Document Detail

The role of autoshaping in cooperative two-player games between starlings.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16812699     Owner:  NLM     Status:  PubMed-not-MEDLINE    
We report a study of the behavior of starlings in laboratory situations inspired by the "prisoner's dilemma." Our purpose is to investigate some possible mechanisms for the maintenance of cooperation by reciprocity and to investigate the process of autoshaping at a trial-by-trial level. In Experiment 1, pairs of starlings housed in adjacent cages played a discrete-trial "game" in which food could be obtained only by "cooperation." In this game, pecking at a response key eliminated the opportunity to obtain food but produced food for the partner. If neither bird pecked, neither had the opportunity to obtain food in that trial. Some level of cooperation persisted for several sessions whether the birds had been pretrained for a high or low probability of pecking at the key. The probability of a cooperative response was higher after trials in which the partner responded (and a reward was obtained) than after trials in which neither bird responded (and no reward was obtained), but the probability of a response was even higher after trials in which the same bird had responded, even though no reward was obtained by the actor in these trials. This behavior did not require visual presence of another player, because similar results were obtained in Experiment 2 (a replicate of Experiment 1 in which the members of the pair could not see each other) and in Experiment 3, a game in which each starling played with a computer responding with "tit for tat." Using an omission schedule, in which food was given in all trials in which the bird did not peck, Experiment 4 showed that pecking could be maintained by autoshaping. In this experiment, overall probability of pecking decreased with experience, due to a drop in the tendency to peck in consecutive trials. The probability of pecking in trials following a reinforced trial did not decrease with experience. An implementation of the Rescorla-Wagner model for this situation was capable of reproducing molar, but not molecular, aspects of our results. The results violate the predictions of several game-theoretical models for the evolution of cooperation, including tit for tat, generous tit for tat, and the superior win-stay-lose-shift.
J C Reboreda; A Kacelnik
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of the experimental analysis of behavior     Volume:  60     ISSN:  0022-5002     ISO Abbreviation:  J Exp Anal Behav     Publication Date:  1993 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-11-05     Completed Date:  2009-12-16     Revised Date:  2010-09-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0203727     Medline TA:  J Exp Anal Behav     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  67-83     Citation Subset:  -    
King's College, Cambridge, UK.
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Grant Support
//Wellcome Trust

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