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Association for Behavior Analysis International

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43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Poster Session #246
Sunday, May 28, 2017
12:00 PM–3:00 PM
Convention Center, Exhibit Hall D
EAB
Chair: Elizabeth Kyonka (University of New England)
1. Discriminative and Reinforcing Effects of the Near Miss in Simulated Slot Machine Play
Domain: Basic Research
EMILY TAYLOR (University of Nevada, Reno), Patrick M. Ghezzi (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: Brooke M. Smith (Utah State University)
Abstract: The near miss in slot machine gambling may be described as two of three winning symbols aligning on the pay line and usually is responded to as a form of feedback for the individual who is participating in various types of games. For gambling, the near miss does not actually provide such feedback, and, therefore, it is thought that a near miss may contribute to prolonging play. Behavior analytic research has been interested in this supposed phenomenon for some time and has looked to explore the proposed conditioned reinforcing effects of the near miss through a variety of methods. Experiment 1 examined the reinforcing effects of a near miss that has been explicitly paired with a win to facilitate acquisition of conditioned reinforcing properties, and explicitly unpaired with a win (paired with a loss) to simulate extinction conditions with a six-component counterbalanced reversal design. Experiment 2 examined the effects on betting behavior when a near-miss is explicitly paired with a win. Frequency and total time measures suggest that in neither experiment did the near miss come to function as a conditioned reinforcer. Average response latency measures in Experiment 1 showed clear delineation between win outcomes in comparison near-miss and full loss outcomes. Further, for some participants in Experiment 2, a higher percentage of betting occurred following a near miss outcome in the explicitly paired conditions. The implications of these data, limitations of the experimental preparation, and areas for future research will be discussed.
 
2. Behavioral Control in Slot Machine Gambling
Domain: Basic Research
JACLYN MCGRATH (St. Cloud State University), Evan Dahl (St. Cloud State University), Andrew Steven Massey (St. Cloud State University), Margaret Murphy (St. Cloud State University), Benjamin N. Witts (St. Cloud State University)
Discussant: Brooke M. Smith (Utah State University)
Abstract: Typically, scalloping patterns typical in fixed interval (FI) schedules are difficult to achieve in adult humans. However, recent free-operant research in simulated slot machine gambling has achieved scalloping through wins contingent upon head movements produced under tandem FI 60 s fixed ratio (FR) 1 delayed reinforcement schedules. When compared to other schedules (e.g., differential reinforcement of other behavior [DRO]), the same participant produced different rates of head movements. Twenty-six undergraduate students participated in this study. Participants were assigned a priori to conditions in either a control group or experiential group. The control group triggered the spins by pressing a spacebar while the experimental group touched the “SPIN” button located on the monitor. The results showed that participants responded more in the DRO compared to the FI 60 s FR 1. A possible explanation for these results is that the participants’ head movement is a characteristic of schedule induced adjunctive behavior. A review of our results are reanalyzed in this light.
 
3. Contextual Control and Response Allocation in Simulated Slot-Machine Gambling
Domain: Basic Research
TORUNN LIAN (Oslo and Akershus University College), Bjørn Andrè Torve (Oslo and Akershus University College ), Erik Arntzen (Oslo and Akershus University College)
Discussant: Brooke M. Smith (Utah State University)
Abstract: Previous experiments have shown that conditional discrimination training alters response allocation in simulated slot machine tasks. Replication at the individual level has, however, shown mixed results. It has been suggested that talk-aloud procedures might shed light on some of the individual differences seen, but less experimental work has, to our knowledge, been conducted. The present experiment aimed to; a) replicate previous studies on the effects of contextual control on slot machine gambling, and b) arrange a talk-aloud procedure to investigate correspondence between the participants’ verbal responses and response allocation. We arranged a pre- and posttest design in which 10 participants were exposed to two concurrently available slot-machines, differing only in color. Conditional discrimination training established “more than” choices with one color and “less than” choice with the other color. This training was followed by a posttest with novel comparison stimuli, a reversal phase, and a second posttest with novel comparison stimuli. The results showed that 9 participants altered response allocation from Pretest to Posttest 1, and that 4 participants did so from posttest 1 to posttest 2. Furthermore, the results showed correspondence between verbal statements and comparison choices in 7 participants.
 
4. An Examination of Slot Machine Preference
Domain: Basic Research
LINDA MUCKEY (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Discussant: Brooke M. Smith (Utah State University)
Abstract: Recent advances in gambling have produced an expanding variety of electronic slot machines, often featuring themes such as those of popular movies and television series. The following investigation sought to examine the effects of slot machine appearance or theme on player preference. Participants in each of the two groups were exposed to one of two different computer simulated slot machines. Consequences were held constant as both slot machines contained the same preprogrammed ratio of wins, losses, near-misses, and losses disguised as wins (LDWs) and differed only in theme. One machine contained animated symbols, auditory stimuli, and the theme of a television series while the other machine depicted a more traditional slot machine with static symbols and bell noises. Probes were collected several instances throughout the duration of game play. Each probe asked participants to provide a subjective rating on a scale of 0 to 100, indicating how much they would like to continue to play. Other behavioral measures such as interresponse times were also examined in effort to address the implications of themed slot machines.
 
5. The Evaluation of the Role of Self-Rules on Gambling Behaviors Using a Slot Machine
Domain: Applied Research
KELTI OWENS (Autism Centers of Michigan), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Discussant: Brooke M. Smith (Utah State University)
Abstract: Current research on problem gambling has focused primarily on how the gambling mechanism effects a person’s problem gambling. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the effects of a second slot machine on gambling behavior. This would show that other contingencies in the environment affect a gambler’s behavior. A within and between subjects group design was used with 26 participants. Experimental group participants experienced a baseline condition, a winning condition and a losing condition. Control group participants experienced three sessions of baseline condition. During the winning and losing conditions a second slot machine was present and would show winning outcomes or losing outcomes. Visual analyses and independent sample t-tests were conducted on rate of play, amount bet, reported wins, and number of spins. Significant differences were shown for rate of play and number of spins, but not for reported wins and amount bet The current study provided evidence that gambling with another slot machine present increases risky gambling behavior.
 
6. Is “Lotto Fever” Related to the Expected Utility of a Lottery Wager?
Area: PCH; Domain: Basic Research
Jordyn Roberts (Eastern Oregon University), CHARLES A. LYONS (Eastern Oregon University)
Discussant: Brooke M. Smith (Utah State University)
Abstract: Demand for public lotteries with very large jackpots sometimes accelerates sharply until the jackpot is taken, a phenomenon referred to as “lotto fever.” To investigate how lotto fever is triggered, we examined per capita sales in all Powerball lottery games held between 1992 and 2016 for instances of lotto fever, defined as a doubling of demand over two consecutive draws. For those games (N = 12), we calculated the expected utility (EU) of a single wager by multiplying the odds of winning the jackpot by the cost of play. The jackpot values at which the EU of a wager equaled the price of a ticket increased from $55 million in 1992 to $584 million in 2016 as Powerball game odds were lengthened and ticket cost was increased. On average, a wager ‘s EU equaled the cost of play 1.25 drawings before the onset of lotto fever (r=.89, p < .001). While EU predicted the onset of lotto fever, rapidly rising jackpot values increased the risk of multiple winners, which lowered the utility of a bet. Various potential explanations for the EU-lotto fever association are discussed.
 
7. Losses Disguised as Wins in Slot Machines: A Case of Contingency Confusion
Area: VRB; Domain: Basic Research
MORGHAN MINNICK (Northern Michigan University), Jacob H. Daar (Northern Michigan University), Luke Andrew Whitehouse (Northern Michigan University)
Discussant: Brooke M. Smith (Utah State University)
Abstract: Modern slot machines are the most popular topography of site gambling, and are thought to encourage irrational gambling behaviors through the presentation of outcome stimuli that causes the gambler to inaccurately detect the programmed contingencies. Typically, a gambler will display the behavior of risking more money than will probabilistically be returned to them. The ability of modern slot machines to deliver wins with lower magnitudes of credits than the initially staked wagers is a recently added ability. This outcome is termed as a “loss disguised as a win” and this consequence appears to produce reinforcement effects despite the gambler having an overall loss of credits. Duplication of an experiment found in an already defended dissertation will further explore this phenomenon and provide more information. The experiment uses a computer simulated slot machine and the presentation of a loss disguised as a win after discrimination training that was designed to potentially alter the discriminative and consequential functions of loss disguised as wins. Participants included college students that were tested to be sure they were not high risk problem gamblers. Presented results will indicate implications for treatment, design of behavioral programs, and directions for future research.
 
8. An Evaluation of Preference in Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches
Domain: Basic Research
ANA GUENTHER (St. Cloud State University ), Benjamin N. Witts (St. Cloud State University)
Discussant: Brooke M. Smith (Utah State University)
Abstract: Stimulus preference assessments are used to assess preference for stimuli and determine potential reinforcers. The current study investigates if Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches develop a preference for a food stimulus, and what factors influence that preference, such as exposure to the stimuli and its location. Four female Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches were used in a single subject analysis of food preference through a multiple stimulus without replacement preference assessment. Only Roach One had a consistent preference for a stimulus throughout the study. The other three roaches frequently switched between stimuli, and had highly variable results. The current study also evaluated if the cockroaches display a place preference for any one location in the apparatus. These results may indicate that Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches require specific environmental conditions to develop a steady preference. Future research could better evaluate if cockroaches develop a place preference or not. The results may also indicate that methodological changes could be made to better determine preference.
 
9. Two types of escape in the Earthworm (Eisenia hortensis)
Domain: Basic Research
AMY SIPPL (St. Cloud State University; The Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention - Midwest ), Benjamin N. Witts (St. Cloud State University)
Discussant: Brooke M. Smith (Utah State University)
Abstract: Examining basic behavioral processes like avoidance learning in invertebrates can be valuable in informing our understanding of these processes in applied and human settings. In this investigation, two experiments were conducted with the earthworm (Eisenia hortensis) to expand the current understanding of stimulus aversion in the species. Experiment 1 replicated Wilson, Ferrara, Blaker and Gidding’s (2014) examination of movement in epigeic earthworms when exposed to white light and vibratory stimulation. Previous findings support greater movement when exposed to light, concluding vibration was a neutral stimulus. However, individual differences in movement among worms was highly variable in this study. Experiment 2 challenged Wilson et al.’s findings and showed that earthworms froze during vibration, suggesting vibration was in fact an unconditioned aversive stimulus.
 
