons appeared in center‐ and left‐key spatial locations, respectively, but none did when both appeared in one (center‐key) location. Subsequently, pigeons previously tested with center‐key samples and left‐key comparisons were tested with those form‐hue stimuli shown in the same (center‐key) location, and vice versa for the other pigeons. None of the former pigeons showed symmetry on the second test even if they had on the first test. By contrast, two of three pigeons that had not shown symmetry with single‐location samples and comparisons did so when those stimuli appeared in different (center‐ vs. left‐key) locations. Taken together, these results show that symmetrical relations between the same, nominal matching stimuli depend on where those stimuli appear in testing vis‐à‐vis in training and, more generally, confirm that spatial location is part of the functional matching stimuli.
    July 28, 2015   doi: 10.1002/jeab.162   open full text
  • Concurrent performance as bouts of behavior.
    Tracy T. Smith, Anthony P. McLean, Richard L. Shull, Christine E. Hughes, Raymond C. Pitts.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. May 26, 2014
    Log‐survivor analyses of interresponse times suggest that the behavior of rats responding under single variable‐interval schedules is organized into bouts (i.e., periods of engagement and disengagement). Attempts to generalize this analysis to the key pecking in pigeons, however, have failed to produce the characteristic broken‐stick appearance typically obtained with rats. This failure may be due to a relatively low rate of reinforcement for engaging in alternative behavior experienced by pigeons. The present study tested this hypothesis by exposing four pigeons to concurrent schedules of reinforcement for key pecking, first without a changeover delay (COD) and then with a COD. In this arrangement, one of the concurrent options was treated as the target response and the rate of reinforcement for that option was manipulated across conditions. The other option provided explicit reinforcement for engaging in an alternative response (i.e., explicit reinforcement for disengaging from the target response). In the absence of a COD, log‐survivor plots for three of the pigeons were approximately linear, thus providing no evidence that responding was organized into bouts. When a COD was present, plots were broken stick in appearance, indicating a bout structure had been generated in the pigeons' behavior. Both bout length and the rate of bout initiations were a function of differences in rate of reinforcement. These data suggest that behavior may become organized into bouts when contingencies create sufficiently long visits to both the target behavior and the extraneous behavior. Fits of a double‐exponential model deviated systematically from the actual plots due to the presence of a plateau between the two limbs. An alternative, double‐gamma, model was explored, and it provided a considerably better fit than did the double‐exponential.
    May 26, 2014   doi: 10.1002/jeab.90   open full text
  • Compositions and their application to the analysis of choice.
    Greg Jensen.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. May 02, 2014
    Descriptions of steady‐state patterns of choice allocation under concurrent schedules of reinforcement have long relied on the “generalized matching law” (Baum, 1974), a log‐odds power function. Although a powerful model in some contexts, a series of conflicting empirical results have cast its generality in doubt. The relevance and analytic relevance of matching models can be greatly expanded by considering them in terms of compositions (Aitchison, 1986). A composition encodes a set of ratios (e.g., 5:3:2) as a vector with a constant sum, and this constraint (called closure) restricts the data to a nonstandard sample space. By exploiting this sample space, unbiased estimates of model parameters can be obtained to predict behavior given any number of choice alternatives. Additionally, the compositional analysis of choice provides tools that can accommodate both violations of scale invariance and unequal discriminability of stimuli signaling schedules of reinforcement. In order to demonstrate how choice data can be analyzed using the compositional approach, data from three previously published studies are reanalyzed. Additionally, new data is reported comparing matching behavior given four, six, and eight response alternatives.
    May 02, 2014   doi: 10.1002/jeab.89   open full text
  • Reinforcer magnitude and resistance to disruption of forgetting functions and response rates.
    Meredith S. Berry, Amy L. Odum.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. April 10, 2014
    The present experiment investigated the effects of reinforcer magnitude on resistance to disruption of remembering and response rates. Pigeons were exposed to a variable‐interval (VI), delayed‐matching‐to‐sample (DMTS) procedure with two components (rich and lean, distinguished by differing discriminative stimuli and hopper presentation duration). Completion of a VI 20 s schedule resulted in DMTS trials. In a DMTS trial, a choice of one of two comparison stimuli resulted in food if the choice matched the color of the previously presented sample stimulus. Separable aspects of the forgetting functions (initial discrimination and rate of forgetting) were examined by determining accuracy across a range of delays. Response rates and accuracy were higher in the rich relative to the lean component during baseline, and were more persistent during disruptors (extinction and prefeeding). During DMTS trials, extinction decreased initial discrimination more in the lean than the rich component, but had no systematic effect on rate of forgetting. During prefeeding, the rate of forgetting increased more in the lean than the rich component, but initial discrimination was not systematically affected. These results show persistence of response rates and remembering are positively related to reinforcer magnitude. The type of disruptor also influences the way in which remembering is disrupted.
    April 10, 2014   doi: 10.1002/jeab.86   open full text
  • Clinical translation of animal models of treatment relapse.
    Duncan Pritchard, Marguerite Hoerger, F. Charles Mace, Heather Penney, Brian Harris.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. April 04, 2014
    Behavioral Momentum Theory (BMT) has inspired animal models of treatment relapse. We translated the models of reinstatement and resurgence into clinical procedures to test whether relapse tests would replicate behavior pattern found in basic research. Following multiple schedule baseline reinforcement of a 16‐year‐old male's problem behavior at equal rates by two therapists, treatment was introduced using a variable‐interval, variable‐time (VI VT) schedule arrangement with therapists delivering reinforcers at different rates. Despite the differing rates of VI VT reinforcers, the treatment produced comparable reductions in problem behavior. Following successful treatment, the two therapists discontinued treatment and resumed reinforcement of problem behavior at equal rates that constituted a reinstatement of baseline conditions. As predicted by BMT, reinstatement resulted in an immediate return of high rates of problem behavior but was 2.6 times higher for the therapist using the higher rate VI VT treatment. A second treatment phase was implemented followed by a test of resurgence in a single extended extinction session conducted separately for each therapist. The unequal VI VT treatment rates by therapists resulted in 2.1 times greater responding in the resurgence test for the therapist who implemented the higher rate VI VT procedure. These results are consistent with basic research studies and BMT.
    April 04, 2014   doi: 10.1002/jeab.87   open full text
  • Signal functions in delayed discriminative stimulus control by reinforcement sources.
    Toshikazu Kuroda, Kennon A. Lattal.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. April 03, 2014
    The discriminative functions of the response–reinforcer relation may contribute to the changes in response rates that occur when reinforcement is delayed. These properties were investigated in three experiments with pigeons using a discrete‐trials conditional discrimination procedure. A concurrent variable‐interval schedule was arranged on two side keys during a sample component. The key peck that ended the schedule (the sample response) initiated a delay with either a stimulus present throughout the delay interval (full signal), a stimulus present only during the first second of the interval (partial signal), or no stimulus present (unsignaled delay). The delay was followed by a choice component where one alternative was reinforced if the left sample response produced the choice component and the other if the right sample response produced the choice component. Accuracy was high with a full signal; slightly lower with a partial signal; and lowest without a signal. The results parallel the effects of similar delays programmed in conventional reinforcement schedules. This in turn suggests a possible discriminative effect of the response–reinforcer relation in the control of behavior by (delayed) reinforcement.
    April 03, 2014   doi: 10.1002/jeab.85   open full text
  • Preference pulses without reinforcers.
    Anthony P. McLean, Randolph C. Grace, Raymond C. Pitts, Christine E. Hughes.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. March 27, 2014
    Preference pulses are thought to represent strong, short‐term effects of reinforcers on preference in concurrent schedules. However, the general shape of preference pulses is substantially determined by the distributions of responses‐per‐visit (visit lengths) for the two choice alternatives. In several series of simulations, we varied the means and standard deviations of distributions describing visits to two concurrently available response alternatives, arranged “reinforcers” according to concurrent variable‐interval schedules, and found a range of different preference pulses. Because characteristics of these distributions describe global aspects of behavior, and the simulations assumed no local effects of reinforcement, these preference pulses derive from the visit structure alone. This strongly questions whether preference pulses should continue to be interpreted as representing local effects of reinforcement. We suggest an alternative approach whereby local effects are assessed by subtracting the artifactual part, which derives from visit structure, from the observed preference pulses. This yields “residual” preference pulses. We illustrate this method in application to published data from mixed dependent concurrent schedules, revealing evidence that the delivery of reinforcers had modest lengthening effects on the duration of the current visit, a conclusion that is quantitatively consistent with early research on short‐term effects of reinforcement.
    March 27, 2014   doi: 10.1002/jeab.84   open full text
  • Landmine‐detection rats: An evaluation of reinforcement procedures under simulated operational conditions.
    Amanda Mahoney, Kate Lalonde, Timothy Edwards, Christophe Cox, Bart Weetjens, Alan Poling.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. March 27, 2014
    Because the location of landmines is initially unknown, it is impossible to arrange differential reinforcement for accurate detection of landmines by pouched rats working on actual minefields. Therefore, provision must be made for maintenance of accurate responses by an alternative reinforcement strategy. The present experiment evaluated a procedure in which a plastic bag containing 2,4,6‐trinitrotoluene (TNT), the active ingredient in most landmines, was placed in contact with the ground in a disturbed area, then removed, to establish opportunities for reinforcement. Each of five rats continued to accurately detect landmines when extinction was arranged for landmine‐detection responses and detections of TNT‐contaminated locations were reinforced under a fixed‐ratio 1 schedule. The results of this translational research study suggest that the TNT‐contamination procedure is a viable option for arranging reinforcement opportunities for rats engaged in actual landmine‐detection activities and the viability of this procedure is currently being evaluated on minefields in Angola and Mozambique.
    March 27, 2014   doi: 10.1002/jeab.83   open full text
  • Most domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) prefer food to petting: population, context, and schedule effects in concurrent choice.
    Erica N. Feuerbacher, Clive D. L. Wynne.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. March 18, 2014
    Previous research has indicated both petting (McIntire & Colley, 1967) and food (Feuerbacher & Wynne, 2012) have reinforcing effects on dog behavior and support social behavior towards humans (food: Elliot & King, 1960; social interaction: Brodbeck, 1954). Which type of interaction dogs prefer and which might produce the most social behavior from a dog has not been investigated. In the current study, we assessed how dogs allocated their responding in a concurrent choice between food and petting. Dogs received five 5‐min sessions each. In Session 1, both food and petting were continuously delivered contingent on the dog being near the person providing the respective consequence. Across the next three sessions, we thinned the food schedule to a Fixed Interval (FI) 15‐s, FI 1‐min, and finally extinction. The fifth session reversed back to the original food contingency. We tested owned dogs in familiar (daycare) and unfamiliar (laboratory room) environments, and with their owner or a stranger as the person providing petting. In general, dogs preferred food to petting when food was readily available and all groups showed sensitivity to the thinning food schedule by decreasing their time allocation to food, although there were group and individual differences in the level of sensitivity. How dogs allocated their time with the petting alternative also varied. We found effects of context, familiarity of the person providing petting, and relative deprivation from social interaction on the amount of time dogs allocated to the petting alternative.
    March 18, 2014   doi: 10.1002/jeab.81   open full text
  • Attentional tradeoffs in the pigeon.
    O. V. Vyazovska, Y. Teng, E. A. Wasserman.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. March 14, 2014
    We deployed the Multiple Necessary Cues (MNC) discrimination task to see if pigeons can simultaneously attend to four different dimensions of complex visual stimuli. Specifically, we trained nine pigeons (Columba livia) on a go/no go discrimination to peck only 1 of 16 compound stimuli created from all possible combinations of two stimulus values from four separable visual dimensions: shape (circle/square), size (large/small), line orientation (horizontal/vertical), and brightness (dark/light). Some of the pigeons had CLHD (circle, large, horizontal, dark) as the positive stimulus (S+), whereas others had SSVL (square, small, vertical, light) as the S+. We recorded touchscreen pecking during the first 15 s that each stimulus was presented on each training trial. Discrimination training continued until pigeons' rates of responding to all 15 negative stimuli (S‐s) fell to less than 15% of their response rates to the S+. All pigeons acquired the MNC discrimination, suggesting that they attended to all four dimensions of the multidimensional stimuli. Learning rate was similar for all four dimensions, indicating equivalent salience of the discriminative stimuli. The more dimensions along which the S‐s differed from the S+, the faster was discrimination learning, suggesting an added benefit from increasing perceptual disparities of the S‐s from the S+. Finally, evidence of attentional tradeoffs among the four dimensions was seen during discrimination learning, raising interesting questions concerning the possible control of behavior by elemental and configural stimuli.
    March 14, 2014   doi: 10.1002/jeab.82   open full text
  • Reconsidering the concept of behavioral mechanisms of drug action.
    Raymond C. Pitts.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. February 28, 2014
    A half‐century of research in behavioral pharmacology leaves little doubt that behavior–environment contingencies can determine the behavioral effects of drugs. Unfortunately, a coherent behavior‐analytic framework within which to characterize the myriad ways in which contingencies interact with drugs, and to predict effects of a given drug under a given set of conditions, still has not developed. Some behavioral pharmacologists have suggested the concept of behavioral mechanisms of drug action as a foundation for such a framework. The notion of behavioral mechanisms, however, does not seem to have been fully embraced by behavioral pharmacologists. It is suggested here that one reason for this is that the concept itself has not been sufficiently clarified (i.e., stimulus control over use of the phrase is not sufficiently precise). Furthermore, early behavioral pharmacologists may not have possessed an adequate set of analytic tools to develop a viable framework based upon behavior mechanisms. In the first part of this paper, the notion of behavioral mechanisms of drug action is explored, and the sort of data that might provide evidence of a behavioral mechanism is considered. In the second part, it is suggested that the increased availability of quantitative models in behavior analysis may help provide the tools needed for elucidating behavioral mechanisms of drug action. Some examples of how these models have been, and could be used are provided.
    February 28, 2014   doi: 10.1002/jeab.80   open full text
  • Choice, time and food: continuous cyclical changes in food probability between reinforcers.
    Ludmila Miranda‐Dukoski, Michael Davison, Douglas Elliffe.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. February 24, 2014
    The current experiment examined the degree to which locally varying food probabilities on two keys across time since food presentations can continue to control choice until the next food delivery. In two sets of conditions, the probability of food delivery being made available on one key relative to the other key varied sinusoidally across a 1‐min period following each food delivery. In Set 1, food‐probability changes were unsignaled and the number of cycles per min was varied across conditions. In Set 2, there were always two complete cycles of the sinusoid in the 1‐min period, and brief key‐color changes were arranged at a selection of fixed times since food delivery to signal portions of the sinusoid. In Set 1, control of choice by local probability of food on each key decreased over time since food delivery. Control by local food probabilities was greater in conditions that arranged fewer cycles per min. The onset of stimulus changes in Set 2 led to a transient reinstatement of local control by food probabilities regardless of the portion of the sinusoidal variation in food probabilities signaled by the stimuli. However, in conditions where the same colored stimuli signaled different portions of the sinusoidal variation in food‐delivery probabilities, stimulus changes attenuated joint control by elapsed time and food‐probability values. These results suggest that, changing relative food probabilities and stimuli can direct preference toward the likely location of the next food delivery across time since a food presentation, although the degree to which control over choice will be maintained across elapsed time depends on how experimenter‐arranged contingencies are mapped onto elapsed time.
    February 24, 2014   doi: 10.1002/jeab.79   open full text
  • Working with Nathan Azrin: A remembrance.
    Teodoro Ayllon.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. February 12, 2014
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    February 12, 2014   doi: 10.1002/jeab.78   open full text
  • Effects of predictability and competition on group and individual choice in a free‐ranging foraging environment.
    Lavinia Tan, Frank Sosa, Eric Talbot, Donald Berg, Dawniris Eversz, Timothy D. Hackenberg.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. February 05, 2014
    The present study examined the social foraging of rats in an open arena. The relative quantity of food varied across two food sources, or “patches.” Five food quantity ratios (1:1, 1:2, 1:8, 8:1, 2:1) were presented in a series of 30‐min sessions. Ratios varied randomly across 6‐min components within sessions (Phase 1), or in a consistent order across sessions (Phase 2). Group and individual preferences were well described by the ideal free distribution and the generalized matching law, respectively, with evidence of undermatching at both group and individual levels. Sensitivity of individual and collective behavior to the relative quantities of food was higher in Phase 2 than in Phase 1. Competitiveness rankings, assessed before and after experimental sessions by delivering food in rapid succession from a single feeder, was positively related to sensitivity values in Phase 1, but less consistently so in Phase 2. This study illustrates a promising experimental method for investigating foraging in a social context.
    February 05, 2014   doi: 10.1002/jeab.76   open full text
  • Stimulus control and generalization of remote behavioral history.
