Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #350
Response-Reinforcer Relations: Preference and Resistance to Change
Sunday, May 26, 2019
5:00 PM–6:50 PM
Swissôtel, Concourse Level, Zurich BC
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Kenneth David Madrigal Alcaraz (Universidad de Guadalajara (CEIC))
Discussant: Andrew R. Craig (SUNY Upstate Medical University)

Resistance to change (RTC) can be affected by the response-reinforcer relation (e.g., different schedules of immediate reinforcement; response-reinforcer dependencies and delays of reinforcement) when reinforcement rate and magnitude are controlled. Four studies in which the effects of the response-reinforcer relation on RTC and preference were assessed will be presented in this symposium. Dias and Cançado assessed the effects of different parameters of the same response-reinforcer relation (DRL 5, 8, 11, 16s) on RTC with rats. Teixeira and Todorov studied, with pigeons, the effects of the response-reinforcer dependency on both resistance to change and preference. Madrigal, Hernandez and Flores assessed, with rats, the effects on RTC of a single delay of reinforcement value (9s) with different stimulus placements, using two types of procedure: non-resetting and retracted-lever. Finally, French and Reilly assessed the effects of ascending and descending orders of exposure to delays of reinforcement on RTC of self-controlled choice with rats. In general, the results of each study demonstrate effects of the response-reinforcer relation on RTC and preference, extend previous findings of the RTC literature, and highlight the relevance of considering the effects of the response-reinforcer relation in accounting for the persistence of responding under conditions of disruption.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Preference, Resistance-to-change, Response-reinforcer relation

Similar Response-Reinforcer Relations, Different Response Rates, and Resistance to Extinction

ROBERTA DIAS (Universidade de Brasília), Carlos Cançado (Universidade de Brasilia, Brazil)

The effects of different parameters of the same response-reinforcer relation on resistance to change were assessed in two experiments with rats. In Experiment 1, a multiple tandem variable interval (VI) differential reinforcement of low rates (DRL) tandem VI DRL schedule was in effect. Lever pressing produced similar reinforcement rates in both components. In the short component, the DRL was 1 s; in the long component, it was 5 or 8 s. In Baseline (BL), response rates were lower in the long than in the short component, but resistance to extinction was not systematically different between components. In Experiment 2, the schedule was similar to that in Experiment 1. However, in the short component, interresponse times between 0.1 and 3 s were reinforced; in the long component, this value was 5-8 s (two rats), 8-11 s (one rat) and 8-16 s (one rat). BL-response rates also were lower in the long than in the short component. Regardless of this response-rate difference, differential resistance occurred only for rats exposed to a minimal DRL value of 8 s in the long component, being greater in this than in the short component. Thus, resistance to extinction was a function of the DRL parameter.


Response-Reinforcer Dependency, Resistance to Change and Choice

ITALO TEIXEIRA (Universidade de Brasília), João Claudio Todorov (Universidade de Brasilia)

An experiment with pigeons assessed the effects of the response-reinforcer dependency on resistance to change and choice. In the first-condition Baseline, a two-component multiple schedule programmed equal reinforcer rates between components. The dependency was 10% in one component (i.e., a concomitant variable interval, VI, variable time, VT, schedule), and 100% in another component (i.e., –VI schedule). In the Test, response rates were more resistant to extinction and VT schedules in the 10% than in the 100% component. In the second condition, a concurrent chained schedule was in effect in Baseline. In the initial links, equal VI schedules were in effect; in the terminal links, the multiple schedule components (i.e., 10 and 100%) of the first condition were in effect. In the test, both terminal links were changed to equal VT schedules. Preference (i.e., initial link responding) and resistance to VT schedules (i.e., terminal link responding) were greater for the 10% dependency. These results replicate previous experiments showing a relation between choice and resistance to change. Also, they extend these results to manipulations of the response-reinforcer dependency with pigeons.


Stimulus-Stimulus Relations Established Through a Retracted-Lever Delay of Reinforcement Procedure: Some Effects on Resistance to Change

KENNETH DAVID MADRIGAL ALCARAZ (Universidad de Guadalajara (CEIC)), Cinthia Hernandez (Universidad de Guadalajara (CEIC)), Carlos Javier Flores Aguirre (Universidad de Guadalajara)

The effects of different stimulus placement during a 9s signaled delay of reinforcement were assessed through a fixed- and retracted-lever delay procedure in two rats. Using a three component multiple schedule, food was scheduled according to a variable interval (VI) 30s in each component during a Baseline (BL) condition. In the next condition, a 9s delay was imposed to each component, resulting in a chained VI21s + fixed time (FT) 9s. During this condition, for both rats, delay could be totally or partially signaled during the first or last 3s of it by a key-light above the lever. For one rat, lever was retracted during the delay, and for the other rat lever was fixed. In the following conditions, rats were returned to BL and then exposed to fixed- or retracted-lever delay procedure, respectively. Relative to its preceding immediate condition, for both rats response rates decreased under a fixed-lever procedure; whereas, response rates increased during the retracted-lever procedure. Lever-pressing and head-entry response distribution varied upon temporal placement of the signal for both rats; likewise, regardless of signal onset, lever-retraction controlled for differential head-entry responding during delay. Stimulus-stimulus relations established during delay are discussed by attending to the delay procedure used.

Resistance to Change on Impulsive Choice as a Function of Previous Delay Exposure
ERIC JAMES FRENCH (Central Michigan University), Mark P. Reilly (Central Michigan University)
Abstract: Intertemporal choice procedures have been widely used in both basic and applied research to evaluate the rate at which an organism discounts delayed reinforcers. In these procedures two choice options are available, an “impulsive” option offering few reinforcers immediately and an alternative “self-controlled” option offering many reinforcers after a delay. Using these procedures with rats, our lab has found that not only does preference for the larger alternative decrease with delay, but also that the order of delay presentations affects the overall rate of the decrease. This latter finding suggests that intertemporal choice procedures could be used to systematically investigate how prior delays modify preference for current delays. To this end, in a series of three experiments, preference was evaluated for 3 vs 1 pellets while the delay for the 3-pellet option increased then decreased (e.g., 0, 1, 3, 6, 12, 24, 24, 12, 6, 3, 1, 0 s) across 12 sessions. In the first two experiments rodent models of cognitive deficit were evaluated. In a previously published study (Experiment 1) Spontaneously Hypertensive rats (SHR), an animal model of ADHD, and Wistar-Kyoto rats (WKY, a control strain) were used. Experiment 2 used Wistar rats with and without a radiation-induced brain injury (model for cognitive impairment). In Experiment 3 the role of repeated exposures to the ascending and descending delay sequences was evaluated using Sprague-Dawley rats. In all three experiments, preference showed a greater shift towards the immediate option as the delay was varied in the decreasing sequence. Furthermore, the difference between the ascending and descending sequences were more pronounced in the animal models of cognitive deficit (e.g., ADHD and brain injury rats) in the initial run of the ascending and descending sequences. These findings suggest insensitivity to changing delay contingencies is a valuable metric with potential to be included in quantitative models.



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