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 #341
CE Offered: BACB
What You See Is Not All There Is: History Effects in Learning, Relapse, and Choice
Sunday, May 29, 2022
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Meeting Level 1; Room 152
Area: EAB/PCH; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Matthew Lewon (University of Nevada, Reno)
CE Instructor: Matthew Lewon, Ph.D.
Abstract: Psychological events are unique among the events under scientific study because they are historical and cumulative in nature. How organisms respond to present contextual circumstances depends in part upon what they have experienced in the past. The fact that organismic history is not always observed/known but affects behavior in the present moment adds a layer of complexity to the study of psychological phenomena that is not present in many other sciences. The purpose of this symposium is to share recent empirical research demonstrating the importance of history in three different domains of investigation with different species. The first paper will describe research on the partial reinforcement extinction effect in the persistence of conditioned taste aversion in rats. The second presentation will address the induction of successive incentive contrast in risky decision-making in humans. The final paper will describe research examining the respective roles of discriminative and motivational factors in the renewal and reinstatement of operant behavior following extinction in mice. Each will address the importance of studying and acknowledging the ubiquitous influence of antecedent events and behavioral history to enhance our understanding and interpretation of behavior.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): extinction, relapse, risky choice, taste aversion
Target Audience: Participants should have some experience interpreting and evaluating experimental data/methodology.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1) Describe the partical extinction effect and the conditions under which it is observed in taste aversion learning. 2) Distinguish between gain and loss avoidance contingencies and the role of sequence of experimental conditions on choice between these. 3) Describe some discriminative and motivational variables in relapse and the respective contribution of each.
A Partial Reinforcement Extinction Effect in Conditioned Taste Aversion Learning in Rats
NOELLE MICHAUD (University of Vermont), Mark E. Bouton (University of Vermont)
Abstract: Extinction of a conditioned response can be slowed by partial reinforcement, where only a percentage of the CSs or responses are followed by a reinforcer during conditioning. The phenomenon is clinically relevant, because the partial reinforcement extinction effect (PREE) suggests that partial reinforcement can generate behavioral persistence. Conditioned taste aversions (CTAs) are learned when a flavor is paired with illness typically induced by injection of LiCl . CTA is often considered a unique form of learning, and perhaps consistent with this, there is no evidence of the PREE in CTA. In four experiments with rats, continuous reinforcement (CRF) groups always received a taste CS followed by LiCl injection during conditioning. PRF groups received these reinforced (R) trials with interspersed nonreinforced (N) trials. The experiments did not produce strong evidence of a PREE until we used more conditioning trials than is typically used in this method. The result is consistent with sequential theory (e.g., Capaldi, 1967), and suggests that CTAs do follow familiar laws of learning. Resistance to extinction in taste aversion learning can be engaged by partial reinforcement provided there are many R trials and N trials.
Successive Incentive Contrast Influences Loss Aversion
ERIC A. THRAILKILL (University of Vermont), Julian Kafka (University of Vermont)
Abstract: Loss aversion is a behavioral economic bias wherein individuals prefer avoiding losses over obtaining equivalent gains. We examined how exposure to gains and losses influences loss aversion in a within-subject design. Two groups received three tests consisting of 64 hypothetical 50-50 gambles that presented a potential gain and a potential loss. Participants chose to accept or reject each gamble. For a control group, gains were twice as large as losses, on average, in all three sets of gambles. An experimental group received gambles with the 2-to-1 gain-loss disparity in tests 1 and 3, but the reverse in test 2 (where losses were twice as large as gains). Throughout, choices to accept gambles were sensitive to the gains and losses offered and demonstrated two specific effects. First, although we observed loss aversion in test 1, we observed a reversal of loss aversion when the gain-loss ratio was reversed in test 2. Second, in test 3, which was a repeat of test 1, the experimental group accepted more gambles than the control group. We connect the results to the influence of experience on incentive motivation. Overall, the findings provide new data to connect behavioral economics and the psychology of learning and motivation.
Motivational and Discriminative Factors in Relapse
MATTHEW LEWON (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Two classes of antecedent variables influence the probability of operant behavior: discriminative stimuli and motivating operations (MOs). Discriminative stimuli are those that affect behavior due to their association with particular response-outcome contingencies, while MOs are events that alter the probability of operant behavior in the presence of these stimuli. Interactions between the various discriminative and motivational features of context present/operating at any given moment determine the operant behavior that occurs. Research on the recovery of extinguished operant behavior following extinction (i.e., “relapse phenomena” such as renewal, reinstatement, resurgence, etc.) has primarily focused on the role of exteroceptive discriminative features of context in occasioning relapse. Less research has been conducted on the role of MOs in relapse. I present data from a series of studies using both interoceptive and exteroceptive stimuli as discriminative cues for renewal and reinstatement that suggest that relatively little relapse can be expected even in non-extinction contexts in the absence of a relevant MO. The translational implications of these findings and their relevance to conceptual understandings of interactions between discriminative and motivational features of context will be discussed.



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