DECISION MAKING WITH FREE OPERANT RESPONSES
HARVARD UNIV CAMBRIDGE MA COMMITTEE ON PROGRAMMED INSTRUCTION
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These experiments explored the suitability of free operant techniques in the investigation of choice behavior and decision making. Young adults were the subjects. Two response manipulanda were available, and points were intermittently scheduled in different proportions for each. The number of points at the end of the session determined the subjects payment. The schedule by which the points could result was the independent variable, and the relative frequency of the two responses, which represented the subjects choice, was the dependent variable. When the points were scheduled randomly in time, the anticipated result on the basis of previous findings was that the relative frequency of response would match the relative frequency of points. The observed result did not clearly follow this pattern. Over the period studied, the pattern was one of approximately equal responding to both choices regardless of the relative frequency of points obtained. In two similar experiments the points were scheduled randomly in time, but a requirement was added that responses must be spaced at two second intervals to produce a point. The purpose of this experiment was to determine if reducing the high rate of response observed in the previous experiment would lead the relative frequency of response to conform with the expected pattern. Under these conditions, the results closely approximated the matching model.
- Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems