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WCALB | Past Program, 2015

Winter Conference on Animal Learning and Behavior
Winter Park, Colorado
January 31 - February 4, 2015

Saturday, January 31, 2015

7:30pm -- Buffet Reception

Snowblaze Building C - Unit 14

All sessions are in the Conference Room on the second floor of Snowblaze, main building. We will try to open the Conference Room a half-hour before a session is scheduled to begin for those who want to arrive early and socialize. If it isn’t open, there is a “commons” area nearby. Five minutes is added to indicated presentation times for discussion.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

4:00pm – Keynote Address

Jessica Stagner, Chair

An Animal Model of Human Gambling Behavior

Tom Zentall
University of 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.

Ten-Minute Break

6:00pm-Focus Session 1

Decision Making and Suboptimal Choice

Gambling Primates: Reactions to a Modified Iowa Gambling Task in Humans, Chimpanzees and Capuchin Monkeys.Darby Proctor (Yerkes National Primate Research Center) (20-min)

Gambling: How Uncertainty Enhances the Attribution of Incentive Salience. Mike Robinson (Wesleyan University) (20-mon)


Monday, February 2, 2015

4:00pm -- Focus Session 2

Scott Cohn, Chair

Decision Making and Suboptimal Choice

The Trouble With the (Discounting) Curve. Kimberly Kirkpatrick (Kansas State University) (20-min)

Choice Between Reliable and Unreliable Sources of Reinforcement. Terry Belke (Mount Allison University) (20-min)

Do Humans Share Non-Humans Preference for Variable Schedules of Reinforcement? Stephen Flora (Youngstown State University) (15-min)

Ten-Minute Break

Switching Between Two Choices: The Third Operant. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz & Camille Kolu, (University of North Texas) (25-min)

Conditioning History, Conditioned Inhibition and the Decision to Seek Drugs. Stanley Weiss & David Kearns (American University) (25 min)

Pavlovian Impulsivity: Predictions From a Neural Network Model. José Burgos & Óscar García, (University of Guadalajara) (20-min)

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


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

4:00pm -- Focus Session 3

Richard Weissman, Chair

Decision Making and Suboptimal Choice

Is More Better Than Less. Tomas Zentall, Jacob Case & Jasmine Luong, (University of Kentucky) (15-min)

Investigation of the Monty Hall Dilemma in Pigeons and Rats.Jessica Stagner (University of Florida) (20-min)

General Session

The Effects of Beacons and Surface Features on Human Spatial Reorientation. Kent D. Bodily, Bradley R. Sturz, and Zachary A. Kilday (Georgia Southern University (15-min)

Resolving Consequential Matrices With Programmed Instruction in Dog Training. Chase Owens (University of North Texas) (15-min)

Ten-Minute Break

5:35pm – Research Seminar Session: Decision Making and Suboptimal Choice

Tom Zentall, Facilitator

Terry Belke, Stephen Benoit, José Burgos, Stephen Flora, Kimberly KirkPatrick, Darby Proctor, Mike Robinson, Jesús Rosales-Ruiz, Jessica Stager and Stanley Weiss with contributions by all conference participants encouraged.

WCALB Organizing Committee

Stanley Weiss, Convener & Program
Peter Killeen
Jesús Rosales-Ruiz


WCALB 2015 Participants

John Barnes
Melinda Beane
Terry Belke
Kent Bodily
Scott Cohn
Kristi Cortez
Carl Danson
Kathleen Dignan
Tracy Frier
Stephen Flora
Erika Foss
Regan Garden
Brenda Guerrero
Morgan Katz
Andrew Kieta
Kimberly Kirkpatrick
Lucero Neri
Chase Owens
Darby Proctor
Mike Robinson
Jesús Rosales-Ruiz
Russell Silguero
Jessica Stager
Raye Stewart
Stanley Weiss
Richard Weissman
Sean Will
Tom Zentall


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