Washington University in St. Louis
Luís Oliveira entered the doctoral program at Washington University in St. Louis under the supervision of Dr. Leonard Green in order to pursue research on choice behavior and decision-making. He has been investigating interspecies similarities and differences in impulsivity and self-control using delay and probability discounting procedures. One experiment obtained probability discounting functions in pigeons with a procedure in which the pigeons experienced each of the programmed probabilities in a one-shot (as opposed to repeated-gambles) fashion. Future studies may shed light on whether pigeons show a magnitude effect and the Allais Paradox, both of which have been frequently observed in human studies of decision under risk. In the human discounting literature, the choice alternatives typically involve monetary rewards (real or hypothetical), whereas with nonhuman animals the choice alternatives are directly consumable outcomes (food, liquids, or drugs). Luís has evaluated delay discounting with pigeons in which the outcomes are more like those used with humans. Other research projects include an investigation of the relation between food deprivation and degree of discounting in pigeons and evaluation of the parameters of the hyperboloid discounting function when monetary amounts vary widely, under situations involving gains and losses.
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