10. The Effects of Noise on Cricket Learning
Domain: Basic Research
JOHN BARNES (UNT)
Discussant: Mindy Christine Scheithauer (Marcus Autism Center)
Abstract: Phonotactic behavior is the movement of an organism due to sound in the environment and has been studied in crickets as early as the 17th century. For the present experiment a Y-maze apparatus was used to measure the latency of water-seeking behavior under different audible conditions. The current results suggest that background music will increase the time between the availability of water and drinking behavior.
 
11. Stimulus Control of Reinforcement-Schedule History in Chicks
Domain: Basic Research
TATSUHIRO NAKAMURA (Tokiwa University), Tetsumi Moriyama (Tokiwa University)
Discussant: Mindy Christine Scheithauer (Marcus Autism Center)
Abstract: Organisms’ current behavior is affected by current contingencies and past experiences. The latter is called behavioral history effect. Purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of behavioral histories of fixed-ratio (FR) and differential-reinforcement-of-low-rate (DRL) schedules on key-peck response rates under fixed-interval (FI) schedules with chicks. This experiment was consisted of two phases. In the first phase, eight newly hatched chicks were exposed to FR and DRL schedules under different key lights in each of two daily sessions. In the present time, only the first phase has been done. In the second phase, a FI schedule will be conducted in both stimulus conditions. So, the results of the first phase and the prediction of results of the second phase are shown here. From the figure 1, six out of eight chicks showed high response rates under FR schedules but low rates under DRL schedule. Two chicks showed little differences of response rates between both schedules. In the second phase, the former six chicks will show high response rates under key light previously correlated with FR schedule if the past experience affects, while low rates under light correlated with DRL schedule. However, the latter two chicks will not.
 
12. Design and Implementation of Operant Chambers for the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
Domain: Theory
Paul Thomas Thomas Andronis (Northern Michigan University), COLLIN HAHN (Northern Michigan University), Luke Andrew Whitehouse (Northern Michigan University), Hannah Planinsheck (Northern Michigan University), Erin Elizabeth Wylie (Northern Michigan University)
Discussant: Mindy Christine Scheithauer (Marcus Autism Center)
Abstract: Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches are an underexposed potential model organism in the experimental analysis of behavior. With their simple nervous system, ease of care and minimal oversight, they have the potential to make for good candidates for behavioral research. However, very few researchers have developed effective hardware and procedures to deal with the idiosyncrasies of this organism. Such idiosyncrasies would include their relative lack of need for food and water, lack of certain avoidance behaviors present in other species of cockroach, rapid habituation to stimuli, and periods of inactivity. Presented is our work towards creating hardware designs and procedural implementations to enable future research with these challenging and fascinating organisms. Primarily reviewed are our efforts to create functional Skinnerian-style operant chambers for Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, and our efforts to find reasonable and effective reinforcers and operandi. With the presented designs, we hope to open the gateway for more research with these novel subjects.
 
13. Evaluating Water Disturbance as a Reinforcer for Corydoras Catfish
Domain: Basic Research
LISA HUNTER (University of Manitoba), Karli Pedreira (University of Manitoba), Amy Brown (University of Manitoba), Kara-Lynn Kehler (University of Manitoba), Joseph J. Pear (University of Manitoba)
Discussant: Mindy Christine Scheithauer (Marcus Autism Center)
Abstract: The Corydoras catfish is a species of fish that feeds at the bottom of water sources. Past research has demonstrated that reinforcement and punishment schedules have been successful in modifying the behaviour of various fish species; therefore, identifying reinforcers is important for research purposes. This study examined whether water disturbance was a reinforcer, punisher, or neutral stimulus for Corydoras catfish. We hypothesized that because water disturbance improves oxygen quality and signals food availability, it would act as a reinforcing stimulus. Experiments were conducted in a divided experimental tank that activated water disturbance when the subject swam to the right side of the tank. The amount of time spent on each side of the tank was calculated to determine whether the subject demonstrated preference to the side of the tank with or without water disturbance. The results of the study suggested that water disturbance was not a reinforcer as the subject spent more time on the side of the tank that it was placed during each session. A small preference towards to water disturbance was demonstrated with more time spent on the right side of the tank. Further research is needed to evaluate water disturbance as a reinforcer for Corydoras catfish.
 
14. Effects of Water Deprivation on Four Female Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches
Domain: Basic Research
SARA SNOW (St. Cloud State University), Benjamin N. Witts (St. Cloud State University)
Discussant: Mindy Christine Scheithauer (Marcus Autism Center)
Abstract: The current study was designed to investigate generalization of the activity anorexia model to different subjects and variables, as few studies have explored generalization in this area. This study was used to determine if deprivation of water affects animals activity similarly to deprivation of food as seen in the activity anorexia model. The effects of water deprivation on the physical activity in four adult female Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches was examined using an ABC single case experimental design. The three phases included a baseline phase with free access to food and water, an experimental phase with no access to water in their individual containers but access during sessions, and lastly an altered experimental phase with access to water every three days. Two subjects went through phases A, B, and C and two subjects went through an extended A phase leading into the C phase. Data showed minimal differences between activity level in water deprived subjects and subjects in the baseline phase. Altering levels of water deprivation in the C phase showed more variety in subjects responses. The results of this study are inconclusive and do not support the activity anorexia hypothesis.
 
