My Four-Term Contingency of the Day: Beef Jerky


Antecedent: I had just come home from work. I had eaten an early lunch so I was rather hungry.

Discriminative Stimulus:  A bag with a few pieces of homemade beef jerky is on the table.

Behavior: I eat the remaining pieces of beef jerky.

Consequence: I am no longer hungry.

Sometimes even good intentions, such as portioning food, can fall victim to establishing operations. In this case, a state of hunger provided a strong evocative effect on beef jerky eating. Had I maintained a regular meal schedule today, I probably would have been able to pass by the beef jerky and not give it a second thought. However under a state of deprivation, that beef jerky became irresistible. But now the beef jerky I was trying to save for my snack tomorrow is gone. My state of deprivation was so powerful that I decided that eating in the short term was more important than rationing in the long term.

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