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Association for Behavior Analysis International

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Ninth International Conference; Paris, France; 2017

Event Details

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Paper Session #99
Discounting and Reinforcement
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
2:00 PM–3:50 PM
Loft A, Niveau 3
Area: EAB
Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Behavioral Contrast, Behavioral Economics, Delay Discounting, Response Effort
Chair: Erin B. Rasmussen (Idaho State University)
Discounting: A Comparison of Hypothetical and Real Rewards
Domain: Basic Research
JESSLYN N. FARROS (Endicott College), Angela Crawford (FirstSteps for Kids), Matthew C. Bell (Santa Clara University), Henry D. Schlinger (California State University, LA)
Abstract: The purpose of the current experiments was to evaluate differences between self-control behaviors as a function of both hypothetical and real rewards, as well as using a modified discounting procedure that more closely resembles the natural environment than other, more commonly used, procedures. This modified procedure required participants to complete a task in order to earn monetary rewards rather than simply offering a choice between two alternatives. Each participant was presented with a series of choices between completing two algebra problems that differed with respect to the effort to solve, and each associated with a different monetary reward. In Experiment 1, between-subject comparisons used constant monetary rewards. In Experiment 2, between- and within-subject comparisons incorporated varied monetary rewards. Subjects were informed of the reward they could earn before being instructed to complete the assessment. The results show that in general hypothetical and real rewards groups responded differently. Participants earning real rewards were more likely to choose the high effort problem than participants earning hypothetical rewards. Hypothetical rewards are often used in lieu of real rewards in research on delay discounting under the assumption that they produce comparable behavior. The results of the current studies, however, suggest caution when interpreting data generated by hypothetical rewards.
 
Domain Effects in Obesity-Related Delay Discounting
Domain: Basic Research
ERIN B. RASMUSSEN (Idaho State University)
Abstract: The literature on delay discounting and obesity continues to grow, but one trend is generally consistent: obese individuals tend to prefer smaller, sooner outcomes over those that are larger and delayed. Interestingly, in the more general literature, there exists a domain effect with discounting, in which food is a more steeply discounted outcome than other outcomes that are less directly consumable and fungible. Since domain specificity with highly preferred outcomes has been observed in substance-use diagnosed populations, it would make sense to consider whether obese individuals exhibit domain effects for food when compared to other more generalizable outcomes. Our laboratory, which examines delay discounting with obese rats and humans has uncovered a consistent pattern of domain-specific discounting effects with food as the outcome. In other words, the largest differences in obese and healthy-weight subjects tend to be with food or food-related outcomes. This domain-specific finding has also been shown in response to the treatment of mindful eating. Implications for using multiple outcomes in discounting studies, especially those that relate to the disorder being studied, will be discussed.
 
Is Intertemporal Choice Risky? The Nexus of Delay and Probability Discounting
Domain: Basic Research
WOJCIECH BIALASZEK (Faculty of Psychology, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities), Przemyslaw Sylwester Marcowski (Faculty of Psychology, University of Social Sciences and Humanities)
Abstract: Every consequence of our choices, by definition is positioned in time and has a probabilistic character. Up to date, most research focused separately either on time or on risk conditions influencing our choices. Using the paradigm of delay and probability discounting we show a series of experiments in which we investigate the role of explicit and implicit risk in interteporal choices. We present a series of experiments performed on undergraduate students at SWPS University. We show a path-dependency in risky intertemporal choice of gains and losses and model the nature of risk inherent in delay. This approach can yield a better understanding of such phenomena as magnitude effect, gain-loss asymmetry or even can shed a light on the process of risky intertemporal decision making.
 
Behavioral Contrast: Effects of Component Duration, Frequency and Magnitude of Reinforcement
Domain: Basic Research
PABLO CARDOSO DE SOUZA (Universidade de Brasília; Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul), João Claudio Todorov (Universidade de Brasilia), Carlos Renato Xavier Cançado (Universidade de Brasilia, Brazil)
Abstract: Key-pecking of four pigeons was maintained under a multiple variable-interval (VI) VI schedule of food presentation. In two experiments, the effects of the component duration on the interaction with the frequency and magnitude of reinforcement were investigated. Sessions had six phases; each phase lasted for one-hour to assure long exposure to programmed contingencies. The first phase consisted in a baseline condition in which frequency and magnitude of reinforcement were equal. In Experiment 1, after baseline, one component had its reinforcement frequency increased, in one session, and decreased in the following session. The frequency in the other component was held constant. Four components durations were tested between sessions (5 , 10 , 40 and 150 s); each duration was in effect for an entire session, during which the constant component alternated with the lean or the rich component. Behavioral contrast occurred mainly with shorter component durations when the constant component alternated with the rich one. In Experiment 2, reinforcement frequency was unchanged during the session and, after baseline, magnitude of reinforcement was increased or decreased. A weaker contrast effect was found in the shorter-component durations. The present data confirm the importance of component duration and reinforcement frequency in determining behavioral contrast.
 
 
Keyword(s): Behavioral Contrast, Behavioral Economics, Delay Discounting, Response Effort
 

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