16. The Assessment and Conditioning of Attention as a Reinforcer for Shelter Dogs
Area: AAB; Domain: Basic Research
Steven W. Payne (California State University, Fresno), MARIA SALMERON (California State University, Fresno), Alyssa Salazar (California State University, Fresno), Martha Cisneros (California State University, Fresno), Cintya Fulgencio (California State University, Fresno), Sarah Orique (California State University, Fresno)
Discussant: Mindy Christine Scheithauer (Marcus Autism Center)
Abstract: Of dogs entering animal shelters every year in the United States, approximately 37% are adopted, but approximately 41% are euthanized (ASPCA, 2016). Although various factors may contribute to adoption criteria, a dog's ability to socially interact with humans may be a significant one. Research suggests that dogs that are not adopted were found to spend twice as much time ignoring play initiation by adopters than those that were adopted (Protopopova et al., 2014). One possible behavioral issue common to animals in shelters is the lack of social interaction exhibited when considered for adoption and its potential to reduce the likelihood of their adoption. The current study aimedto target this issue by assessing the reinforcing value of human attention in shelter dogs. The primary purpose of the current study was to compare the reinforcing efficacy of attention and food with dogs, and if attention was found to not be a reinforcer, to condition attention as a reinforcer for shelter dogs.. In the first experiment, we will provide attention and food contingent on a nose-touch response.. An ABCBC reversal design will be used to assess experimental control. If attention fails to increase behavior, a second experiment will be conducted. The purpose of the second experiment was to increase the reinforcing efficacy of attention with dogs. In this experiment, we paired attention with food using a response-reinforcer conditioning procedure in an attempt to condition attention as a conditioned reinforcer that will have similar reinforcing properties as food. Results and Implications will be discussed.
 
17. A Preliminary Investigation of Escape and Avoidance in the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
Area: AAB; Domain: Basic Research
LINDA MUCKEY (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Discussant: Mindy Christine Scheithauer (Marcus Autism Center)
Abstract: Behaviour analytic research regarding animal models of escape and avoidance has frequently employed the use of electric shock. As a stimulus, electric shock has been refined sufficiently so as to be relatively quantifiable, supporting its usage in basic experimental analyses. The previous literature on electric shock as an aversive stimulus has predominately been conducted with vertebrate laboratory animals. As basic analyses in the field continue to include a greater variety of species and more invertebrates, the previous experimental arrangements should be assessed for viability with these laboratory populations. The following study will examine the effects of electric shock administration on the behaviour of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. Using a modified shock grid, preliminary investigations have suggested the potential for the continued usage of electric shock in analyses with these organisms. Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches responded discriminatively to differential shock intensities and demonstrated simple avoidance and escape responses. Limitations and implications of the preliminary findings will also be detailed.
 
18. Going in Circles: An Omni-Directional Light Device to Increase Turning Behavior in Planaria
Domain: Basic Research
NEIL DEOCHAND (Western Michigan University), Yisang Yang (Western Michigan University), Rachel Burroughs (Western Michigan University)
Discussant: Mindy Christine Scheithauer (Marcus Autism Center)
Abstract: Previous research findings indicate that planaria are sensitive to high intensities of light, vertically directed light, and/or ultraviolet light. They are less sensitive to low intensity, laterally directed light, and/or red light. We examined turning in planaria using a fully enclosed omni-directional light device providing red ambient light for background illumination, and a training stimuli directed at the planaria from both side and bottom positions, consisting of white light. The first pilot test demonstrated the feasibility of gaining stimulus control of a turning behavior in a single planarian. In the second experiment, four planaria received turn training, right or left training, omission training, and extinction. Four others were used as controls, either receiving fixed time white light delivery, or red ambient light. Turn training required discontinuing the white light based on the emission of a left or right turn. Omission training resulted in the white light being turned on when the planarian turned, and in extinction the white light remained on for the entire session. Results indicate that omission training was not effective at eliminating turning, while extinction was very effective. Turn training also minimized duration and contact with the edge of the petri dish.
 
19. The Effects of Ethanol on Proboscis Conditioning in Honey Bees: Reversals and Conditioned Taste Aversion
Domain: Basic Research
CHRIS VARNON (Oklahoma State University), Charles I. Abramson (Oklahoma State University), David Craig (Oklahoma State University), Tim Black (Oklahoma State University), Harrington Wells (University of Tulsa)
Discussant: Eric James French (Central Michigan University)
Abstract: We investigated the effects of ethanol on behavior and learning in honey bees using a proboscis extension response (PER) conditioning procedure. Using this method, restrained bees were taught to associate either cinnamon or lavender odor with repeated sucrose feedings. Bees were also administered a sucrose solution containing 0%, 2.5%, 5, 10%, or 20% ethanol. In experiment 1, we investigated the ability of bees to respond to reversals in CS+ and CS- roles when ethanol was administered either before the experiment or immediately before the reversal. We found that while ethanol inhibits both behavior and learning, the bees were able to adapt to the stimulus reversal at lower ethanol doses. In experiment 2, we tested if bees would learn a conditioned aversion to an odor by associating that odor with ethanol prior to a PER conditioning procedure where that odor acted as a CS. We found that bees do not appear to learn a conditioned aversion despite the substantial inhibitory and aversive effects ethanol has on behavior. This is a surprising and important finding given the prevalence of taste aversion learning in the animal kingdom. These findings demonstrate the usefulness of honey bees as an insect model for ethanol consumption.
 
