+ Site Statistics
+ Search Articles
+ Subscribe to Site Feeds
EurekaMag Most Shared ContentMost Shared
EurekaMag PDF Full Text ContentPDF Full Text
+ PDF Full Text
Request PDF Full TextRequest PDF Full Text
+ Follow Us
Follow on FacebookFollow on Facebook
Follow on TwitterFollow on Twitter
Follow on Google+Follow on Google+
Follow on LinkedInFollow on LinkedIn

+ Translate

Human's choices in situations of time-based diminishing returns

Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 59(3): 445-470
Human's choices in situations of time-based diminishing returns
Three experiments examined adult humans' choices in situations with contrasting short-term and long-term consequences. Subjects were given repeated choices between two time-based schedules of points exchangeable for money: a fixed schedule and a progressive schedule that began at 0 s and increased by 5 s with each point delivered by that schedule. Under "reset" conditions, choosing the fixed schedule not only produced a point but it also reset the requirements of the progressive schedule to 0 s. In the first two experiments, reset conditions alternated with "no-reset" conditions, in which progressive-schedule requirements were independent of fixed-schedule choices. Experiment 1 entailed choices between a progressive-interval schedule and a fixed-interval schedule, the duration of which varied across conditions. Switching from the progressive- to the fixed-interval schedule was systematically related to fixed-interval size in 4 of 8 subjects, and in all subjects occurred consistently sooner in the progressive-schedule sequence under reset than under no-reset procedures. The latter result was replicated in a second experiment, in which choices between progressive- and fixed-interval schedules were compared with choices between progressive- and fixed-time schedules. In Experiment 3, switching patterns under reset conditions were unrelated to variations in intertrial interval. In none of the experiments did orderly choice patterns depend on verbal descriptions of the contingencies or on schedule-controlled response patterns in the presence of the chosen schedules. The overall pattern of results indicates control of choices by temporarily remote consequences, and is consistent with versions of optimality theory that address performance in situations of diminishing returns.

(PDF same-day service: $19.90)

Accession: 008791168

PMID: 8315364

DOI: 10.1901/jeab.1993.59-445

Related references

Humans' choices in situations of time-based diminishing returns: effects of fixed-interval duration and progressive-interval step size. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 65(1): 5-19, 1996

Choice in situations of time-based diminishing returns: immediate versus delayed consequences of action. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 57(1): 67-80, 1992

Instructional versus schedule control of humans' choices in situations of diminishing returns. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 62(3): 367-383, 1994

Pigeons' choices in situations of diminishing returns: fixed- versus progressive-ratio schedules. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 50(3): 375-394, 1988

Diminishing returns...and too many choices...the saga of pharmacologic therapy to reduce the complications of percutaneous coronary intervention. Journal of the American College of Cardiology 44(1): 25-27, 2004

Diminishing returns: the influence of experience and environment on time-memory extinction in honey bee foragers. Journal of Comparative Physiology. A, Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology 197(6): 641-651, 2011

A methodology for solid waste characterization based on diminishing marginal returns. Waste Management 27(3): 337-344, 2006

Trials of diminishing relapses for diminishing returns. Lancet. Neurology 8(10): 870-871, 2009

Information flow in networks and the law of diminishing marginal returns: evidence from modeling and human electroencephalographic recordings. Plos One 7(9): E45026-E45026, 2013

The Diminishing Returns to the 2010 Human Development Index Implications for Climate Policy and Sustainable Development. 2013