'Choice and Behavioral Decision Making: The Phenomenon of Discounting' by Todd L. McKerchar, April 18
by Michelle Saport |
Saturday, April 18, 9-10 a.m. Social Sciences Building, Room 118
Todd L. McKerchar, Ph.D., from Jacksonville State University, is the guest lecturer for the Behavioral Sciences Conference of the North organized by the UAA Department of Psychology.
About the talk: Since Herrnstein's early research (1961, 1970) on the matching law with nonhuman subjects, behavior analysts have been increasingly interested in studying choice and decision-making processes in both nonhuman and human subjects. One of the most heavily studied and well-understood topics on choice and decision-making is the phenomenon of "discounting." Researchers in this area study how certain variables influence the effectiveness of consequences as re-enforcers or punishers in choice scenarios.
The purpose of this tutorial is threefold. First, in order to develop the discounting framework, McKerchar will describe some of the experiments that have been crucial in the development of this field. Second, he will review the major empirical regularities that have emerged from research in this area. Finally, he will describe some more recent data on discounting, both from his lab and elsewhere.
It is concluded that the systematic study of discounting processes is essential not only in our efforts to understand behavior problems (e.g., procrastination, risky behavior), but rather it is essential in our efforts to ultimately understand all human behavior.