20. The Effects of Qualitative Reinforcement Schedule Transitions on Pausing and Response Rate
Domain: Basic Research
ANDREW NUZZOLILLI (Western New England University; The New England Center for Children), Jason C. Bourret (New England Center for Children)
Discussant: Eric James French (Central Michigan University)
Abstract: Reinforcement schedule transitions have behavioral effects. Previous research has examined the effects of schedule transitions involving differing densities, delays, and magnitudes of reinforcement on pre-ratio pausing in both human and non-human subjects (Perone & Courtney, 1992; Williams, Saunders & Perone, 2011). The present study attempts to extend this research by examining the effects of transitions between fixed-ratio schedules of qualitatively different reinforcers on pausing and response rate with one 18-year old male with ASD. First, we assessed the relative reinforcing efficacy of several edible reinforcers using single- and paired- stimulus preference assessments. We selected a high, moderate, and low preferred item from these arrays. Second, we arranged these items to assess the effects of transitions (rich-to-lean; lean-to-rich) in a three-component chain schedule with schedule correlated stimuli and edible delivery after completion of each component. Lastly, we assessed participant preference for these arrangements using a concurrent chains procedure. Interobserver agreement was collected for a minimum of 36% of sessions with 96% agreement across all phases.
 
21. Autoshaping In Humans: A PORTL Replication of Picker and Poling
Domain: Basic Research
NOLAN WILLIAMS (University of North Texas ), Hayden Lee Heath (University of North Texas ), Mary Elizabeth Hunter (The Art and Science of Animal Training), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)
Discussant: Eric James French (Central Michigan University)
Abstract: Autoshaping is produced by repeated non-contingent presentations of a preferred stimulus immediately following the illumination of a manipulandum (Brown & Jenkins, 1968). Autoshaping has been observed in both pigeons and humans (Gonzalez, 1974; Picker & Poling, 1982; Wilcove & Miller, 1974; Pithers, 1985). When different probabilities of food delivery are scheduled with different stimuli, allocation of autoshaped responses varies accordingly (Picker & Poling, 1982). Simultaneous choice between these stimuli has been shown to be a sensitive dependent measure of autoshaped response strength (Picker & Poling, 1982). Experimenters studying autoshaping in humans have used levers similar to those in animal operant chambers and coins as the stimuli delivered non-contingently based on FT schedules (Wilcove & Miller, 1974; Pithers, 1985). This study was an attempt to replicate the Picker and Poling results with humans using the Portable Operant Research and Teaching Laboratory (PORTL) designed by Rosales-Ruiz and Hunter (2014). In this experiment a click and token were delivered on one of three different FT schedules of reinforcement (0%, 50%, 100%), based on which button was present. Simultaneous presentation of the three buttons was used to replicate the choice trials of Picker and Poling. Successful replication of the autoshaping phenomenon was achieved.
 
22. Reinforcement Uncertainty Enhances Preference for Free-choice in Humans
Domain: Basic Research
KRISTEN A. ROST (Troy University)
Discussant: Eric James French (Central Michigan University)
Abstract: Under concurrent-chains schedules of reinforcement, participants often prefer situations that allow selection among alternatives (free-choice) to situations that do not (forced-choice). Researchers have observed preference for free-choice when reinforcement is equal across free- and forced-choice situations and have questioned why participants prefer having the opportunity to choose when it does not result in more desirable outcomes. One possibility is that free-choice acts as an illusory discriminative stimulus that signals a greater chance of obtaining reinforcement. In the present experiment, we attempted to eliminate the possibility of an illusory contingency by providing participants with certain reinforcement under free- and forced-choice situations. Preferences for free- vs. forced-choice were compared under certain (1.0) and uncertain (0.5) reinforcement probabilities. Forty-four college students participated and their preferences were examined under a concurrent-chains schedule of reinforcement. Free-choice selection proportions were compared to indifference (0.5) using two-tailed one-sample t-tests. Participants preferred free-choice when reinforcement was uncertain, t(42) = 4.51, p < .001, but not when reinforcement was certain. Our results demonstrate that free-choice preference is influenced by reinforcement probability and suggest that free-choice preference may be due to an illusory contingency, which may be reduced when reinforcement is certain.
 