    Hiroto Okouchi, Kennon A. Lattal, Akira Sonoda, Taichi Nakamae.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. January 28, 2014
    Two experiments were conducted to assess stimulus control and generalization of remote behavioral history effects with humans. Undergraduates first responded frequently under a fixed‐ratio (FR) schedule in the presence of one line length (16 mm or 31 mm) and infrequently on a tandem FR 1 differential‐reinforcement‐of‐low‐rate (DRL) schedule when a second line length (31 mm or 16 mm) was present. Next, an FR 1 schedule in effect in the presence of either stimulus produced comparable response rates between the stimuli. Finally, a tandem FR 1 fixed‐interval (FI) schedule was in effect under those same stimuli (Experiment 1) or under 12 line lengths ranging from 7 to 40 mm (Experiment 2). In both experiments, responses under the tandem FR 1 FI schedule were frequent in the presence of stimuli previously correlated with the FR schedule and infrequent in the presence of stimuli previously correlated with the tandem FR 1 DRL schedule. Short‐lived but systematic generalization gradients were obtained in Experiment 2. These results show that previously established rates of behavior that disappear when the establishing contingencies are changed can subsequently not only reappear when the contingencies change, but are controlled by and generalize across antecedent stimuli.
    January 28, 2014   doi: 10.1002/jeab.75   open full text
  • Estradiol administration to ovariectomized rats potentiates mephedrone‐induced disruptions of nonspatial learning.
    Peter F. Weed, Stuart T. Leonard, Ananthakrishnan Sankaranarayanan, Peter J. Winsauer.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. January 21, 2014
    Mephedrone (4‐methylmethcathinone) has been found in several over‐the‐counter products that are abused by humans, but very little is known about its behavioral effects and abuse liability. The present study examined the effects of mephedrone (1–10 mg/kg) on learning in female rats, as well as its interaction with the ovarian hormone estradiol. More specifically, female rats were trained to respond under a multiple schedule of repeated acquisition and performance of response sequences and then ovariectomized. Following ovariectomy, mephedrone dose‐effect curves were obtained during periods of 17β‐estradiol administration and periods without estradiol administration. Unlike mephedrone, which was administered acutely (i.p.) before the experimental sessions, 17β‐estradiol was administered via subcutaneous Silastic capsules containing 25% 17β‐estradiol and 75% cholesterol. In general, mephedrone produced dose‐dependent rate‐decreasing and error‐increasing effects in the acquisition and performance components of the schedule in all subjects. However, when estradiol was present, three of the four rats were more sensitive to the rate‐decreasing effects of mephedrone, and all of the subjects were more sensitive to its error‐increasing effects. These data indicate that estradiol can potentiate the disruptive effects of mephedrone on both the acquisition and performance of complex behavior in female rats.
    January 21, 2014   doi: 10.1002/jeab.72   open full text
  • Behavioral functions of stimuli signaling transitions across rich and lean schedules of reinforcement.
    Jessica B. Everly, August F. Holtyn, Michael Perone.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. January 21, 2014
    On multiple fixed‐ratio schedules, pausing is extended at the start of a component ending in a small reinforcer (a lean component) but only when this component follows a component ending in a large reinforcer (a rich component). In two experiments, we assessed whether a stimulus correlated with a lean component is aversive and how its function is affected by the preceding component. In Experiment 1, pigeons responded on mixed fixed‐ratio schedules ending in large or small reinforcers. Observing responses converted the mixed schedule to a multiple one by producing a stimulus correlated with the current component. Overall, the lean stimulus did not suppress observing, suggesting that it was not sufficiently aversive. In Experiment 2, an escape procedure was used, and pigeons could convert a multiple schedule to a mixed one by pecking a key to remove the discriminative stimuli. Pigeons escaped from the lean‐schedule stimulus more than they did from the rich one. For two pigeons, this effect was enhanced when a rich component preceded the lean stimulus. The results indicate that a stimulus correlated with the leaner of two reinforcement schedules can acquire aversive functions, but observing and escape procedures may differ in their abilities to detect this effect.
    January 21, 2014   doi: 10.1002/jeab.74   open full text
  • Responding by exclusion in temporal discrimination tasks.
    Nathália Sabaine Cippola, Camila Domeniconi, Armando Machado.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. January 16, 2014
    Responding by exclusion, one of the most robust phenomena in Experimental Psychology, describes a particular form of responding observed in symbolic, matching‐to‐sample tasks. Given two comparison stimuli, one experimentally defined and one experimentally undefined, the participant prefers the undefined comparison following an undefined sample. The goal of the present study was to determine whether responding by exclusion could be obtained using samples that varied along a single dimension. Using a double temporal bisection task, 10 university students learned to choose visual comparisons (colored circles) based on the duration of a tone. In tests of exclusion, sample stimuli with new durations were followed by comparison sets that included one previously trained, defined comparison (colored circle) and one previously untrained, undefined comparison (geometric shape). Participants preferred the defined comparisons following the defined samples and the undefined comparisons following the undefined samples, the choice pattern typical of responding by exclusion. The use of samples varying along a single dimension allows us to study the interaction between stimulus generalization gradients and exclusion in the control of conditional responding.
    January 16, 2014   doi: 10.1002/jeab.71   open full text
  • Pausing as an operant: Choice and discriminated responding.
    Andrew R. Craig, Kennon A. Lattal, Ezra G. Hall.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. January 16, 2014
    The effects of intermittent schedules of reinforcement for pausing were evaluated in two experiments. In Experiment 1, across a series of conditions, a variable‐interval (VI) baseline schedule, in which pigeons' key pecks produced food, alternated with conditions in which food was delivered according to a concurrent VI (for key pecking) tandem variable‐time differential‐reinforcement‐of‐other‐behavior (DRO) 5‐s schedule. Time spent pausing within a session was proportional to the reinforcement rates associated with the tandem schedule. To examine the control of pausing by antecedent events, Experiment 2 arranged a multiple schedule in which pecking and pausing in either component were maintained according to concurrent schedules like those used in the first experiment. The availability of reinforcement for pausing was signaled in one component while signals uncorrelated with reinforcement were presented in the other. Signaled reinforcement for pausing, relative to the presentation of uncorrelated signals, decreased time spent pausing, a finding consistent with existing research on the effects of signaled VI reinforcement for key pecking in pigeons. The results of the two experiments show that pausing functions as an operant in much the same way that discrete responses, like key pecks, do, and that pausing and other operants are similarly affected by both antecedent and consequent events.
    January 16, 2014   doi: 10.1002/jeab.73   open full text
  • Choice with frequently changing food rates and food ratios.
    William M. Baum, Michael Davison.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. January 09, 2014
    In studies of operant choice, when one schedule of a concurrent pair is varied while the other is held constant, the constancy of the constant schedule may exert discriminative control over performance. In our earlier experiments, schedules varied reciprocally across components within sessions, so that while food ratio varied food rate remained constant. In the present experiment, we held one variable‐interval (VI) schedule constant while varying the concurrent VI schedule within sessions. We studied five conditions, each with a different constant left VI schedule. On the right key, seven different VI schedules were presented in seven different unsignaled components. We analyzed performances at several different time scales. At the longest time scale, across conditions, behavior ratios varied with food ratios as would be expected from the generalized matching law. At shorter time scales, effects due to holding the left VI constant became more and more apparent, the shorter the time scale. In choice relations across components, preference for the left key leveled off as the right key became leaner. Interfood choice approximated strict matching for the varied right key, whereas interfood choice hardly varied at all for the constant left key. At the shortest time scale, visit patterns differed for the left and right keys. Much evidence indicated the development of a fix‐and‐sample pattern. In sum, the procedural difference made a large difference to performance, except for choice at the longest time scale and the fix‐and‐sample pattern at the shortest time scale.
    January 09, 2014   doi: 10.1002/jeab.70   open full text
  • Effects of an acceptance/defusion intervention on experimentally induced generalized avoidance: A laboratory demonstration.
    Carmen Luciano, Sonsoles Valdivia‐Salas, Francisco J. Ruiz, Miguel Rodríguez‐Valverde, Dermot Barnes‐Holmes, Michael J. Dougher, Juan C. López‐López, Yvonne Barnes‐Holmes, Olga Gutierrez‐Martínez.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. December 20, 2013
    This study tests the effectiveness of an acceptance/defusion intervention in reducing experimentally induced generalized avoidance. After the formation of two 6‐member equivalence classes, 23 participants underwent differential conditioning with two elements from each class: A1 and B1 were paired with mild electric shock, whereas A2 and B2 were paired with earning points. Participants learned to produce avoidance and approach responses to these respective stimuli and subsequently showed transfer of functions to non‐directly conditioned equivalent stimuli from Class 1 (i.e., D1 and F1 evoked avoidance responses) and Class 2 (i.e., D2 and F2 evoked approach responses). Participants were then randomly assigned to either a motivational protocol (MOT) in which approaching previously avoided stimuli was given a general value, or to a defusion protocol (DEF) in which defusion (a component of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) was trained while approaching previously avoided stimuli was connected to personally meaningful examples. A post‐hoc control group (CMOT) was conducted with 16 participants to control for differences in protocol length between the former two groups. All participants in the DEF group showed a complete suppression of avoidance responding in the presence of Class 1 stimuli (A1–F1 and additional novel stimuli in relation to them), as compared to 40% of participants in the MOT condition and 20% in the CMOT condition. The acceptance/defusion protocol eliminated experimentally induced avoidance responding even for stimuli that elicited autonomic fear responses.
