NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Back to results
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ997554
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-May
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-5002
A Computational Model of Selection by Consequences
McDowell, J. J.
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, v81 n3 p297-317 May 2004
Darwinian selection by consequences was instantiated in a computational model that consisted of a repertoire of behaviors undergoing selection, reproduction, and mutation over many generations. The model in effect created a digital organism that emitted behavior continuously. The behavior of this digital organism was studied in three series of computational experiments that arranged reinforcement according to random-interval (RI) schedules. The quantitative features of the model were varied over wide ranges in these experiments, and many of the qualitative features of the model also were varied. The digital organism consistently showed a hyperbolic relation between response and reinforcement rates, and this hyperbolic description of the data was consistently better than the description provided by other, similar, function forms. In addition, the parameters of the hyperbola varied systematically with the quantitative, and some of the qualitative, properties of the model in ways that were consistent with findings from biological organisms. These results suggest that the material events responsible for an organism's responding on RI schedules are computationally equivalent to Darwinian selection by consequences. They also suggest that the computational model developed here is worth pursuing further as a possible dynamic account of behavior. (Contains 3 tables and 3 figures.)
Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. Available from: Indiana University Department of Psychology. Bloomington, IN 47405. Tel: 812-334-0395; Fax: 812-855-4691; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A