23. Exploring conditioned reinforcement using Portable Operant Research and Teaching Lab
Domain: Basic Research
MAASA NISHIMUTA (University of North Texas), Szu Chi Liu (University of North Texas), Mary Elizabeth Hunter (The Art and Science of Animal Training), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)
Discussant: Eric James French (Central Michigan University)
Abstract: Researchers sometimes use conditioned reinforcers that are delivered after a specific number of responses to help facilitate performances on large-ratio schedules (e.g. Findley and Brady, 1965). Sometimes the stimuli that are used as conditioned reinforcers are “paired” with the unconditioned reinforcer before they are used on the large ratio schedule, other times they are not (e.g. Stubbs, 1971). The current experiment explored three types of stimuli and their ability to maintain college students’ performance on a large-ratio schedule. The first stimulus was paired with a conditioned reinforcer, the second type was a novel stimulus, and the third was introduced outside of the context of the task but was not paired with anything. The experiment consisted of five phases. After establishing an FR5 performance, each of the three stimuli and an extinction condition were tested to see if they could facilitate performance on an FR100. Overall, the results showed that the stimulus that was paired with the conditioned reinforcer and the novel stimulus were able to facilitate performance on the FR100, the stimulus that was given prior exposure but no pairing with a conditioned reinforcer did not facilitate performance.
 
24. Insight in the Human: A PORTL Replication of Epstein’s “Insight in the Pigeon”
Domain: Basic Research
AWAB ABDEL-JALIL (University of North Texas), Ashton Corinne Tinney (University of North Texas), Mary Elizabeth Hunter (The Art and Science of Animal Training), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)
Discussant: Eric James French (Central Michigan University)
Abstract: Recombination of repertoires and adduction have been studied in both applied and laboratory settings. The current study aimed to explore these concepts using PORTL (the Portable Operant Research and Teaching Lab). The aim of the experiment was to replicate Epstein et al. (1984) by teaching several component skills separately and then seeing if participants could combine these skills in a certain order during a test condition. The experiment used four stackable blocks, each a different color. During training, participants were given two blocks at a time and were taught to stack certain colors on top of each other. During the test conditions, the learners were presented with the four colored blocks together for the first time. Though the sequence in its entirety has not been explicitly taught, learners stacked all four colored blocks in the correct order. Applications and future directions are addressed.
 
25. Manipulating Response Frequencies with Percentile Reinforcement: The Effects of Sample Size
Domain: Basic Research
KIMBERLY HENKLE (University of Nevada, Reno), Patrick M. Ghezzi (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: Eric James French (Central Michigan University)
Abstract: Shaping is a ubiquitous process that occurs naturally throughout the animal kingdom. The variables comprising this process have been identified and brought to bear on operant behavior. Despite the prevalence of this technique, very few quantitative and systematic shaping processes have been identified. Percentile schedules of reinforcement, however, are one exception. By using an algorithm, percentile schedules formalize the shaping process by calculating the criterion for reinforcement based on where a response is ranked relative to a sample distribution of responses. One advantage of this schedule is that the density of reinforcement and the number of responses considered within the distribution can be specified in advance. Albeit small in number, research results have demonstrated the relative efficacy of this schedule in shaping various response dimensions. However, additional research is needed to identify the conditions under which the schedule effectively and efficiently shapes behavior, particularly with respect to response acquisition and response reduction. Further, only a handful of studies have manipulated components of the schedule, namely the number of previous responses taken into consideration and the density of reinforcement. Therefore, the current study adds to the literature by parametrically examining the number of recent observations and the effect on response acquisition and response reduction.
 
26. Using a Video Game-Based Task to Evaluate the Use of Common Resources in Experimental Settings
Area: CSS; Domain: Basic Research
JULIO CAMARGO (Federal University of São Carlos), Julio C. De Rose (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos)
Discussant: Eric James French (Central Michigan University)
Abstract: Research regarding the use of common-pool resources can be hampered by the lack of control over several intervening variables. For example, to simulate the conflict between immediate gains and delayed adverse effects characteristic of commons dilemmas, most studies resort to the use of monetary reinforcement, which implies motivational issues that constrain within-participant homogeneity. Furthermore, the independent variables manipulated in such studies generally involve verbal instructions such as written or spoken messages, so that the behavior of the participants may change to pliance from the research setting and social control of experimenter. Considering these limitations, the present study proposes the development of a video game for mobile devices in which participants/players handle a conflict between short and long-term consequences. Specifically, participants will be required to consume natural resources to keep playing while keeping note that excessive resource consumption may lead to rapid resource depletion which, consequently, would end the game. Natural resources are represented by fish that appear on the screen which participants must select in order to earn points, producing a continuous and less verbal measure of resource consumption. Faced with this situation it will be possible to evaluate the effects of different variables on participants' responses (e.g., reinforcing and punitive consequences, antecedent stimuli, experimental history, and so on), verifying, among other things, variables which are most effective for establishing a sustainable pattern of resource extraction. Data from a pilot study using this game are presented in the final section of the presentation.
 
