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ERIC Number: EJ862920
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 40
ISSN: ISSN-0022-5002
Dynamics of Choice: Relative Rate and Amount Affect Local Preference at Three Different Time Scales
Aparicio, Carlos F.; Baum, William M.
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, v91 n3 p293-317 May 2009
To examine extended control over local choice, the present study investigated preference in transition as food-rate ratio provided by two levers changed across seven components within daily sessions, and food-amount ratio changed across phases. Phase 1 arranged a food-amount ratio of 4:1 (i.e., the left lever delivered four pellets and the right lever one pellet); Phase 2 reversed the food-amount ratio to 1:4, and in Phase 3 the food-amount ratio was 3:2. At a relatively extended time scale, preference was described well by a linear relation between log response ratio and log rate ratio (the generalized matching law). A small amount of carryover occurred from one rate ratio to the next but disappeared after four food deliveries. Estimates of sensitivity to food-amount ratio were around 1.0 and were independent of rate ratio. Analysis across food deliveries within rate-ratio components showed that the effect of a small amount was diminished by the presence of a large amount--that is, when a larger amount was present in the situation (three or four pellets), the value of a small amount (one or two pellets) became paltry. More local analysis of visits to the levers between food deliveries showed that postfood visits following a large amount were disproportionately longer than following a small amount. Continuing food deliveries from the same source tended to make visits less dependent on relative amount, but a discontinuation (i.e., food from the other lever) reinstated dependence on relative amount. Analysis at a still smaller time scale revealed preference pulses following food deliveries that confirmed the tendency toward dependence on absolute amount with continuing deliveries, and toward dependence on relative amount following discontinuations. A mathematical model based on a linear-operator equation accounts for many of the results. The larger and longer preference following a switch to a larger amount is consistent with the idea that local preference depends on relatively extended variables even on short time scales. (Contains 21 figures and 1 footnote.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A