Date of Award:

8-2020

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Psychology

Committee Chair(s)

Gregory Madden

Committee

Gregory Madden

Committee

Timothy A. Slocum

Committee

Amy Odum

Committee

Tim Shahan

Committee

Mona C. Buhusi

Abstract

Stimuli which, during the life of an organism, acquire the ability to increase the probability of behavior that they follow are called conditioned reinforcers. The concurrent-chains procedure has been used to study conditioned reinforcement for over 60 years. During this time several different models have been developed to explain how stimuli become conditioned reinforcers. The three experiments of this dissertation introduced a new quantitative model of conditioned reinforcement (DRTH) and tested its predictions against four existing models. The results of Experiment 1 indicated that DRTH improves upon the accuracy of its predecessor, delay reduction theory (Fantino, 1969), when predicting choice between fixed and variable delays in the concurrent-chains procedure. The results of Experiment 2 indicated that a competing model of concurrent-chains choice, the hyperbolic value-added model, requires unique assumptions to account for choice when long initial links, a component of the concurrent-chains procedure, are studied. The results of Experiment 3 provided mixed evidence that the distribution of delays used in all components of the concurrent-chains procedure is important. While all models were able to account for some of the findings across the three experiments, DRTH made the most consistent predictions across all three experiments.

Checksum

18ec7f6f96641ab102e011611d13599c14ffc619

Included in

Psychology Commons

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