Effects of Differential Reinforcement and Rules With Feedback on Preference for Choice and Verbal Reports
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We evaluated the effects of differential reinforcement and accurate verbal rules with feedback on the preference for choice and the verbal reports of 6 adults. Participants earned points on a probabilistic schedule by completing the terminal links of a concurrent-chains arrangement in a computer-based game of chance. In free-choice terminal links, participants selected 3 numbers from an 8-number array; in restricted-choice terminal links participants selected the order of 3 numbers preselected by a computer program. A pop-up box then informed the participants if the numbers they selected or ordered matched or did not match numbers generated by the computer but not displayed; matching in a trial resulted in one point earned. In baseline sessions, schedules of reinforcement were equal across free- and restricted-choice arrangements and a running tally of points earned was shown each trial. The effects of differentially reinforcing restricted-choice selections were evaluated using a reversal design. For 4 participants, the effects of providing a running tally of points won by arrangement and verbal rules regarding the schedule of reinforcement were also evaluated using a nonconcurrent multiple-baseline-across-participants design. Results varied across participants but generally demonstrated that (a) preference for choice corresponded more closely to verbal reports of the odds of winning than to reinforcement schedules, (b) rules and feedback were correlated with more accurate verbal reports, and (c) preference for choice corresponded more highly to the relative number of reinforcements obtained across free- and restricted-choice arrangements in a session than to the obtained probability of reinforcement or to verbal reports of the odds of winning.
Key wordschoice preference differential reinforcement concurrent-chains arrangement rule-governed behavior self-rules probabilistic verbal reports
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