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ERIC Number: EJ896719
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 19
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0022-5002
Pigeons' Discounting of Probabilistic and Delayed Reinforcers
Green, Leonard; Myerson, Joel; Calvert, Amanda L.
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, v94 n2 p113-123 Sep 2010
Pigeons' discounting of probabilistic and delayed food reinforcers was studied using adjusting-amount procedures. In the probability discounting conditions, pigeons chose between an adjusting number of food pellets contingent on a single key peck and a larger, fixed number of pellets contingent on completion of a variable-ratio schedule. In the delay discounting conditions, pigeons chose between an adjusting number of pellets delivered immediately and a larger, fixed number of pellets delivered after a delay. Probability discounting (i.e., subjective value as a function of the odds against reinforcement) was as well described by a hyperboloid function as was delay discounting (i.e., subjective value as a function of the time until reinforcement). As in humans, the exponents of the hyperboloid function when it was fitted to the probability discounting data were lower than the exponents of the hyperboloid function when it was fitted to the delay discounting data. The subjective values of probabilistic reinforcers were strongly correlated with predictions based on simply substituting the average delay to their receipt in each probabilistic reinforcement condition into the hyperboloid discounting function. However, the subjective values were systematically underestimated using this approach. Using the discounting function proposed by Mazur (1989), which takes into account the variability in the delay to the probabilistic reinforcers, the accuracy with which their subjective values could be predicted was increased. Taken together, the present findings are consistent with Rachlin's (Rachlin, 1990; Rachlin, Logue, Gibbon, & Frankel, 1986) hypothesis that choice involving repeated gambles may be interpreted in terms of the delays to the probabilistic reinforcers. (Contains 4 figures and 1 table.)
Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. Available from: Indiana University Department of Psychology. Bloomington, IN 47405-1301. Tel: 812-334-0395; FAX: 812-855-4691; e-mail: jeab@indiana.edu; Web site: http://seab.envmed.rochester.edu/jeab/index.html
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A