    December 20, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.68   open full text
  • Relational coherence in ambiguous and unambiguous relational networks.
    Jennifer L. Quinones, Steven C. Hayes.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. December 17, 2013
    Clinical theories often appeal to general cognitive styles in explaining psychopathology, but without describing in detail how the patterns are formed. In the present investigation, two experiments were conducted to examine how individuals respond to ambiguous relational networks. In both experiments, the participants learned two 3‐stimulus networks (A1 LESS THAN B1, A1 GREATER THAN C1 and A2 GREATER THAN B2, C2 LESS THAN A2). Participants were presented with test trials to examine if they classified the combinatorial relations (B1 ↔ C1 and B2 ↔ C2) as SAME or DIFFERENT and as GREATER THAN or LESS THAN. Although the B–C combinatorial relation in Network 1 is derivable in a readily coherent way (B1 GREATER THAN C1 and thus also B1 DIFFERENT C1), in Network 2 the combinatorial relation is ambiguous. When participants were required to specify the Network 2 B–C relation as either SAME or DIFFERENT, those who chose DIFFERENT, also consistently chose B2 as either GREATER THAN or LESS THAN C2. Conversely, those who classified the B–C relation as SAME were inconsistent within themselves in choosing B2 as GREATER THAN or LESS THAN C2. In Experiment 2, nonarbitrary multiple exemplar pretraining was used to bias SAME versus DIFFERENT as a response for ambiguous combinatorial relations. In accord with the pattern seen in Experiment 1, those biased toward DIFFERENT consistently chose a comparative relation between B2 and C2 while those biased toward SAME were inconsistent in their comparative choices. The findings provide support for the importance of history and coherence in establishing patterns of responding to ambiguous relational networks, providing a beginning behavioral model of cognitive styles and errors.
    December 17, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.67   open full text
  • Facilitating relational framing in children and individuals with developmental delay using the relational completion procedure.
    Sinead Walsh, Jennifer Horgan, Richard J. May, Simon Dymond, Robert Whelan.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. December 11, 2013
    The Relational Completion Procedure is effective for establishing same, opposite and comparative derived relations in verbally able adults, but to date it has not been used to establish relational frames in young children or those with developmental delay. In Experiment 1, the Relational Completion Procedure was used with the goal of establishing two 3‐member sameness networks in nine individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (eight with language delay). A multiple exemplar intervention was employed to facilitate derived relational responding when required. Seven of nine participants in Experiment 1 passed tests for derived relations. In Experiment 2, eight participants (all of whom, except one, had a verbal repertoire) were given training with the aim of establishing two 4‐member sameness networks. Three of these participants were typically developing young children aged between 5 and 6 years old, all of whom demonstrated derived relations, as did four of the five participants with developmental delay. These data demonstrate that it is possible to reliably establish derived relations in young children and those with developmental delay using an automated procedure.
    December 11, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.66   open full text
  • Six‐term transitive inference with pigeons: Successive‐pair training followed by mixed‐pair training.
    Carter W. Daniels, Jennifer R. Laude, Thomas R. Zentall.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. December 07, 2013
    In nonhuman animals, the transitive inference (TI) task typically involves training a series of four simultaneous discriminations involving, for example, arbitrary colors in which choice of one stimulus in each pair is reinforced [+] and choice of the other color is nonreinforced [−]. This can be represented as A+B−, B+C−, C+D−, D+E− and can be conceptualized as a series of linear relationships: A > B > C > D > E. After training, animals are tested on the untrained non‐endpoint pair, BD. Preference for B over D is taken as evidence of TI and occurs because B is greater than D in the implied series. In the present study we trained pigeons using a novel training procedure—a hybrid of successive pair training (training one pair at a time) and mixed‐pair training (training all pairs at once)—designed to overcome some of the limitations of earlier procedures. Using this hybrid procedure, we trained five premise pairs (A+B−, B+C−, C+D−, D+E−, and E+F−) which allowed us to test three untrained non‐endpoint pairs (BD, CE, and BE). A significant TI effect was found for most subjects on at least two out of three test pairs. Different theories of TI are discussed. The results suggest that this hybrid training is an efficient procedure for establishing mixed‐pair acquisition and a TI effect.
    December 07, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.65   open full text
  • Hierarchical classification as relational framing.
    Brian Slattery, Ian Stewart.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. December 06, 2013
    The purpose of this study was to model hierarchical classification as contextually controlled, generalized relational responding or relational framing. In Experiment 1, a training procedure involving nonarbitrarily related multidimensional stimuli was used to establish two arbitrary shapes as contextual cues for ‘member of’ and ‘includes’ relational responding, respectively. Subsequently those cues were used to establish a network of arbitrary stimuli in particular hierarchical relations with each other, and then test for derivation of further untrained hierarchical relations as well as for transformation of functions. Resultant patterns of relational framing showed properties of transitive class containment, asymmetrical class containment, and unilateral property induction, consistent with conceptions of hierarchical classification as described within the cognitive developmental literature. Experiment 2 extended the basic model by using “fuzzy category” stimuli and providing a better controlled test of transformation of functions. Limitations and future research directions are discussed.
    December 06, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.63   open full text
  • Associative concept learning, stimulus equivalence, and relational frame theory: Working out the similarities and differences between human and nonhuman behavior.
    Sean Hughes, Dermot Barnes‐Holmes.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. November 19, 2013
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    November 19, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.60   open full text
  • “Associative concept learning in animals” by Zentall, Wasserman, and Urcuioli: A commentary.
    William J. McIlvane.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. November 19, 2013
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    November 19, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.59   open full text
  • Meaning is more than associations: Relational operants and the search for derived relations in nonhumans.
    Simon Dymond.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. November 19, 2013
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    November 19, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.57   open full text
  • Merging separately established stimulus classes with outcome‐specific reinforcement.
    Cammarie Johnson, Olga Meleshkevich, William V. Dube.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. November 19, 2013
    This study extended previous research on equivalence relations established with outcome‐specific reinforcers to include the merger of separately established stimulus classes. Participants were four adults. Conditional discriminations AC and BC were trained first. Correct selections of C1 (C2, or C3) in the presence of A1 or B1 (A2 or B2, or A3 or B3) were followed by red (blue, or white) tokens; tokens were exchanged for value added to three participant‐selected gift cards. Outcomes on equivalence tests for three‐member classes ABC were positive. DF and EF were trained with the same reinforcing consequences, and tests were positive for three‐member classes DEF. Results of class merger tests with combinations of stimuli from the ABC and DEF classes (AD, FB, etc.) were immediately positive for two participants, demonstrating six‐member classes ABCDEF with reinforcers as nodes. Merger tests for a third participant were initially negative but became positive after brief exposure to unreinforced probe trials with reinforcers as comparison stimuli. Following class merger, tests for matching the reinforcers to samples and comparisons were also positive. Class‐merger test results were negative for a fourth participant. The results provide the first demonstration of eight‐member equivalence classes including two outcome‐specific conditioned reinforcing stimuli.
    November 19, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.61   open full text
  • Rapid generation of balanced trial distributions for discrimination learning procedures: A technical note.
    Christophe J. Gerard, Harry A. Mackay, Brooks Thompson, William J. McIlvane.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. November 19, 2013
    We describe novel computer algorithms for rapid, sometimes virtually instantaneous generation of trial sequences needed to instrument many behavioral research procedures. Implemented on typical desktop or laptop computers, the algorithms impose constraints to forestall development of undesired stimulus control by position, recent trial outcomes, and other variables that could impede simple and conditional discrimination learning. They yield trial‐by‐trial lists of sequences that can serve (1) as inputs to procedure control software or (2) in generating templates for constructing sessions for implementation by hand or machine.
    November 19, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.58   open full text
  • Discounting of delayed and probabilistic losses over a wide range of amounts.
