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Questions for Choice and Consequences Article Essay

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Questions for Choice and Consequences Article

1.      Studies reviewed in the article show that individuals prefer situations wherein they are able to choose because increased access to preferred stimuli is a derivative of choice. An individual prefers the opportunity to choose because of an awareness that his choices can determine the amount of preferred stimuli he can access or that certain choices allow him access more of such. That is, the individual prefers having the ability to choose because he wants to be able to choose what will give him what he wants the most or the most of what he wants. Another explanation the article poses is that preference to choice conditions over no-choice conditions is innate. That is, the presence of choice in itself if a sort of preferred stimuli.

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2.      According to Fisher et al. (1997) this is because concurrent operant arrangements are more sensitive to variations in reinforcer rate as shown in Brigham & Sherman’s evaluations. Fisher says that this is because “in a single operant arrangement there is generally one dependent variable (i.e. absolute response), wherein a concurrent arrangement there are two (i.e. absolute and relative response rates).” The latter arrangement takes into factor the rate of one response relative to all the possible responses. In a concurrent operant arrangement two qualitatively different reinforcers are “concurrently” available. And hence, in “direct competition” with each other. Whereas only one of such is available at a given time in a single operant arrangement. Studies in single operant arrangement only offered either choice condition or no choice condition, resulting in either both a decrease and increase in access to preferred stimuli. In concurrent operant arrangement offered a choice between having a choice and having increased access to preferred stimuli.

3.      In Experiment 1, the three participants underwent a stimulus choice assessment wherein two items ranked as most highly proffered (higher preference stimulus) and the two items ranked least highly preferred (lower preference stimulus) where identified respectively. Switches were labeled 1, 2, and 3 and were assigned as choice, no choice, and control respectively. There were three phases, which differed in terms of reinforcers. First was the high preference phase. When the participant in this phase chose the choice switch his higher preferred stimulus; the therapists chooses one of the two higher preference stimuli if the participant chooses the no choice switch; no action was program for the control switch. The lower preference phase is similar but the lower preferences stimuli were put in the place of the higher preference ones. The third phase was the HP & LP phase was also similar only the choices were made the between one HP stimuli and one LP. For all three phases, the no-condition choice would entail the therapist choosing what the participant chose in the previous session, yoked choice. To produce the same reinforcements for both choice and no choice conditions.

4.      Experiment 1 found that all three participants “almost exclusively” chose the choice key. This suggests that choice clearly affects response regardless of an increase in access to preferred stimuli nor of whether HP or LP stimuli are presented.

5.      Experiment 1 failed to approximate how much the participant preferred the choice condition relative to how much the participant preferred increased access to preferred stimuli. Experiment 2 addressed this by creating an arrangement wherein the choice key would result in a choice between less preferred stimuli and no choice key would result to highly preferred stimuli. Hence, the participants’ preference for choice condition was in direct competition with his preference for higher preference stimuli. (p.430)

6.      The HP and LP phases of Experiment 2 were identical to those of Experiment 1; the difference was in the third phase. In the third phase of Experiment 2 the choice key presented the participants with a choice between 2 of the lower preference reinforcements and the no choice key presented the participant with a higher preference reinforcement but this time it was not a yoked choice. The second experiment investigated for which the individual had a greater preference for: choice condition or HP reinforcers. The study found that the preferred HP outweighed preference for choice condition.

7.      There were three noted in the article. First was the method used to present choices to participants. In the earlier experiments the reinforcers remained in effect throughout the session. The choices preceded the responding and choosing occurred only once. In the current experiment, the reinforcers were only in effect for specified time intervals choosing occurred more than once throughout the session, this means the participant can switch form different choices.  The second is that most of the earlier studies were done in singular operant arrangements while the current is done in concurrent operant arrangements, a fact that contributed in the difference in results noted. The third difference is functioning level of the participants. The participants in the earlier studies had more severe mental disabilities than in the current one.

8.      The procedure did not seem to be sensitive to momentary fluctuations in preference. Having pegged the two that ranked top in either HP or LP prior to all the sessions as the most or least preferred respectively assumes that those would be the most and least preferred at any given time during the entirety of the experiment which might not necessarily have been the case.