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42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #266
Experimental Analysis of Persons in Groups: New Procedures and Findings
Monday, May 30, 2016
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
Zurich AB, Swissotel
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Sigrid S. Glenn (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Metacontingency experiments revived the effort to analyze the behavior of more than one individual simultaneously. This symposium will present data produced with computerized and simplified tasks, two of them directly based on cooperation procedures. The first presentation will report data produced with a new chess-board like computer program to investigate shaping, maintenance, extinction, repeated acquisition, variability, stimulus control, and schedule control of behavior in interlocked behavior contingencies leading to an aggregate product. The second presentation will describe two studies that evaluated the effects of a cultural consequence on interlocking behavioral contingencies in a new free-operant-like task, in which triads’ temporally spaced responses of clicking the mouse was the main dependent variable. The last presentation will report the effects of verbal interactions among participants on participants’ choices through 240-plus trials in an iterated prisoner’s dilemma game – a typical cooperation procedure. Overall, these data allow us to discuss the importance of standardization and simplicity in the study of group behavior. And to stress the need of metacontingency researchers thoroughly reviewing the cooperation literature.
Keyword(s): Cooperation, Cultural Selection, Metacontingency
A Procedure for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior of Persons in Groups
JOAO CLAUDIO TODOROV (Universidade de Brasilia), Isis Vasconcelos (Faculdade AGES), Marcelo Borges Borges Henriques (UNB - Universidade de Brasília and ACBr - Associação Brasileira de Análise do Comportamento (Brazilian Association of Behavior Analysis)), Rafaela Meireles Fontes Azevedo (Universidade de Brasília), João Severo (Universidade de Brasília), Igor Costa (Universidade Federal de Sergipe), Rodrigo de Oliveira (Universidade de Brasília), Fabiana Azevedo de Andrade (Universidade de Brasília)
Abstract: The experimental analysis of behavior requires control of independent variables and close observation and recording of dependent variables. Skinner developed a special box to increase the possibility of experimental work with less distracting stimuli in the environment. With humans, the task is more complex; with pairs of participants, it is even more troublesome. A software was developed to use a chess-board like computer program to study shaping, maintenance, extinction, repeated acquisition, variability, stimulus control, and schedule control of behavior in interlocked behavior contingencies leading to an aggregate product. In a series of experiments, undergraduate students in pairs moved, one at a time, one knight, until they met at two adjacent cells of the board: interlocked behavior contingencies resulted in an aggregate product. Scheduled consequences contingent on the occurrence of the aggregate product resulted in patterns of spatial and temporal distributions of behavior and events similar to the ones found in individual operant behavior. These data allow us to discuss the importance of standardization and simplicity in the study of group behavior.
Metacontingencies in the Laboratory: Using Schedules of Reinforcement as Baseline for Grupal (Cultural) Demands
Thais F N de Toledo (Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso), NATALIA SANTOS MARQUES (Universidade de São Paulo), Marcelo Frota Lobato Benvenuti (Universidade de São Paulo)
Abstract: We conducted two studies to investigate the effects of a cultural consequence on interlocking behavioral contingencies (IBCs) in a task in which a response of clicking the mouse was free to occur. Undergraduate students, in triads, performed the task on a computer. The operant contingency arranged for responses to produce reinforcement on a VI or VR schedule. The cultural contingency arranged that when the interval between participants' responses was larger than X s, a "bonus" was presented. One study compared arrangements in which there was no conflict between operant and cultural contingencies with those in which meeting cultural contingency requirements resulted in less individual reinforcers. The other study investigated maintenance of IBCs when cultural consequences were presented independent of IBCs occurrence and when they were suspended (two forms of extinction). Results showed the selection and transmission of IBCs. The analysis about what occurs in extinction situations supports the notion that a metacontingency describes the effects generated by the interdependency of IBCs, aggregate products and environmental events.
Verbal Interaction Promotes Cooperation in an Iterated Prisoners Dilemma Game: A Multiple Baseline Metacontingency Experiment
ANGELO A. S. SAMPAIO (Universidade Federal do Vale do São Francisco (Univasf)), Marcelo Frota Lobato Benvenuti (Universidade de São Paulo)
Abstract: Recent metacontingency experiments were based on cooperation procedures such as the iterated prisoners dilemma game (IPDG), but dismissed earlier results on cooperation as pertaining only to operant (not cultural) selection, and did not control verbal interactions among participants. We evaluated the effects of verbal interactions among participants, and how participants choices would change through 240-plus trials when exposed to an IPDG. 3 sets of 4 university students played an IPDG in 4 networked computers (screened by panels) and were exposed to conditions with or without permission to use the computer chat in a multiple baseline design. Without verbal interaction, choices varied, but tended to be all-defect. Once verbal interaction was allowed, choices quickly shifted and stabilized in all-cooperate in almost all trials. An IPDG can be interpreted as programming a metacontingency in which the higher payoff for the group (a cultural consequence) selects participants choices of the cooperative alternative (a culturant). As the cooperation literature had already found, verbal interactions among participants even through a computer chat are necessary for, or at least, accelerate the selection by the higher payoff. Metacontingency and cooperation procedures are indistinguishable and the results produced by both must be compared and evaluated together.
 

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