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WCALB | About the Conference

About WCALB

The Winter Conference is a friendly and informal meeting that provides an opportunity to combine intensive, scientifically rigorous discussions on a variety of topics related to animal conditioning, behavior and learning with skiing at one of Colorado's premier ski areas, Winter Park. The breadth of WCALB paper sessions that reflect the research interests of participants can be seen in recent programs posted on the website. All participants are invited to make a presentation and suggest topics. Graduate students are welcome, and can make a presentation with the written recommendation of their advisor.There is downhill skiing for all skill levels, up to black diamond, as well as exciting cross-country skiing in the Arapaho National Forest, Devil's Thumb and Snow Mountain Ranch. The majestic snow-covered Rockies in winter are breathtaking.In 2015 the Winter Conference on Animal Learning &Behavior will convene in Winter Park, Colorado from Saturday evening, January 31st with departure Wednesday morning, February 4th. 

If you are interested in attending WCALB 2015 please send your small refundable deposit by October 31, 2014 so we know how many condominiums to reserve. See instructions under "Deposits" section below. 

KEYNOTE ADDRESS 

An Animal Model of Human Gambling Behavior 

Tom Zentall, Universityof Kentucky Abstract — Humans buying lottery tickets are engaging in an activity that generally leads to losing money. Although animals are purported to engage in optimal foraging behavior and should be sensitive to the overall probability or amount of reinforcement, they can exhibit similar suboptimal behavior. This appears to result from the strong conditioned reinforcement associated with a stimulus always followed by reinforcement but little conditioned inhibition associated with the absence of reinforcement. Similarly, human gamblers tend to overvalue wins and undervalue losses. Other parallels to human gambling behavior have been found with pigeons. Pigeons on a less restricted diet show a reduced tendency to choose suboptimally, as do pigeons with enriched social experience. This animal model may provide a useful analog to human gambling behavior -- one that is free from the influence of human culture, language, social reinforcement, and other experiential biases that may encourage human gambling.  

Thomas Zentall is DiSilvestro Professor of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kentucky, Fellow in the Society of Experimental Psychologists and was a Fulbright Visiting Professor at Université de Lille, France. Dr. Zentall received his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. He has served as President of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Eastern Psychological Association, Comparative Cognition Society as well as Governing Board Chair of the Psychonomic Society. 

FOCUS SESSION 

Decision Making and Suboptimal Choice 

The format is presentations (up to 25-minutes) with extended discussion among participants in a Research Seminar Session chaired by Tom Zentall that concludes the Conference. Let me (sweiss@american.edu) know if you would like to join this session. 

WCALB Focus sessions have been concerned with: Operant/Classical Conditioning: Comparisons and Interactions (2014)

*Pharmacological History & the Control & Expression of Learning & Behavior (2013)

Theory of Mind: Current Status of the Controversy (2012)

Bi-directional Links Between Obesity & Learning & Memory Dysfunction (2011)

Rational Rats: Causal Inference and Reality Monitoring (2010)

*Economic Demand, Reinforcer Essential Value and Drug Addiction (2009)

Remembering and Anticipating Events in Time (2008)

Modeling Data: From Description & Significance to Behavior & Theories (2007)

The Question of Animal Consciousness and Cognition (2006)

Choice in Humans and other Animals (2005)

Associative Mechanisms and Drug-Related Behavior (2004)

*Learning, Choice and Context Effects (2003). 

*The 2004 & 2010 Focus Sessions were, and the 2014 will be, published as Special Issues of the International Journal of Comparative Psychology.


MEETING, WINTER PARK AND ACCOMMODATIONS 

The Winter Conference is a friendly and informal meeting that provides an opportunity to combine intensive, scientifically rigorous discussions –related to animal learning and behavior broadly defined — with skiing at one of Colorado's premier ski areas, Winter Park. See website (http://www.american.edu/cas/psychology/wcalb/index.cfm) for breadth of WCALB paper sessions that reflect participants' research interests. 

All participants are invited to make a presentation and suggest topics. Graduate students are welcome and can present with their advisor's endorsement. 

There is downhill skiing for all skill levels, up to double black diamond, as well as excellent cross-country skiing in the Arapaho National Forest, Devil's Thumb and Snow Mountain Ranch. The majestic snow-covered Rockies in winter are breathtaking. The all inclusive cost for registration, four days in a shared Snowblaze condominium, an opening buffet reception and dinner at a fine Winter Park restaurant is only $375/person or $750/couple (couples have their own room, usually with private bath, in a condo). 

The Snowblaze is located in Winter Park near restaurants and shops. It has an excellent health club with sauna, steam room, hot tub, pool, weight room and handball courts. All units have complete kitchens. If available, a family can have an entire 2-bedroom condominium unit for $1,125 plus $115 for each person over three. The 2-bedroom units each sleep up to six people if a convertible sofa in the living room is used. All family members are invited to the opening buffet reception, Conference dinner and sessions. 

DEPOSITS 

We will be in the Colorado Rockies in prime ski season. Therefore, condominiums need to be reserved early. If you think you would like to attend WCALB 2015, please let me (sweiss@american.edu) know ASAP by e-mail and send your refundable (until November 30) deposit ($50 per person, $100 per couple, $200 per family) by October 31, 2014. 

This will help insure a place for you in our limited number of reserved condominiums. Make checks out to me with "WCALB 2015" in the lower left corner. Final payment is due November 30, 2014. 

Please send your payment to: Stanley Weiss, Convener

Winter Conference on Animal Learning &Behavior

Department of Psychology

American University

Washington, DC 20016

We will do our best to include late registrants in the Conference, but often they have had to pay substantially more for their accommodations because our reserved condominiums are full. Therefore, if you are interested in attending the Conference let me know soon and send your refundable (until November 30) deposit. A CALL for presentations will go out to registered participants in early December. If you have any questions or suggestions, contact me at sweiss@american.edu. 

We hope to see you in Winter Park! 

Stan Stanley J. Weiss

Professor of Experimental Psychology Emeritus

American University

Washington, D. C. 20016

Phone: 301-656-3454

Fax: 202-885-1023

e-mail: sweiss@american.edu


Winter Conference on Animal Learning & Behavior 

Winter Park, Colorado 

January 31st to February 4, 2015

Stan Weiss (Convener)
<sweiss@american.edu>