In a study, pairs of trained dogs were placed side by side and given a command such as "sit." After both obeyed the c...

Zahra on July 19, 2018

Question 21

Could someone explain this please. Thank you

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MichelleRod on July 24, 2018

Hey @Zahra thanks for your question

Knowing whether there was a decline in obedience if rewards are withheld from BOTH dogs would help us evaluate the fairness argument because it could help us rule out the lack of reward as an explanation for the unrewarded behavior.

In other words, did the unrewarded dogs stop obeying because they were comparing their reward to their partners’? If so, then that would support the proposal that they are averse to being treated unfairly.

Or did the dogs simply stop obeying because their obedience went unreinforced, regardless of what their partner did or did not receive? That would have nothing to do with fairness

Aidyn-Carlson on May 27, 2019

Can someone explain why this a and not b

Ravi on May 28, 2019


Happy to help. Let's look at (A) and (B).

(A) says, "Were dogs who were accustomed to receiving regular rewards
prior to the study more inclined to obey the command?"

(A) provides us with another variable, making our analysis more
complicated. What we care about is the two dogs in the in the stimulus
( the one that was rewarded and the one that wasn't rewarded).
Although (A) isn't totally irrelevant, it doesn't provide us with
useful information about the core of the argument in the stimulus, so
we can get rid of it.

(B) says, "Is there a decline in obedience if rewards are withheld
from both dogs in the pair?"

With (B), we have a question that if answered one way, would
strengthen the argument, and if answered the other way, would weaken
it. We don't know whether or not being treated unfairly is the real
cause for one of the dog's disobedience. If there is not a decline in
obedience if the rewards are withheld from both dogs (meaning if both
dogs remained obedient even when both weren't given treats), then this
would strengthen the argument that the dog who disobeyed did so due to
jealousy of being treated unfairly. On the other hand, if there is a
decline in obedience if the rewards are withheld from both of the
dogs, then this would imply that the dogs are acting disobediently for
another alternative reason (probably due to lack of reward, which is
the alternative cause here), thereby weakening the argument that
unfair treatment is the cause for their disobedience. Thus, (B) is the
correct answer choice.

Does this make sense? Let us know if you have any more questions!