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

Previous Page


Special Event #227
CHOICE: Session 2
Sunday, May 26, 2019
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Hyatt Regency East, Ballroom Level, Grand Ballroom CD North
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Elizabeth Kyonka (University of New England)
CE Instructor: Elizabeth Kyonka, Ph.D.

CHOICE: Influencing Preferences for Conditions With and Without Choice-Making Opportunities


When provided with the opportunity to select between conditions in which multiple responses may produce reinforcement or conditions in which one response produces reinforcement, human and non-human animals more often select (i.e., display preference for) the conditions associated with multiple response options (i.e., choice-making conditions). However, this finding is neither static within, nor universal across participants. This data-based presentation will discuss learning histories and variations in choice presentation methods which impact these preferences.

JEFFREY TIGER (Marquette University)

Dr. Tiger is an associate professor of psychology and the behavior analysis program director at Marquette University. He completed his Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology at the University of Kansas under the guidance of Greg Hanley and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Nebraska Medical Center with Wayne Fisher. Dr. Tiger is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and licensed behavior analyst in the state of Wisconsin. He has served on the board of editors of Behavior Analysis in Practice and the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA) and is a current Associate Editor for JABA. He also received the B. F. Skinner New Researcher Award in 2012, awarded by Division 25 of the APA. Dr. Tiger’s research emphasizes the development of effective intervention practices for individuals with developmental disabilities, while extending our knowledge of the basic processes that result in behavior change. Some examples of his research include evaluating the value of choice-making opportunities, developing stimulus control over social behavior through multiple schedule arrangements, and teaching braille related skills to individuals with and without visual impairments.


CHOICE: Variability as a Determinant of Food and Cocaine Choice in Rhesus Monkeys


Relative to nondrug reinforcers, illicit drugs may be uncertain or variable in terms of their availability, quality, price, and time and effort to obtain. Thus, variability may be an important aspect that differs for illicit drugs relative to nondrug alternatives. Research has demonstrated that reinforcers available under variable schedules of reinforcement are generally chosen over reinforcers offered under fixed schedules. As such, illicit drugs may more effectively compete with more predictable, nondrug alternatives, perhaps due to an inherent variability of the conditions associated with the acquisition of illicit drugs. Conversely, drug choice could be reduced by making nondrug reinforcers available under variable schedules. To examine these issues, male and female rhesus monkeys are given choices between fixed and variable schedules of cocaine or food. In control conditions, both schedules are a fixed-ratio (FR) 50, 100, or 200. In test conditions, the schedule of cocaine or food delivery is changed to a mixed-ratio (MR) 50, 100 or 200 on one lever and an equal on average FR on the opposite lever. At sufficiently large MR values, choice of cocaine or food under an MR schedule tends to be greater than choice of the same reinforcer under an FR schedule. However, we see individual differences in the degree to which MR schedules are chosen across different cocaine doses and schedule values. Our findings suggest that variable availability could contribute to excessive allocation of behavior toward procuring illicit drugs at the expense of more predictable, nondrug alternatives, and this effect appears likely to persist during periods of scarce drug access.

SALLY HUSKINSON (University of Mississippi Medical Center)

Dr. Sally Huskinson is currently an Assistant Professor in the Division of Neurobiology and Behavior Research in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. As an undergraduate, she worked with Dr. Erin Rasmussen at Idaho State University where she earned her bachelor’s degree (2007) in psychology. She went on to earn her master’s (2011) and doctoral (2012) degrees in psychology at West Virginia University with the mentorship of Dr. Karen Anderson. In 2012, Dr. Huskinson went to the University of Mississippi Medical Center to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in behavioral pharmacology with Dr. William Woolverton until his untimely death in 2013. Dr. Huskinson finished her postdoctoral training with Drs. Kevin Freeman and James Rowlett, also at the University of Mississippi Medical Center where she currently resides. Her research interests are in drug abuse with an emphasis on drug self-administration and choice procedures, including delay discounting and uncertain drug access.

Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe features of providing choice-making opportunities which may contribute to preference for these conditions; (2) describe histories of differential reinforcement that may be arranged to enhance the reinforcing efficacy of choice-making opportunities; (3) explain how uncertain access to illicit drugs might influence behavioral allocation between drug and nondrug reinforcers; (4) describe how uncertain access to a drug can be evaluated using choice procedures in the laboratory; (5) describe how we might use our knowledge about variable schedules to inform treatments for substance use disorders.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh