2015: Shea Lemley

University of Kansas

In her doctoral studies at the University of Kansas, Shea Lemley is working with Dr. David Jarmolowicz in a lab that examines an array of problems using the tools of behavioral economics. Shea's previous research projects have included studies of delay and probability discounting of sexual outcomes, behavioral economic examinations of alcohol use, explorations of the sunk cost effect, and studies using human operant paradigms. For her dissertation, Shea will apply operant methods to compare two dimensions of cost in the demand paradigm with both human and nonhuman subjects. In behavioral economic demand, consumption is the primary dependent variable of interest and varies systematically as a function of cost. Cost has been defined as having two dimensions: fixed ratio and force. In most behavioral economic research, however, only the fixed ratio value is manipulated. Force remains relatively underexplored in behavioral economics, despite its potential import for understanding the full range of decision-making within the behavioral economic framework. The current project will examine a parametric range of force values while holding fixed ratio constant. Similarly, fixed ratio values will be manipulated while force is held constant. In conjunction, the procedures of this study will examine structural similarities between responding under effort and fixed ratio manipulations, and assess how such manipulations functionally differ across open and closed economies. This project may help in elucidating the interplay between dimensions of responding and may enhance the utility of behavioral economics in understanding and predicting a variety of socially significant behavioral problems. 


Back to Master's Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Grants