27. The Stability and Reliability of Visual Scanning Behavior To Adult and Inanimate Faces
Area: DEV; Domain: Basic Research
D. WAYNE MITCHELL (Missouri State University), Rachel Monroe (Missouri State University), Shelby White (Missouri State University), Molly Fields (Missouri State University), Trista Shrock (Missouri State University), Kaitlin Beason (Missouri State University), Derby Davis (Missouri State University), Stacy Francis (Missouri State University)
Discussant: Eric James French (Central Michigan University)
Abstract: The use of eye tracking devices has enhanced the study of visual attending behavior. In this study, 37 adults’ visual discrimination between infantile face features was examined via a Delayed-Match-To-Sample task. The primary focus of this study was to assess the reliability and stability of the visual scanning (Number of Fixations and Fixation Duration) to facial features (eyes and mouth) of Adult and Inanimate faces. Each participant was presented 10 novel match-to-sample discrimination problems (5 Adult Faces; 5 Inanimate Faces, counterbalanced). Stability (Means and Standard Deviations) and Reliability (Two-Trial Consistency-Correlations) were calculated for the sample stimuli. No significant differences were found for the Number of Fixations or Fixation Duration across trials. Two-Trial Consistencies for the Number of Fixations to Adult Faces ranged r = .69 to .77; r = .41 to .62 for the eyes and mouth respectively; the Number of Fixations for the Inanimate Faces ranged r = .47 to .75; r = .31 to .36 for the eyes and mouth respectively. Reliability for Fixation Duration was lower, but in concordance with the Number of Fixations. Establishing estimates of the stability and reliability of visual scanning behavior reinforce the use of visual scanning to assess the impact of interventions.
 
28. Parametric Schedule Manipulations Affect Preferences for Token Exchange-Production Schedules
Area: EDC; Domain: Basic Research
JOHN FALLIGANT (Auburn University), Sacha T. Pence (Auburn University)
Discussant: Don (Yuhan) Li (The University of Auckland)
Abstract: Though relatively little research has assessed individuals' preferences for amount variability in token-reinforcement arrangements, extant literature indicates organisms tend to prefer variable-amount (VA) token delivery relative to fixed-amount (FA) token delivery (e.g., Lagorio & Hackenberg, 2012). Indeed, organisms may prefer VA delivery to FA delivery even when VA delivery is associated with leaner schedules of reinforcement compared to FA delivery. In applied contexts, token-reinforcement procedures that support appropriate behavior and are highly preferred by the client are desired. Accordingly, VA token delivery may be incorporated into token-reinforcement programs to improve treatment outcomes. However, additional research is required to assess preferences for FA and VA token delivery in clinical settings. Therefore, the purpose of the present study is to evaluate individuals' preferences for VA and FA token delivery as a function of token-production and exchange-production schedules. Preliminary data indicate that VA token delivery may be preferred, but only when token-production values are small.
 
29. The Utility of Non-Parametric Statistical Tests for Multi-Element and Alternating Treatments Experiments
Area: PCH; Domain: Applied Research
EMILY WEAVER (Vanderbilt University)
Discussant: Don (Yuhan) Li (The University of Auckland)
Abstract: Though visual analysis remains the standard method for analyzing data in single case experiments, some scholars have proposed using non-parametric randomization tests to statistically analyze such data (e.g. Levin, Ferron and Kratochwill, 2012). These scholars point to improvements in the objectivity and consistency of analyses when numerical, rather than visual, analysis methods are used. These methods require the use of random assignment of either the timing or order of conditions, which is perhaps a reason that researchers have been slow to adopt them. Randomization might be most compatible with multi-element and alternating treatment designs, where random order of conditions is often recommended to control confounding sequence effects. However, in some cases randomized condition order might compromise experimental control (Hammond, Iwata, Rooker, Fritz, & Bloom, 2013). Thus, both advantages and disadvantages of randomization must be carefully weighed. To assist in this weighing, we present an analysis of the agreement between visual and statistical analysis of multi-element and alternating treatments designs in published, peer-reviewed, high-quality experiments. A systematic literature review identified 40 papers, containing 247 graphs of single case experiments. We extracted data from the graphs and analyzed them using the SCRT package in R (Bulte & Onghena, 2015) to obtain p-values relating the observed difference between conditions to all possible differences between conditions. We compared these p-values to the authors’ published interpretations of each experiment based on visual analysis. We present summary information on the number of times that visual and statistical analysis supported the same conclusion about the presence or absence of a functional relation, and the number of times that the two methods supported different conclusions. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
 
30. Sharing as a Risk-Reduction Strategy When Working With an Actual Partner
Domain: Basic Research
STEPHANIE JIMENEZ (University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown), Erin Barefoot (University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown)
Discussant: Don (Yuhan) Li (The University of Auckland)
Abstract: This experimental study investigated human sharing within a laboratory task, which simulated environmental variability and resource scarcity. The study sought to assess the efficacy of a risk-reduction model of sharing developed by evolutionary biologists (derived from a risk-sensitive optimization model known as the energy-budget rule) in predicting human cooperative behavior. Participants earned tokens that were later turned in for drawings from a prize bowl to earn money. Participants were given the choice to share as many or as little of their tokens with a partner as they would like. The requirement needed to keep points earned was manipulated to better understand resource sharing. Failure to meet the point requirement in place resulted in a loss of points for that trial. In half of the conditions, sharing was the optimal strategy and in the other half of conditions not sharing was optimal. Previous research in this area has examined participants working with a computer, which allows for the control of multiple environmental factors. However, it has low ecological validity. The current study investigated human sharing behavior when working, face-to-face, with another individual. It is hypothesized that the point requirement will influence sharing behavior, while the presence of another person may increase the number of points shared, but only in conditions where sharing is already optimal.
 