    Leonard Green, Joel Myerson, Luís Oliveira, Seo Eun Chang.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. November 06, 2013
    The present study examined delay and probability discounting of hypothetical monetary losses over a wide range of amounts (from $20 to $500,000) in order to determine how amount affects the parameters of the hyperboloid discounting function. In separate conditions, college students chose between immediate payments and larger, delayed payments and between certain payments and larger, probabilistic payments. The hyperboloid function accurately described both types of discounting, and amount of loss had little or no systematic effect on the degree of discounting. Importantly, the amount of loss also had little systematic effect on either the rate parameter or the exponent of the delay and probability discounting functions. The finding that the parameters of the hyperboloid function remain relatively constant across a wide range of amounts of delayed and probabilistic loss stands in contrast to the robust amount effects observed with delayed and probabilistic rewards. At the individual level, the degree to which delayed losses were discounted was uncorrelated with the degree to which probabilistic losses were discounted, and delay and probability loaded on two separate factors, similar to what is observed with delayed and probabilistic rewards. Taken together, these findings argue that although delay and probability discounting involve fundamentally different decision‐making mechanisms, nevertheless the discounting of delayed and probabilistic losses share an insensitivity to amount that distinguishes it from the discounting of delayed and probabilistic gains.
    November 06, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.56   open full text
  • Associative concept learning in animals.
    Thomas R. Zentall, Edward A. Wasserman, Peter J. Urcuioli.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. October 29, 2013
    Nonhuman animals show evidence for three types of concept learning: perceptual or similarity‐based in which objects/stimuli are categorized based on physical similarity; relational in which one object/stimulus is categorized relative to another (e.g., same/different); and associative in which arbitrary stimuli become interchangeable with one another by virtue of a common association with another stimulus, outcome, or response. In this article, we focus on various methods for establishing associative concepts in nonhuman animals and evaluate data documenting the development of associative classes of stimuli. We also examine the nature of the common within‐class representation of samples that have been associated with the same reinforced comparison response (i.e., many‐to‐one matching) by describing manipulations for distinguishing possible representations. Associative concepts provide one foundation for human language such that spoken and written words and the objects they represent become members of a class of interchangeable stimuli. The mechanisms of associative concept learning and the behavioral flexibility it allows, however, are also evident in the adaptive behaviors of animals lacking language.
    October 29, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.55   open full text
  • Optimal and nonoptimal choice in a laboratory‐based sunk cost task with humans: A cross‐species replication.
    Anne C. Macaskill, Timothy D. Hackenberg.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. October 08, 2013
    The current four experiments examined the sunk cost effect—nonoptimal persistence following investment—in a laboratory‐based decision‐making task with adult humans. Subjects made repeated decisions about whether to persist in a course of action—a fixed‐ratio schedule whose response requirements varied unpredictably from one trial to the next—or to abandon it and escape in favor of a new trial with a potentially smaller fixed ratio schedule. Satisfying the ratio requirement produced a brief video clip from a preferred television program. In Experiment 1, sunk‐cost errors were less likely in subjects who had previously experienced markedly differential reinforcement for escape. In Experiment 2, stimulus changes correlated with changes in mean response requirement, and these changes reduced sunk‐cost errors in a small number of subjects. In Experiment 3, sunk‐cost errors occurred more frequently as the ratio of the mean response requirements for persistence and escape approached 1.0. The importance of this variable was further supported by the results of Experiment 4, in which features other than this ratio did not markedly alter performance. These four experiments identified some key determinants of whether humans commit the sunk‐cost error and confirmed the utility of video clips as reinforcers in experimental research with humans.
    October 08, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.52   open full text
  • Combined effects of food deprivation and food frequency on the amount and temporal distribution of schedule‐induced drinking.
    José Luis Castilla, Ricardo Pellón.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. October 04, 2013
    Under intermittent food schedules animals develop temporally organized behaviors throughout interfood intervals, with behaviors early in the intervals (interim) normally occurring in excess. Schedule‐induced drinking (a prototype of interim, adjunctive behavior) is related to food deprivation and food frequency. This study investigated the interactions that resulted from combining different food‐deprivation levels (70%, 80% or 90% free‐feeding weights) with different food‐occurrence frequencies (15‐, 30‐ or 60‐s interfood intervals) in a within‐subjects design. Increases in food deprivation and food frequency generally led to increased licking, with greater differences due to food deprivation as interfood intervals became shorter. Distributions of licking were modestly shifted to later in the interfood interval as interfood intervals lengthened, a result that was most marked under 90% food deprivation, which also resulted in flatter distributions. It would therefore appear that food deprivation modulates the licking rate and the distribution of licking in different ways. Effects of food deprivation and food frequency are adequately explained by a theory of adjunctive behavior based on delayed food reinforcement, in contrast to alternative hypotheses.
    October 04, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.53   open full text
  • Information: Theory, brain, and behavior.
    Greg Jensen, Ryan D. Ward, Peter D. Balsam.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. October 04, 2013
    In the 65 years since its formal specification, information theory has become an established statistical paradigm, providing powerful tools for quantifying probabilistic relationships. Behavior analysis has begun to adopt these tools as a novel means of measuring the interrelations between behavior, stimuli, and contingent outcomes. This approach holds great promise for making more precise determinations about the causes of behavior and the forms in which conditioning may be encoded by organisms. In addition to providing an introduction to the basics of information theory, we review some of the ways that information theory has informed the studies of Pavlovian conditioning, operant conditioning, and behavioral neuroscience. In addition to enriching each of these empirical domains, information theory has the potential to act as a common statistical framework by which results from different domains may be integrated, compared, and ultimately unified.
    October 04, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.49   open full text
  • Attention and psychophysics in the development of stimulus control.
    Blake A. Hutsell, Eric A. Jacobs.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 30, 2013
    Rats responded in a six‐stimulus, two‐response temporal classification procedure. A successive‐reversal design was used in which the relationship between stimulus class (short vs. long) and correct comparison location (left or right) reversed every 15 sessions. After several reversals, the relative probability of reinforcement for each correct classification was manipulated across subsequent reversals. In each condition, the asymptotic level of preference for the comparison location (response bias) correlated with the greater probability of reinforcement was demonstrated in the first session following a reversal, whereas discrimination accuracy took several more sessions to return to asymptotic levels. A modified version of the attending‐augmented Davison‐Nevin‐Alsop (Davison & Nevin, 1999) model offered by Nevin, Davison, & Shahan (2005) provided an accurate description of the reacquisition data. The comparison‐attending parameters remained high and relatively constant following reversals, while sample‐attending parameters initially decreased following reversals, and then increased gradually across sessions. These findings support key assumptions of the attending model; sample‐ and comparison‐attending are independent processes that modulate the expression of discriminative control exerted by those stimuli over operant behavior.
    September 30, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.54   open full text
  • Concurrent identity training is not necessary for associative symmetry in successive matching.
    Heloísa Cursi Campos, Peter J. Urcuioli, Melissa Swisher.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 30, 2013
    Pigeons demonstrate associative symmetry after successive matching training on one arbitrary and two identity relations (e.g., Urcuioli, 2008). Here, we tested whether identity matching training is necessary for this emergent effect. In Experiment 1, one group of pigeons (Dual Oddity) learned hue–form arbitrary matching and two oddity relations which shared sample and comparison elements with the arbitrary relations. A second (Control) group learned the same hue–form matching task and a second (form–hue) arbitrary task which, together with hue oddity, shared only the samples with the hue–form relations. On subsequent symmetry probe trials, four Dual Oddity pigeons exhibited higher probe‐trial response rates on the reverse of the positive than negative hue–form baseline trials, demonstrating associative symmetry. None of the Control pigeons, on the other hand, exhibited associative symmetry. Experiment 2 showed that subsequently changing one of the two oddity baseline relations to identity matching in the Dual Oddity group yielded antisymmetry in three of five pigeons. These results are consistent with predictions derived from Urcuioli's (Urcuioli, 2008) theory of pigeons' stimulus class formation and demonstrate that identity training is not necessary for associative symmetry to emerge after arbitrary matching training in pigeons.
    September 30, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.51   open full text
  • Effects of reinforcer magnitude on reinforced behavioral variability.
    Adam H. Doughty, Kenneth G. Giorno, Hannah L. Miller.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 30, 2013
    Eight pigeons were exposed to a two‐component multiple schedule. In each component, four‐peck sequences across left and right keys were reinforced according to a variability threshold contingency. In one condition, only infrequently occurring response sequences were reinforced in each component, thereby generating highly variable sequences. In a separate condition, when the variability threshold contingency was lenient in each component, sequences were much less variable. In each condition, reinforcer magnitude was manipulated across components, and the larger reinforcer magnitude produced less variability than the smaller reinforcer magnitude. These results suggest that larger reinforcers hinder the reinforcement of behavioral variability. The results are interpretable in terms of the larger reinforcer inducing a greater level of behavioral repetition, particularly as the time to reinforcement was approached. This effect may have implications for reinforcing behavioral variability in humans.
    September 30, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.50   open full text
  • Delayed reinforcement and fixed‐ratio performance.
