Effects of a history of differential reinforcement on preference for choice.

Allen Karsina, Rachel H. Thompson, Nicole M. Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The effects of a history of differential reinforcement for selecting a free-choice versus a restricted-choice stimulus arrangement on the subsequent responding of 7 undergraduates in a computer-based game of chance were examined using a concurrent-chains arrangement and a multiple-baseline-across-participants design. In the free-choice arrangement, participants selected three numbers, in any order, from an array of eight numbers presented on the computer screen. In the restricted-choice arrangement, participants selected the order of three numbers preselected from the array of eight by a computer program. In initial sessions, all participants demonstrated no consistent preference or preference for restricted choice. Differential reinforcement of free-choice selections resulted in increased preference for free choice immediately and in subsequent sessions in the absence of programmed differential outcomes. For 5 participants, changes in preference for choice were both robust and lasting, suggesting that a history of differential reinforcement for choice may affect preference for choice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-202
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the experimental analysis of behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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