31. Errorless Learning Across Intra-Dimensional Stimuli
Domain: Basic Research
MARGOT BERTOLINO (Univ. Lille, CNRS, CHU Lille, UMR 9193 - SCALab - Sciences Cognitives et Sciences Affectives, F-59000 Lille, France), Vinca Riviere (Univ. Lille, CNRS, CHU Lille, UMR 9193 - SCALab - Sciences Cognitives et Sciences Affectives, F-59000 Lille, France)
Discussant: Don (Yuhan) Li (The University of Auckland)
Abstract: Previous studies have shown that physical properties of a stimulus have impact on discrimination learning (Hanson, 1959 ; Guttman & Kalish, 1956). Others studies modified this properties during discrimination learning. This procedure has been called errorless learning (Terrace, 1963). Nonetheless, modifications are arbitrary, and it is unknown in what extended it can enhance learning and reduce error. The aim of this study to replicate results obtained by anterior study in errorless learning, by using an interdimensional stimulus. Nineteen participants with proper vision in colors were used. Half of the participants had as first condition the errorless learning one and trial and error as the second one. For the other half the order was reversed. Participants gaze was used as a remote to control stimulus with an eye tracking system. In errorless learning condition, the luminance of the S- was modified according 12 modifications based on preset criteria. Our results show an acquisition of the discrimination in errorless learning, and no acquisition during trial and error procedure for some participants. These results suggest learning transfer between the two conditions. Discrimination learning can be enhanced by modifying only one property of a stimulus, and experience with a stimulus can blocked discrimination learning.
 
32. Slow and Steady: There's No Race to Win
Domain: Basic Research
SAMANTHA KNOWLES (University of Mississippi), Solomon Kurz (University of Mississippi), Karen Kate Kellum (University of Mississippi), Kelly G. Wilson (University of Mississippi)
Discussant: Don (Yuhan) Li (The University of Auckland)
Abstract: Survey research largely relies on undergraduate student samples. Students often speed through questions or answer all the items in the same way, regardless of their content. Although several researchers have explored ways to detect and clean such data after the fact, fewer have investigated ways to detect and intervene on poor survey behaviors in real time. In the present study of college students, participants in an online survey study were randomly assigned to one of 6 conditions. In the Control condition, participants completed the questionnaire battery as usual. In the four Time Penalty conditions, participants who sped were given a warning and a time-out penalty which lasted 15, 30, 45, or 60 seconds, depending on condition. In the Score condition, participants received their summary score and some normative information after completing each questionnaire. For our primary analyses, we will discuss the extent that the experimental conditions slowed down speedy responders. Secondary analyses will examine how conditions differed on correctly answering attention check items and how they differed for straightlining. We will use both visual and statistical analyses. Finally, we will address future directions for attempting to reinforce good survey behavior or punishing poor survey behavior.
 
33. Observing Matching-to-Sample Performance and Stimulus Sorting
Area: TBA; Domain: Basic Research
ERIK ARNTZEN (Oslo and Akershus University College), Solvor Sæterstøl (Oslo and Akershus University College)
Discussant: Don (Yuhan) Li (The University of Auckland)
Abstract: A series of experiments have been done to study the relationship between performance on a test for emergent relations in a matching-to-sample (MTS) format and sorting of the test stimuli. Such experiments have found a correlation between the outcome of the MTS test and the post-class formation sorting test. Hence, the sorting test is a much easier test to administer than the MTS test, and therefore it is important to find out if it is possible to make the training and test more efficient. Therefore, the purpose of the present experiment was to study if observing a matching-to-sample training and testing would result in sorting the stimuli in experimenter-defined classes. Forty-five participants were randomly assigned to three different groups. Participants in Group 1 (12) were trained to form three 3-member classes with many-to-one training structure. Participants in Group 2 (12) were paired with participants in Group 1 and observed a video clip of the MTS training and test, and then exposed to a sorting test. Participants in Group 3 (24) observed the same video clip of the MTS training and test, and then exposed to a sorting test. The main findings show that participants who observed the MTS training and test only also sorted the stimuli according to the experimenter-defined classes, eight of 12 participants in Group 2 and 12 of 21 participants in Group 3, respectively (see Tables).
 
34. Maintaining the Eye Contact of Typically Developing Infants
Area: DEV; Domain: Applied Research
CHRISTINA WILLIAMS (Florida International University ), Martha Pelaez (Florida International University)
Discussant: Don (Yuhan) Li (The University of Auckland)
Abstract: Researchers have indicated that eye contact is important for typically developing infants. A lack of, or an avoidance of eye contact in infants can indicate developmental problems; one disorder particularly noted for this lack of eye contact is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Infant eye contact is examined in an effective manner, in the context of the duration of the behavior and what stimulation is best for maintaining the behavior. Motherese speech and touch as well as motherese speech alone were used at the onset and off set of eye engagement and continued with the most effective stimulation. This study demonstrated how typically developing infants effectively engage in prolonged eye contact in contingency of motherese speech alone.
 

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