    David P. Jarmolowicz, Kennon A. Lattal.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 13, 2013
    Effects of delayed reinforcement on fixed‐ratio (FR) maintained responding of pigeons were investigated. In Experiments 1–3, the delay of reinforcement was increased across successive sessions until pigeons paused for 300 s. Both signaled and unsignaled delays were studied across different conditions. Overall response rates and run rates (timed from the first to last response of a ratio) decreased and postreinforcement pauses increased as delays increased in each experiment. As delays increased, the likelihood of pausing during a ratio run also increased. When these measures were plotted as a function of obtained delays, signaled delays had less of an effect on the above measures than did unsignaled ones. In Experiment 2, delays had a greater effect on the above measures than did a control condition arranging equivalent interreinforcer intervals to those accompanying the delays. Experiments 3 and 4 examined the generality of the effects obtained in the first two experiments. In Experiment 3, delays imposed on FR or yoked‐interval schedules had similar behavioral effects. In Experiment 4, effects similar to those found in Experiments 1–3 for 1, 10, and 20‐s delays imposed on FR 50 schedules were found when the FR requirement increased across sessions. Despite the different contingencies relating response rate and reinforcement rates on interval and ratio schedules, delays of reinforcement generally affect performance on these schedules similarly.
    September 13, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.48   open full text
  • Tolerance to cocaine's effects following chronic administration of a dose without detected effects on response rate or pause.
    Vanessa Minervini, Marc N. Branch.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. September 09, 2013
    To observe tolerance to drug effects on operant behavior, the dose that researchers have often selected for chronic administration is one that disrupts, but does not abolish, responding. Some evidence suggests that tolerance may develop after chronic administration of relatively smaller doses. The purpose of the present experiment was to assess systematically effects of chronic administration of a dose without detected effect on responding. Specifically, response rates and post‐reinforcement pauses of five pigeons key pecking under a three‐component multiple fixed‐ratio schedule of food reinforcement were observed under chronic cocaine administration. We evaluated the effects of a range of doses (1.0 mg/kg to 17.0 mg/kg) during acute administration. The largest dose that failed to alter responding acutely then was administered chronically (1.0 mg/kg for 1 pigeon, 3.0 mg/kg for 3 pigeons, and 5.6 mg/kg for 1 pigeon). After 30 consecutive sessions of chronic administration, smaller and larger doses occasionally were substituted for the chronic dose. Pigeons then received pre‐session saline administration for 30 consecutive sessions, and the post‐chronic effects of the series of doses on responding were determined. All subjects developed tolerance to doses of cocaine that initially had caused large decreases in rate, with the magnitude of the effects varying across components of the multiple schedule and subjects. Specifically, tolerance generally was greatest in the components with smaller ratios. Following post‐chronic saline administration, tolerance was usually diminished. Overall, the results demonstrate that under these conditions, repeated experience with disruptive effects of cocaine on food‐maintained responding is not a necessary factor in the development of tolerance.
    September 09, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.47   open full text
  • Delay discounting of monetary rewards over a wide range of amounts.
    Leonard Green, Joel Myerson, Luís Oliveira, Seo Eun Chang.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. August 27, 2013
    The present study examined delay discounting of hypothetical monetary rewards over a wide range of amounts (from $20 to $10 million) in order to determine how reward amount affects the parameters of the hyperboloid discounting function and to compare fits of the hyperboloid model with fits of two discounting models used in neuroeconomics: the quasi‐hyperbolic and the double‐exponential. Of the three models assessed, the hyperboloid provided the best fit to the delay discounting data. The present delay discounting results may be compared to those of a previous study on probability discounting (Myerson, Green, & Morris, 2011) that used the same extended range of amounts. The hyperboloid function accurately described both types of discounting, but reward amount had opposite effects on the degree of discounting. Importantly, the amount of delayed reward affected the rate parameter of the hyperboloid discounting function but not its exponent, whereas the opposite was true for the amount of probabilistic reward. The finding that the exponent of the hyperboloid discounting function remains relatively constant across a wide range of delayed amounts provides strong support for a psychophysical scaling interpretation, and stands in stark contrast to the finding that the exponent of the hyperboloid function increases with the amount of probabilistic reward. Taken together, these findings argue that delay and probability discounting involve fundamentally different decision‐making mechanisms.
    August 27, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.45   open full text
  • Punishing and cardiovascular effects of intravenous histamine in rats: Pharmacological selectivity.
    Christopher A. Podlesnik, Corina Jimenez‐Gomez.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. August 26, 2013
    Although drugs may serve as reinforcers or punishers of operant behavior, the punishing function has received much less experimental attention than the reinforcing function. A sensitive method for studying drug‐induced punishment is to assess choice for a punished response over an unpunished response. In these experiments, rats chose between pressing one lever and receiving a sucrose pellet or pressing another lever and receiving a sucrose pellet plus an intravenous injection of histamine. When sucrose was delivered equally frequently for either the punished or the unpunished response, rats selected the unpunished lever consistently, but decreases in the punished response did not differ as a function of intravenous histamine dose (0.1–1 mg/kg/inj). Changing the procedure so that sucrose was delivered on the unpunished lever with p = .5 increased the rats' responding on the punished lever with saline injections. In addition, the same range of histamine doses produced a much larger range of responses on the punished lever that was dose dependent. Using these procedures to assess the receptors mediating histamine's effects, the histamine H1‐receptor antagonists, pyrilamine and ketotifen, antagonized the punishing effect of histamine, but the histamine H2‐receptor antagonist ranitidine did not. However, ranitidine pretreatments reduced histamine‐induced heart‐rate increases to a greater extent than did the histamine H1‐receptor antagonists when administered at the same doses examined under conditions of histamine punishment. Overall, the present findings extend the general hypothesis that activation of histamine H1‐receptors mediates the punishing effects of histamine. They also introduce methods for rapidly assessing pharmacological mechanisms underlying drug‐induced punishment.
    August 26, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.46   open full text
  • Varying the costs of sunk costs: Optimal and non‐optimal choices in a sunk‐cost task with humans.
    Raul Avila, Rachelle L. Yankelevitz, Juan C. Gonzalez, Timothy D. Hackenberg.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. August 23, 2013
    Twelve adult human subjects were exposed to a sunk‐cost procedure with two options: a mixed‐ratio schedule of points later exchangeable for money, and an escape schedule that cancelled the current trial and initiated a new one. The mixed ratio included four values, arranged probabilistically in such a way that the expected ratios favored either persistence or escape. These probabilities were varied systematically on a within‐subject basis across conditions. Absolute ratio size was thus varied across four groups of three subjects each, yielding unique combinations of expected ratios from escaping and persisting. When the differences between escaping and persisting differed the least, subjects tended to persist, committing the sunk‐cost error. When the differences between persisting and escaping differed by a larger margin, choice patterns tended toward optimal—escaping or persisting as a function of the contingencies. These findings demonstrate that sunk‐cost decision‐making errors in humans are sensitive to their relative costs and benefits, and illustrate a promising set of methods for bringing such behavior under experimental control in the laboratory.
    August 23, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.42   open full text
  • Effects of changeover delay on response allocation during probe tests.
    Margaret A. McDevitt, Matthew C. Bell.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. August 23, 2013
    The present study assessed whether a pattern of responding that develops when choosing between two alternatives generalizes to novel choice tests when alternatives are presented in new combinations. Pigeons were trained on a two‐component multiple schedule. In both components, a concurrent variable‐interval (VI) 40‐s VI 80‐s schedule was used. The COD was 1 s in one component and 10 s in the other. The long COD produced consistently longer dwell times than the short COD did. Following training, subjects were presented with four types of probe‐test components in which one alternative was drawn from the component with the short COD and one alternative was drawn from the component with the long COD. When the schedule values of the two alternatives were identical (VI 40 vs. VI 40 and VI 80 vs. VI 80), subjects preferred the alternative trained with the long COD (Ms = .78 and .61, respectively). Additionally, subjects preferred the VI 40‐s alternative trained with the long COD to the VI 80‐s alternative that was trained with the short COD (M = .85). Systematic preference was not observed when subjects were given a choice between the VI 40‐s alternative that was trained with the short COD and the VI 80‐s alternative that was trained with the long COD. These results demonstrate that a stimulus associated with a longer COD, and thus longer dwell times in baseline training, may be more preferred during probe tests than expected on the basis of the rate of primary reinforcement associated with that stimulus.
    August 23, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.44   open full text
  • Concurrent schedules: Discriminating reinforcer‐ratio reversals at a fixed time after the previous reinforcer.
    Sarah Cowie, Douglas Elliffe, Michael Davison.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. August 13, 2013
    Six pigeons worked on concurrent exponential variable‐interval schedules in which the relative frequency of food deliveries for responding on the two alternatives reversed at a fixed time after each food delivery. Across conditions, the point of food–ratio reversal was varied from 10 s to 30 s, and the overall reinforcer rate was varied from 1.33 to 4 per minute. The effect of rate of food delivery and food–ratio‐reversal time on choice and response rates was small. In all conditions, postfood choice was toward the locally richer key, regardless of the last‐food location. Unlike the local food ratio which changed in a stepwise fashion, local choice changed according to a decelerating monotonic function, becoming substantially less extreme than the local food ratio soon after food delivery. This deviation in choice appeared to result from the birds' inaccurate discrimination of the time of food deliveries; local choice was described well by a model that assumed that log response ratios matched food ratios that were redistributed across surrounding time bins with mean time t and a constant coefficient of variation. We suggest that local choice is controlled by the likely availability of food in time, and that choice matches the discriminated log of the ratio of food rates across time since the last food delivery.
    August 13, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.43   open full text
  • Briefly delayed reinforcement effects on variable‐ratio and yoked‐interval schedule performance.
    August F. Holtyn, Kennon A. Lattal.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. July 30, 2013
    Most investigations of briefly delayed reinforcement have involved schedules that arrange a time‐plus‐response requirement. The present experiment examined whether briefly delaying reinforcement on schedules that have a ratio requirement differs from results with schedules that have a time‐plus‐response requirement. Four pigeons responded on a two‐component multiple schedule. One component arranged a variable‐ratio (VR) 50 and the other a variable‐interval (VI) schedule in which the distribution of reinforcers was yoked to the preceding VR schedule. Across a series of conditions, delays were imposed in both schedules. These delays were brief (0.25‐ or 0.5‐s) unsignaled delays and, as control conditions, a 5‐s unsignaled delay and a 0.5‐s delay signaled by a blackout of the chamber. In the yoked‐VI component, the brief unsignaled delay increased response rates in six of nine opportunities and increased the proportion of short interresponse times (IRTs) (<0.4 s) in eight of nine opportunities. In the VR component, the brief unsignaled delay increased response rates and the proportion of short IRTs in only two of nine opportunities. For two of the three pigeons that were exposed to the 5‐s unsignaled delay, response rates and the proportion of short IRTs decreased in both of the components. The 0.5‐s signaled delay did not systematically change response rates nor did it change the distribution of short IRTs relative to the immediate reinforcement condition. The results replicate effects reported with time‐based schedules and extend these observations by showing that changes commonly observed in VI performance with briefly delayed reinforcement are not characteristic of VR responding.
    July 30, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.41   open full text
  • Law of effect models and choice between many alternatives.
    Michael Alexander Navakatikyan, Paul Murrell, Joshua Bensemann, Michael Davison, Douglas Elliffe.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. July 29, 2013
    Data from five experiments on choice between more than two variable‐interval schedules were modeled with different equations for the Law of Effect. Navakatikyan's (2007) component‐functions models with three, four and five free parameters were compared with Stevens' (1957), Herrnstein's (1970) and Davison and Hunter's (1976) equations. These latter models are consistent with the generalized‐matching principle, whereas Navakatikyan's models are not. Navakatikyan's models performed better or on par with their competitors, especially in predicting residence‐time data and generalized‐matching sensitivities for time allocation. The models described well an observed decrease, in several of these data sets, in generalized‐matching sensitivity between two alternatives when reinforcer rate increased on the other alternatives. Models built on the generalized‐matching principle cannot do this. Navakatikyan's models also performed better, though to a lesser extent, than their competitors for data sets that are not obviously inconsistent with generalized matching.
    July 29, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.37   open full text
  • Pigeon responding in fixed‐interval and response‐initiated fixed‐interval schedules.
    Adam E. Fox, Elizabeth G. E. Kyonka.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. July 29, 2013
    In fixed‐interval (FI) and response‐initiated fixed‐interval (RIFI) schedules of reinforcement, a response is required after an interval has elapsed for delivery of reinforcement. In RIFI schedules, a response is required to initiate each interval as well. The objective of this experiment was a systematic comparison of performance in the two schedule types over a range of interval durations. Four pigeons were exposed to FI and RIFI schedules of 15, 30, 60, 120 and 240 s. Interfood intervals were longer and more variable in RIFI than corresponding FI schedules. In addition, response rates early in the RIFI schedules were higher than in corresponding FI schedules. However, the distribution of first‐response latencies, mean breakpoints, and normalized response gradients suggest that temporal discrimination was equivalent in the two schedules.
    July 29, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.38   open full text
  • Computational model of selection by consequences: Patterns of preference change on concurrent schedules.
    Saule Kulubekova, J. J McDowell.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. July 29, 2013
    The computational model of selection by consequences is an ontogenetic dynamic account of adaptive behavior based on the Darwinian principle of selection by consequences. The model is a virtual organism based on a genetic algorithm, a class of computational algorithms that instantiate the principles of selection, fitness, reproduction and mutation. The computational model has been thoroughly tested in experiments with a variety of single alternative and concurrent schedules. A number of published reports demonstrate that the model generates patterns of behavior that are quantitatively equivalent to the findings from live organisms. The experiments and analyses in this study assess the behavior of the computational model for evidence of preference change phenomena in environments with rapidly changing reinforcement rate ratios. Molar and molecular effects of behavioral adjustment were consistent with those observed in live organisms. The results of this study provide strong evidence supporting the selectionist account of adaptive behavior.
    July 29, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.40   open full text
  • Multiple contextual control over non‐arbitrary relational responding and a preliminary model of pragmatic verbal analysis.
    Ian Stewart, Kate Barrett, Louise McHugh, Dermot Barnes‐Holmes, Denis O'Hora.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. July 23, 2013
    The aims of the current study were (i) to explore the flexibility and generalizability of non‐arbitrary relational contextual control in human participants and (ii) to provide a simple empirical model of pragmatic verbal analysis, a key element in the relational frame theory approach to problem solving. Participants were trained to respond to abstract shapes as cues for responding in accordance with non‐arbitrary relations of sameness, difference and opposition. Next, sameness, difference and opposition relational responding was brought under additional contextual control by arbitrary B1–B3 stimuli, such that, depending on the B stimulus presented, relational responding was applied to one of three distinct physical dimensions of multidimensional shapes. Equivalence training and testing was then provided such that participants showed derived relations between the B stimuli and three novel arbitrary C stimuli. Two additional cues were then trained such that they occasioned comparative (more/less) relations. A final test showed that the C stimuli exerted contextual control over physical dimensions in the novel context of more/less/same non‐arbitrary relational responding. These findings provide a simple, preliminary model of pragmatic verbal analysis.
    July 23, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.39   open full text
  • Flash rate discrimination in rats: Rate bisection and generalization peak shift.
    Andrew T. Fox, John R. Smethells, Mark P. Reilly.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. July 22, 2013
    Two experiments were conducted to determine whether responding by albino rats can be brought under the stimulus control of different flash rates. In the first experiment, a conditional discrimination procedure was employed whereby two different flash rates (fast or slow) signaled the availability of reinforcement on one of two levers (left or right). Stimulus control emerged rapidly and improved with continued training. When intermediate flash rates were presented during probe sessions, the bisection point of the fast and slow flash rates was near their geometric mean, consistent with research employing other stimulus types. In the second experiment, a successive discrimination procedure was employed whereby responding in the presence of one flash rate (S+) was reinforced while responding in the presence of another flash rate (S−) was not reinforced. Again, stimulus control emerged quickly and improved with continued training. Test sessions in which many different flash rates were presented for brief periods in extinction revealed the peak shift phenomenon, in which peak response rates are shifted from the S+ in a direction away from the S−. Flash rate is endorsed as a continuous stimulus dimension that is useful for differentially signaling schedule components.
    July 22, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.36   open full text
  • Comparative cognition: An approach whose time has come.
    Thomas R. Zentall.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. June 26, 2013
    The functional approach to comparative cognition research is exemplified by Shettleworth's (2010) book Cognition, Evolution, and Behavior. In this book, Shettleworth brings together the evolutionary perspective of behavioral ecology, the relative simplicity of behavior analysis, and the diverse research programs of cognitive psychology. This approach does not avoid the use of cognitive terminology but uses it to generate testable hypotheses that have the potential to provide evidence for or against the cognitive hypothesis. Unlike behavioral ecology and cognitive psychology, this approach postulates contingency learning as the default account of behavior but tests cognitive hypotheses against the default alternative. In this review, I present the results of three lines of research as examples of the kind of research that has been used to test cognitive hypotheses: functional equivalence, cognitive mapping, and rehearsal processes, all of which are covered by Shettleworth. In each case, I would argue that these experiments would not have been conducted had it not been for the hypothesis that a cognitive process might be involved. Whether or not evidence is found for the existence of a cognitive process, the results of such experiments are of interest for what they tell us about behavior as well as for their heuristic value.
