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WCALB | Past Program, 2009

Winter Conference on Animal Learning and Behavior
Winter Park, Colorado
January 31-February 4, 2009
Saturday, January 31, 2009


7:30pm -- Buffet Reception
Snowblaze Building B - Unit 34

Sunday, February 1, 2009*

Jim MacDonall, Chair

Economic Demand, Reinforcer Essential Value and Drug Addiction

Steven R. Hursh

Institutes for Behavior Resources, Inc. and
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

A fundamental tenant of behavior analysis is that operant behavior is strengthened by its consequences and that the strength of a reinforcer determines the strength of the behavior it supports. Behavioral economics provides a framework for understanding and measuring reinforcer strength. Reinforcer consumption is measured as a function of the requirements to obtain the reinforcer (price), a relationship called the demand curve. An exponential equation models demand curves and the rate constant of the exponential scales the strength or essential value of a reinforcer. Essential value can be used to assess abuse liability of drugs and progressive changes in essential value with increasing reinforcer experience may be the defining property of drug addiction.

Ten-Minute Break

Sunday, February 1, 2009*

6pm-- Does Behavioral Economics have Relevance to Public Policy

Steve Hursh, Discussion Leader and Facilitator

President Obama again asserted in his inaugural the importance of science for the future of the nation, unfettered by political dogma. Steve believes the time is right to offer ourselves as behavioral scientists to assist with the formation of new public policy in the areas of energy conservation, health, drug abuse, education, crime, and national security. He will share his thoughts on the relevance of behavioral economics to public policy, describe his initiative in organizing a working group to take the most productive advantage this opportunity and plans to offer IBR as a host for relevant meetings. In the resulting discussion of this initiative, we will be his first "working group".

Monday, February 2, 2009*

4:30pm--Focus Session
Patrick Beardsley, Chair

Behavioral Pharmacology, Behavioral Economics
and Reinforcement Value

When and Why Are Choices Emitted Stochastically? Alan Neuringer, Reed College (15 min)

The Behavioral Economics of Animal "Gambling". Greg Madden, University of Kansas (25-min)

Rats are less sensitive to price differences when responding for wheel running. Terry Belke, Mt. Allison University (20 min)

The Stay/Switch Model: Choice Among Topographically Different Responses. James S. MacDonall & Jacqueline McMahon, Fordham University (20-min)

Ten-Minute Break

6:20 pm--Reinforcing Effects of Drugs

Reinforcing effects of directly- and indirectly-acting cannabinoid drugs in squirrel monkeys. Steve Goldberg, National Institute of Drug Abuse (30 min)

8:15pm--Conference Dinner at Fontanot's

TUESDAY, February 3, 2009

5pm--Animal Learning: General
Mark Reilly, Chair

-Learning flavor-nutrient associations with multiple flavors in a meal. Kevin Myers, Bucknell University (15 min)

Food Reinforcement and Extinction of Spatial Target Location by Betta splendens. Joseph J. Pear, Thais Sales, & Wayne S. Chan, University of Manitoba (15 min)

Conditioning Context and Resurgence. David N. Kearns & Stanley J. Weiss, American University (15 min)

Going Green: An Environmentally Conscious Animal Research Facility. Scott Cohn, Western Colorado College (15 min)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009 -- Check out time is 10am

WCALB 2009 Organizing Committee

Stan Weiss, Convener & Program 
Rick Bevins
Cody Brooks, Program
Mark Reilly
Bill Timberlake, Focus Session

*Five minutes will be added to the presentation times indicated for questions and discussion

WCALB 2009 Participants (over)

WCALB 2009 Participants

Patrick Beardsley <>
Terry Belke <>
Scott Cohn <>
Steve Goldberg <>
Steve Hursh <>
Greg Madden <>
Jim MacDonall <>
Kevin Myers <>
Alan Neuringer <>
Martha Neuringer <>
Joe Pear <>
Mark P. Reilly <>
Trish Reilly <>
Stan Weiss <>