Yet another PCT-oriented paper

[From Oded Maler (990219) - 10:56 Indian Time]

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Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1999 20:05:33 GMT
Subject: Behavioral Momentum and the Law of Effect: BBS Call for Commentators
From: "Behavioral and Brain Sciences" <>

        Below is the abstract of a forthcoming BBS target article

       *** please see also 5 important announcements about new BBS
       policies and address change at the bottom of this message) ***


                   by John A. Nevin & Randolph C. Grace

This article has been accepted for publication in Behavioral and Brain
Sciences (BBS), an international, interdisciplinary journal providing
Open Peer Commentary on important and controversial current research in
the biobehavioral and cognitive sciences.

Commentators must be BBS Associates or nominated by a BBS Associate. To
be considered as a commentator for this article, to suggest other
appropriate commentators, or for information about how to become a BBS
Associate, please send EMAIL by March 26 to:


    Behavioral and Brain Sciences
    ECS: New Zepler Building
    University of Southampton
    Highfield, Southampton

If you are not a BBS Associate, please send your CV and the name of a
BBS Associate (there are currently over 10,000 worldwide) who is
familiar with your work. All past BBS authors, referees and
commentators are eligible to become BBS Associates.

To help us put together a balanced list of commentators, please give
some indication of the aspects of the topic on which you would bring
your areas of expertise to bear if you were selected as a commentator.
An electronic draft of the full text is available for inspection
with a WWW browser, anonymous ftp or gopher according to the
instructions that follow after the abstract.



        John A. Nevin

        University of New Hampshire
        RR2, Box 162,
        Vineyard Haven,
        MA 02568 USA

        Randolph C. Grace,

        University of Canterbury
        Department of Psychology,
        New Zealand

    ABSTRACT: In the metaphor of behavioral momentum, the rate of a free
    operant in the presence of a discriminative stimulus is analogous to
    the velocity of a moving body, and resistance to change measures an
    aspect of behavior that is analogous to its inertial mass. An
    extension of the metaphor suggests that preference measures an analog
    to the gravitational mass of that body. The independent functions
    relating resistance to change and preference to the conditions of
    reinforcement may be construed as convergent measures of a single
    construct, analogous to physical mass, that represents the effects of
    a history of exposure to the signaled conditions of reinforcement and
    that unifies the traditionally separate notions of the strength of
    learning and the value of incentives.

    Research guided by the momentum metaphor emcompasses the effects of
    reinforcement on response rate, resistance to change, and preference,
    and has implications for clinical interventions, drug addiction, and
    self-control. In addition, its principles can be seen as a modern,
    quantitative version of Thorndike's (1911) Law of Effect, providing a
    new perspective on some of the challenges to his postulation of
    strengthening by reinforcement.

    KEYWORDS: addiction, choice, extinction, generalization, law of
    effects, learning, momentum, movement, operant, Pavlov, preference,
    reinforcement, self-control, Thorndike


To help you decide whether you would be an appropriate commentator for
this article, an electronic draft is retrievable from the World Wide
Web or by anonymous ftp from the US or UK BBS Archive.
Ftp instructions follow below. Please do not prepare a commentary on
this draft. Just let us know, after having inspected it, what relevant
expertise you feel you would bring to bear on what aspect of the

The URLs you can use to get to the BBS Archive:

To retrieve a file by ftp from an Internet site, type either:
   When you are asked for your login, type:
   Enter password as queried (your password is your actual userid:
   yourlogin@yourhost.whatever.whatever - be sure to include the "@")
cd /pub/harnad/BBS
   To show the available files, type:
   Next, retrieve the file you want with (for example):
get bbs.nevin
   When you have the file(s) you want, type:



- ------------------------------------------------------------------
(1) There have been some very important developments in the
    area of Web archiving of scientific papers very recently.
    Please see:

American Scientist:
Chronicle of Higher Education:

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(2) All authors in the biobehavioral and cognitive sciences are
    strongly encouraged to archive all their papers (on their
    Home-Servers as well as) on CogPrints:

    It is extremely simple to do so and will make all of our papers
    available to all of us everywhere at no cost to anyone.

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(3) BBS has a new policy of accepting submissions electronically.

    Authors can specify whether they would like their submissions
    archived publicly during refereeing in the BBS under-refereeing
    Archive, or in a referees-only, non-public archive.

    Upon acceptance, preprints of final drafts are moved to the
    public BBS Archive:

- --------------------------------------------------------------------
(4) BBS has expanded its annual page quota and is now appearing
    bimonthly, so the service of Open Peer Commentary can now be be
    offered to more target articles. The BBS refereeing procedure is
    also going to be considerably faster with the new electronic
    submission and processing procedures. Authors are invited to submit
    papers to:




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(5) Call for Book Nominations for BBS Multiple Book Review

    In the past, Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS) journal had only
    been able to do 1-2 BBS multiple book treatments per year, because
    of our limited annual page quota. BBS's new expanded page quota
    will make it possible for us to increase the number of books we
    treat per year, so this is an excellent time for BBS Associates and
    biobehavioral/cognitive scientists in general to nominate books you
    would like to see accorded BBS multiple book review.

    (Authors may self-nominate, but books can only be selected on the
    basis of multiple nominations.) It would be very helpful if you
    indicated in what way a BBS Multiple Book Review of the book(s) you
    nominate would be useful to the field (and of course a rich list of
    potential reviewers would be the best evidence of its potential
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