    June 26, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.35   open full text
  • Matching‐to‐sample performance is better analyzed in terms of a four‐term contingency than in terms of a three‐term contingency.
    Brent M. Jones, Douglas M. Elliffe.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. May 31, 2013
    Four pigeons performed a simultaneous matching‐to‐sample (MTS) task involving two samples and two comparisons that differed in their pixel density and luminance. After a long history of reinforcers for correct responses after both samples, 15 conditions arranged either continuous reinforcement of correct responses after Sample 1 and extinction for all responses after Sample 2, or vice versa. The sample after which correct responses were reinforced alternated across successive conditions. The disparity between the samples and the disparity between the comparisons were varied independently across conditions in a quasifactorial design. Contrary to predictions of extant quantitative models, which assume that MTS tasks involve two 3‐term contingencies of reinforcement, matching accuracies were not at chance levels in these conditions, comparison–selection ratios differed after the two samples, and effects on matching accuracies of both sample disparity and comparison disparity were observed. These results were, however, consistent with ordinal and sometimes quantitative predictions of Jones' (2003) theory of stimulus and reinforcement effects in MTS tasks. This theory asserts that MTS tasks involve four‐term contingencies of reinforcement and that any tendency to select one comparison more often than the other over a set of trials reflects meaningful differences between comparison‐discrimination accuracies after the two samples.
    May 31, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.32   open full text
  • Are preference and resistance to change convergent expressions of stimulus value?
    Christopher A. Podlesnik, Corina Jimenez‐Gomez, Timothy A. Shahan.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. May 29, 2013
    Behavioral momentum theory asserts that preference and relative resistance to disruption depend on reinforcement rates and provide converging expressions of the conditioned value of discriminative stimuli. However, preference and resistance to disruption diverge when assessing preference during brief extinction probes. We expanded upon this opposing relation by arranging target stimuli signaling equal variable‐interval schedules across components of a multiple schedule. We paired one target stimulus with a richer reinforced alternative and the other with a leaner alternative. Furthermore, we varied reinforcement rates for the paired alternatives to assess the effects of manipulating relative conditioned value on preference and resistance to disruption by presession feeding, intercomponent food, and extinction. We replicated the opposing relation between preference and resistance to disruption but varying reinforcement rates for the paired alternatives did not systematically affect preference or resistance to disruption beyond levels observed in our initial condition. Importantly, we found that only preference between the target stimuli was related to relative baseline response rates in the presence of those stimuli. These findings suggest that preference during extinction probes might reveal more about baseline response rates between concurrently available alternatives than relative conditioned value. Resistance to disruption, conversely, appears to better reflect conditioned value because it is less confounded with baseline response rates and is a function of all sources of reinforcement obtained in the presence of a stimulus context.
    May 29, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.33   open full text
  • Symmetry in the pigeon with sample and comparison stimuli in different locations.
    Melissa Swisher, Peter J. Urcuioli.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. May 23, 2013
    Pigeons typically do not show evidence for symmetry in two‐alternative matching‐to‐sample but do demonstrate this emergent relation in successive (go/no‐go) matching‐to‐sample. Because the sample and comparison stimuli are presented in the same spatial location (viz., on one key) during successive matching training and testing, this may be one reason why pigeons pass tests for symmetry in this paradigm. To evaluate this, one group of pigeons received successive matching training with hue‐sample stimuli on the center key and form‐comparison stimuli on the left key of a three‐key chamber. A control group was trained with all stimuli appearing on the same (left) key. Training also involved concurrent hue‐ and form‐identity successive matching with the same spatial location arrangement as each group's respective hue–form task. Later, nonreinforced form–hue (symmetry) probes structured in the same way as the baseline trials were given. Of the six birds in each group, five trained with different locations and two trained with constant location responded more to the reverse of baseline positive hue–form combinations than to negative ones in testing. Results confirm the prediction from Urcuioli's (2008) theory that symmetry should emerge even with varying spatial locations, as long as functional stimuli are held constant.
    May 23, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.31   open full text
  • The effects of chlordiazepoxide and d‐amphetamine during a three‐component multiple schedule.
    Paul Romanowich, R. J. Lamb.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. April 30, 2013
    Multiple schedules have been used in behavioral pharmacology research to show that a drug's effect on behavior can be a function of the schedule of reinforcement that supports that behavior. However, less research has examined whether the context of the schedule of reinforcement in a multiple schedule can change the drug's effect on behavior. We examined the effects of acute chlordiazepoxide and d‐amphetamine injections on the behavior of two groups of pigeons trained on a three‐component multiple schedule with identical schedules of reinforcement in the first and last components. For one group of pigeons reinforcement was unavailable during the middle component (decreased‐middle‐component). For the second group reinforcement rate was higher during the middle component than during the first or third components (increased‐middle‐component). In the decreased‐middle‐component group, chlordiazepoxide (3.2–32 mg/kg) decreased third‐component response rates less than it decreased responding in the first component. Conversely, in the increased‐middle‐component group, chlordiazepoxide (3.2–10 mg/kg) decreased third‐component response rates more than in the first component. In both groups, d‐amphetamine did not differentially affect response rates across components. These results are consistent with previous research showing that drugs can differentially affect responding to two different schedules of reinforcement during the same session, and suggest that pharmacological preparations may be helpful in elucidating the mechanisms that control multiple schedule interactions.
    April 30, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.28   open full text
  • Stimulus specificity and dishabituation of operant responding in humans.
    Amy L. Kenzer, Patrick M. Ghezzi, Timothy Fuller.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. April 30, 2013
    Habituation has recently been addressed within the operant conditioning paradigm. While the literature on this topic is growing, the examination of dishabituation, a fundamental characteristic of habituation, remains limited. This study expanded research on habituation of operant responding in non‐human animals to research involving humans. Specifically, dishabituation and stimulus specificity were examined under a variety of conditions involving changes in the reinforcer type, reinforcement schedule, reinforcer amount, and selected properties of the antecedent stimuli for a computerized task with 46 undergraduate students. An additional 3 participants were exposed to a control condition. Evaluation of within session patterns of responding indicates that the introduction of stimulus changes into the operant context reliably produced dishabituation of operant responding in humans.
    April 30, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.29   open full text
  • Effects of high, low, and thinning rates of alternative reinforcement on response elimination and resurgence.
    Mary M. Sweeney, Timothy A. Shahan.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. April 18, 2013
    A common treatment for operant problem behavior is alternative reinforcement. When alternative reinforcement is removed or reduced, however, resurgence of the target behavior can occur. Shahan and Sweeney (2011) developed a quantitative model of resurgence based on behavioral momentum theory that suggests higher rates of alternative reinforcement result in faster response elimination and greater resurgence when removed, whereas lower rates of alternative reinforcement result in slower response elimination but are followed by less resurgence. Thus, the present study was designed to examine whether faster target response elimination and less resurgence could be achieved by beginning with a high rate of alternative reinforcement and gradually thinning it such that a low rate is ultimately removed during a simulated treatment lapse. Results showed that high rates of alternative reinforcement were more effective than low or thinning rates at target response suppression but resulted in resurgence when discontinued. Low and thinning rates, on the other hand, were less effective at response suppression but target responding did not increase when alternative reinforcement was discontinued. The quantitative model cannot currently account for the finding that lower‐rate alternative reinforcement may not effectively disrupt behavior relative to an extinction only control. Relative advantages of high, low, thinning, or no alternative reinforcement are discussed with respect to suppression of target response rate during treatment, resurgence when alternative reinforcement is removed, and alternative response persistence, while taking into account differences between this animal model and modern applied behavior analytic treatments.
    April 18, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.26   open full text
  • Functional class formation in the context of a foraging task in capuchin monkeys.
    Romariz da Silva Barros, Carlos Barbosa Alves de Souza, Thiago Dias Costa.
    Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. April 18, 2013
    Functional class formation via repeated reversals of simple discriminations was investigated in a foraging task in captive capuchin monkeys (Cebus cf. apella). Two capuchin monkeys were given simultaneous simple discrimination training and reversals with two (Phase 1), four (Phase 2), and six (Phase 3) visual stimuli (wooden boxes) in the context of searching for food in an apparatus. One different kind of food for each potential stimulus class was used as a reinforcer. After repeated functional reversals of two stimulus sets, multiple tests for functional class formation were performed (Phase 4). Evidence of class formation was found in all of the tests. Next, the same monkeys were given simultaneous simple discrimination training with variations of the stimulus locations between sessions (Phase 5). The class‐specific reinforcement procedure was suspended. Tests for functional class formation were again performed. Evidence of class formation was found in all tests. The data suggest that some of the procedural difficulties in documenting class formation in nonhumans can be overcome with procedures that take advantage of the natural skills of the subjects.
    April 18, 2013   doi: 10.1002/jeab.27   open full text