Behavioural analysis of temptation in a soft commitment paradigm. (2003)
In Experiment 1, we partially replicated Siegel and Rachlin's (1995) study of soft commitment, whilst controlling for order effects. "Soft commitment" refers to a situation in which self-control is enhanced by an extended behavioural pattern where the larger-later (LL) outcome is obtained over the shorter sooner (SS) outcome. Results showed that the effect of 'soft commitment' was greater with fixed-ratio 31 (FR 31) schedules compared to the fixed-interval (FI 30) schedules. Therefore, the results of the present study were consistent with Siegel and Rachlin's findings where soft commitment was shown in the FR 31 condition.
In Experiment 2, we explored the effects of a 'temptation' analogous to a human context. FR 31 choice trials were interrupted with a temptation cue (i.e., a red centre key that indicated immediate accessibility to SS reinforcement). Temptation cues were presented at different response locations during the trials. The findings showed that the probability of pecking the temptation key and the latency to respond ('succumb') changed systematically depending on response location. This suggested that pigeons showed a better resistance to yield to temptation when the cue was presented later rather than earlier during the FR 31.
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