Similar Consumption and Responding Across Single and Multiple Sources of Drug

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Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior






Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior

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Two experiments were conducted to assess whether total response output and total consumption would be similar when drugs are available from single and multiple sources of reinforcement, as predicted by behavioral economics. In Experiment 1, cigarette-deprived smokers were exposed to a concurrent-chains schedule in which equal fixed-ratio schedules served as the initial links, and different reinforcer magnitudes (i.e., number of cigarette puffs) were arranged across alternatives. After the session, obtained unit price was calculated and imposed in the next session when a different number of puffs was available according to a single fixed-ratio schedule. Thus, the unit price at which cigarette puffs could be earned was yoked within subjects across the single and concurrentchains schedules. When plotted as a function of unit price, similar consumption and response rates were usually obtained across these schedules. Experiment 2 addressed a weakness of Experiment 1, namely, that responding was allocated exclusively to the larger reinforcer magnitude in concurrentchains conditions, and therefore this schedule may have functioned as a single schedule. In Experiment 2, subjects were instructed to alternate responding between the two alternative schedules. Instructions produced approximately equal response allocation between the two alternatives. Again, similar consumption and response rates were observed across the single and instructed concurrentchains schedules. These findings are discussed in the context of direct effects and behavioral economics perspectives of drug self-administration.


Originally published by the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. Publisher's PDF available through remote link via PubMed Central. This article appeared in the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.
Note: Greg Madden was affiliated with the University of Vermont at time of publication.