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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #203
CE Offered: BACB
Novel Applications of Commodity Purchase Tasks in Operant Demand Analyses
Sunday, May 29, 2022
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
Meeting Level 1; Room 154
Area: BPN/EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Derek D. Reed (University of Kansas)
Discussant: Michael Amlung (University of Kansas)
CE Instructor: Derek D. Reed, Please Select...
Abstract: Operant demand analyses have demonstrated usefulness in shedding new light on the behavioral economics of many areas of social importance. In behavioral pharmacology, commodity purchase tasks have been refined to permit quick hypothetical purchasing tasks that are conceptually systematic with behavioral economic tenets, and do so while exhibiting strong psychometric attributes. Over the past decade, the commodity purchase task has been translated across substances with abuse liability and into new areas of consumer behavior. Early investigations of the commodity purchase task used between group analyses to demonstrate how individuals in an experimental/target group performed in the demand analyses relative to those from a control group. More recent investigations have translated these ideas to within-subject evaluations to examine contextual influences on demand, and to better parse the behavioral processes underlying responses in demand analyses. This symposium showcases four cutting-edge applications of the commodity purchase task—each is the first of its kind in their respective areas of inquiry/application. A discussant will synthesize these approaches, provide commentary on the benefits of these applications, and discuss future areas of work.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): behavioral economics, demand, quantitativ analysis
Target Audience: Intermediate: Behavior analysts with a basic understanding of behavioral economics or behavioral pharmacology.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) distinguish between open and closed economies; (2) define various aspects of demand curves; (3) discuss the behavior analytic underpinnings of commodity purchase tasks.
Response Uncertainty in Price Elastic Decisions: Implications for Human Demand Procedures
JUSTIN CHARLES STRICKLAND (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Allyson R Salzer (University of Kansas), William Stoops (University of Kentucky), Derek D. Reed (University of Kansas)
Abstract: The purchase task procedure is widely used to evaluate behavioral economic demand in human participants. An unusual, but consistent finding of this work is that price sensitivity (elasticity) is often less predictive of target health behaviors like substance use than other demand metrics despite (arguably) being the most conceptually relevant and a key predictor in preclinical models. One possible reason for these findings is uncertainty, and thus increased measurement error, around price elastic purchasing decisions. We evaluate this in two experiments using both objective (response time) and subjective (self-report) measures of uncertainty. Participants (Experiment 1 College Students N=109; Experiment 2 Community Adults N=112) completed an alcohol purchase task while response time (Experiment 1/2) and self-reported certainty (Experiment 2) were collected. Decisions at points of demand elasticity were less certain (as measured by self-report) than inelastic or suppressed consumption decisions, p<.001. Response time was also slower during elastic decisions than suppressed consumption ones, p<.001. Models incorporating uncertainty in the prediction of alcohol use behavior suggest a possible moderating role. These findings collectively support the need to explore decision uncertainty within behavioral economic demand procedures to both iterate analytic methods as well as to improve clinical prediction.

Using Hypothetical Commodity Purchase Tasks to Detect Actual Market Influences: A Natural Experiment During COVID-19

FERNANDA SUEMI ODA (University of Kansas Department of Applied Behavioral Science; Cofrin Logan Center for Addiction Research & Treatment), Justin Charles Strickland (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Brent Kaplan (University of Kentucky), Derek D. Reed (University of Kansas)

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic in North America resulted in consumer hoarding of goods such as hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and water, rendering them difficult to purchase. From a conceptual standpoint, this event presented a natural experiment on closed economy influences on consumer demand. This study examined the relative sensitivity of hypothetical commodity purchase tasks during two periods of the pandemic—start of pandemic versus 1-year later—using a within-subject design. The first purchase task was conducted in March 2020 immediately following the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a pandemic and stay-at-home orders issued in the US. We conducted a follow-up purchase task using the same participants (mTurk) in March 2021 when stay-at-home orders were no longer in place and vaccines were available in the U.S. Participants included 287 mTurk Workers. Purchase of the target commodities was compared with purchase of control commodities that can be interpreted as substitutes or complements for the target commodities. Results indicated differences in demand during these two periods. We discuss how these two periods can be interpreted as closed and open economies, as well as the implications of purchase task sensitivity to these natural market fluctuations.

Effects of Visual Exposure to Natural versus Built Environments on Cannabis, Cigarette, and Alcohol Demand
SHAHAR ALMOG (University of Florida Department of Health Education and Behavior), Jillian Rung (University of Florida), Andrea Vasquez Ferreiro (University of Florida), Brett Gelino (University of Kansas Department of Applied Behavioral Science; Cofrin Logan Center for Addiction Research & Treatment), Ali Yurasek (University of Florida Department of Health Education and Behavior), Derek D. Reed (University of Kansas), Meredith Steele Berry (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract: Among other health benefits of exposure to nature, previous studies have shown that exposure to natural environment images rather than built environment images can affect decision making and reduce delay discounting. The purpose of the present study was to extend these findings and examine whether exposure to natural versus built environment images will reduce demand for substances in a within subjects, repeated measures design, among people who regularly use cannabis, cigarettes, or alcohol. Participants were Amazon Mechanical Turk Workers who self-identified as regular substance users (used at least 5-10 times during the past month, depending on the substance). Session order was randomized and sessions were spaced at least 5 days apart. Participants viewed either natural or built environment images before completing a state drug purchase task. Initial data (n = 79) showed reductions in intensity of cannabis demand following the nature images relative to the built images, however, no differences emerged for demand for cigarettes or alcohol. Data collection is ongoing (n = 200 projected). If hypotheses are confirmed, this may suggest that exposure to more natural spaces as opposed to built/city spaces may serve as a beneficial and accessible treatment component to reduce problematic substance use.

Bidirectional Increases in Valuation for Cigarettes and Alcohol Under Withdrawal of Either Substance in Co-Users

BRENT KAPLAN (University of Kentucky), Mark Justin Rzeszutek (University of Kentucky), Cassandra D. Gipson (University of Kentucky), Mikhail Koffarnus (University of Kentucky College of Medicine)

Individuals dependent on tobacco are more likely to be dependent on alcohol and vice versa and while behavioral economic methods have proven useful in understanding valuation for various drugs of abuse, little research has applied these methods to examine how drug valuation changes under withdrawal states. The current study examined changes in behavioral economic demand for alcohol and cigarettes drugs under hypothetical withdrawal states for alcohol or nicotine. 260 participants from Amazon Mechanical Turk who reported smoking daily and drinking at least 2 drinks per week were included in the final analysis. Participants completed a series of purchase tasks for cigarettes and alcohol under baseline and hypothetical withdrawal conditions from both drugs independently. Findings from nonlinear mixed-effects modeling suggest demand intensity decreased under both withdrawal states for both drugs and change in demand elasticity decreased (drug valuation increased) for both drugs and under both withdrawal scenarios, demonstrating a cross-substance bidirectional effect of alcohol or nicotine withdrawal on abuse liability of both substances. Although additional research should examine if similar results are observed under experiential conditions, the current results may have implications for continued co-use of these drugs, as well as for treatment targeted at polysubstance use.




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