Below are PDFs of some of the Mechner Foundation's documents and publications in educational innovation, basic research, and other areas.
In the first experiment described in this paper, in which participants typed non-word sequences of letters on the computer keyboard, systematic bias for certain operants over others—strong enough to override the programmed independent variable of the study—was observed. A second experiment was then designed to remove this bias by replacing the letters on the keyboard with symbols. However, more systematic operant bias was observed in Experiment 2 than previously in Experiment 1. Ergonomic analysis of the specific keystrokes making up operants for which bias was observed in Experiment 2 points to three specific and quantifiable kinesthetic biases affecting human typing behavior.
Formatted version available at: Jones, L. D., & Mechner, F. (2015). Kinesthetic operant bias in keyboard-based choice behavior. European Journal of Behavior Analysis, 16, 202-228. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15021149.2015.1093796
This article reports five experiments on the topic of resurgence performed in the Foundation’s laboratory over a period of several years. It defines the concept of resurgence broadly as reappearance of behavior that occurred earlier in the individual’s history but not recently, and discusses the research implications of this broader definition. The methodology employed is novel in its ability to reveal differential effects on the criterial and non-criterial features of the operants studied.
Also available at: Mechner, F., & Jones, L. D. (2015). Effects of repetition frequency on operant strength and resurgence of non-criterial features of operants. Mexican Journal of Behavior Analysis, 41, 63-83.
The design of any experiment involving more than one operant (all studies of choice, for example) requires the operants used to be both functionally equivalent and neutral for the participants prior to the experiment. In a series of three studies on learning history variables, persistent systematic biases were observed; these were associated both with the hand motions involved in executing each operant and with the operant’s visual aspects. This type of finding proves to be general and has implications for any behavior research that assumes equivalence among operants.
Also available at: Jones, L. D., & Mechner, F. (2013). Systematic operant bias observed in human participants during research on choice. European Journal of Behavior Analysis, 14, 295-311.
In a series of 5 experiments, similar keystroke sequences on a computer keyboard were learned and practiced by human subjects. Each experiment consisted of learning sessions followed by a final test session in which the subjects were required to choose and perform one from offered sets of three. In the test session, most subjects showed either primacy or recency effects, and relatively few showed both. The paper discusses the implications of these results for resurgence effects.
Also available at: Mechner, F., & Jones, L. D. (2011). Effects of sequential aspects of learning history. Mexican Journal of Behavior Analysis, 37, 109-138.
Human participants in two experiments learned to perform behaviorally equivalent operants consisting of sequences of keystrokes on the computer keyboard. The independent variables were the number of times operants were practiced, both the ratios of those numbers as well as the absolute numbers. The dependent variable was the number of times each operant was then chosen in forced-choice tests.