College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

A Collateral Effect of Reward Predicted By Matching Theory

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Summer 1990

Keywords

Concurrent Schedules; Matching Theory; Basic Research; Positive Reinforcement

Publication Title

Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis

ISSN

0021-8855

Volume

23

Issue/No.

2

Peer Reviewed

1

Abstract

Matching theory describes a process by which organisms distribute their behavior between two or more concurrent schedules of reinforcement (Herrnstein, 1961). In an attempt to determine the generality of matching theory to applied settings, 2 students receiving special education were provided with academic response alternatives. Using a combined simultaneous treatments design and reversal design, unequal ratio schedules of reinforcement were varied across two academic responses. Findings indicated that both subjects allocated higher rates of responses to the richer schedule of reinforcement, although only one responded exclusively to the richer schedule. The present results lend support to a postulation that positive reinforcement may have undesirable collateral effects that are predicted by matching theory (Balsam & Bondy, 1983).

DOI

10.1901/jaba.1990.23-197