A Preference for Hard Work?

Posted May 12th, 2010 at 2:07 pm.

Katherine Kellom

Mentor: Professor Paul Neuman

This experiment explores the effects of a particular history on what is ordinarily termed ‘work ethic.’ Other researchers demonstrated that pigeons prefer stimuli that had previously been correlated with larger response requirements over stimuli that had relatively smaller response requirements. Research in this laboratory with different procedures produced contrary findings, which support the general principle that pigeons prefer stimuli paired with a lower response requirement or a shorter delay to reinforcement, regardless of history. For this reason, we are attempting to replicate the original study with the same procedures. In training, either one or twenty pecks will be required in the presence of a response key lit yellow. Each response’s requirement will be followed by separate simple simultaneous discriminations: a peck in the presence of one color will produce food (SD) and a peck in the presence of the other will not be reinforced (SΔ). The test trials will involve either a choice between the two discriminative stimuli (SD FR1 and SD FR20) or a choice between the two s-deltas (SΔ FR1 or SΔ FR20).

Filed under: 2008,Kellom, Katie,Neuman, Dr. Paul by Ann Dixon

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