Document Detail

Token reinforcement, choice, and self-control in pigeons.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  8755699     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Pigeons were exposed to self-control procedures that involved illumination of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) as a form of token reinforcement. In a discrete-trials arrangement, subjects chose between one and three LEDs; each LED was exchangeable for 2-s access to food during distinct posttrial exchange periods. In Experiment 1, subjects generally preferred the immediate presentation of a single LED over the delayed presentation of three LEDs, but differences in the delay to the exchange period between the two options prevented a clear assessment of the relative influence of LED delay and exchange-period delay as determinants of choice. In Experiment 2, in which delays to the exchange period from either alternative were equal in most conditions, all subjects preferred the delayed three LEDs more often than in Experiment-1. In Experiment 3, subjects preferred the option that resulted in a greater amount of food more often if the choices also produced LEDs than if they did not. In Experiment 4, preference for the delayed three LEDs was obtained when delays to the exchange period were equal, but reversed in favor of an immediate single LED when the latter choice also resulted in quicker access to exchange periods. The overall pattern of results suggests that (a) delay to the exchange period is a more critical determinant of choice than is delay to token presentation; (b) tokens may function as conditioned reinforcers, although their discriminative properties may be responsible for the self-control that occurs under token reinforcer arrangements; and (c) previously reported differences in the self-control choices of humans and pigeons may have resulted at least in part from the procedural conventions of using token reinforcers with human subjects and food reinforcers with pigeon subjects.
K Jackson; T D Hackenberg
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of the experimental analysis of behavior     Volume:  66     ISSN:  0022-5002     ISO Abbreviation:  J Exp Anal Behav     Publication Date:  1996 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1996-09-17     Completed Date:  1996-09-17     Revised Date:  2010-09-13    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0203727     Medline TA:  J Exp Anal Behav     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  29-49     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Association Learning
Choice Behavior*
Color Perception
Discrimination Learning
Internal-External Control*
Mental Recall
Token Economy*
Grant Support

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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