The Psychological Record

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 29–40 | Cite as

Effects of Inequity on Human Free-Operant Cooperative Responding: A Validation Study

  • Ralph Spiga
  • Don R. Cherek
  • John Grabowski
  • Robert H. Bennett


The effect of disparities in reinforcement frequency on human free-operant cooperative responding was examined. Points exchangeable for money maintained responding. Two schedule components alternated during a session. A random interval (Rl) 60-s schedule of point additions was in effect during the first component and a concurrent RI 60-s RI 60-s schedule was in effect during the second component. Subjects were instructed that the second component was initiated by another subject and that they had the option of earning points by working with, or independently of, the other subject. Independent responses earned points added to a counter marked “YOUR EARNINGS.” Cooperative responses earned points added simultaneously to a counter marked “YOUR EARNINGS” and “OTHERS EARNINGS.” Disparities of reinforcement were produced during the first component by increasing the frequency of point additions to either the subject’s or the fictitious other person’s counter. Disparities benefiting the fictitious other subject reduced cooperative responding, decreased independent responding, and had no effect on nonsocial responding during the first component. Disparities benefiting the subject increased cooperative responding in one subject.


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Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ralph Spiga
    • 1
  • Don R. Cherek
    • 1
  • John Grabowski
    • 1
  • Robert H. Bennett
    • 1
  1. 1.Human Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory, Substance Abuse Research Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of Texas Health Sciences CenterHoustonUSA

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