Effect of Resource Scarcity on Dyadic Fitness in a Simulation of Two-Hunter Nomoclones

Sinay Neves, Thomas Woelz, Sigrid Glenn


Two experiments were conducted in a college where students in dyads participated in a simulation of hunters who were required to share prey in order to maintain dyadic (group) fitness. The sharing was an interlocking behavioral contingency contributing to survival of the dyad, conceptualized as a hunting nomoclone (Harris, 1964). The simulation comprised 6 consecutive hunting seasons in which the antecedent variable of prey scarcity was manipulated as the independent variable. Results of the first experiment did not show a difference in dyadic fitness as a function of prey scarcity. In the second experiment the difference between poor and rich conditions was increased. In rich conditions, all the dyads performed similarly to those in the first experiment. However, in successive poor conditions, dyads started out less fit and became increasingly fit. Thus, sharing IBCs were more difficult to form under significant scarcity, but they became more frequent over time. The experiment is discussed in the context of Skinner’s view (1981) about cultures evolution, Harris’s (1964) taxonomy of cultural things, and Glenn’s (1988, 2004) formulation of metacontingencies.

Palabras clave

Cultural analysis, experimental analysis, interlocking behavioral contingencies, metacontingencies

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14349/rlp.v44i1.941

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