Barley’s choice test

July 16, 2008 at 10:27 pm Leave a comment

Two posts today! I must be feeling guilty for leaving you stranded.

Anyways, I just wanted to announce that we will no longer be purchasing doggy toys for our dog. First, he is absolutely terrified of anything that makes a noise – squeak one of those squeaky toys while he is in the room, and he runs away with his tail between his legs. Honestly, I am a little grateful for this – all that squeak-squeak-squeaking would drive me insane. However, it makes buying doggy toys really difficult since almost all of them squeak.

Jason happened to stop by a PetSmart last week, though, and picked up this awesome fleece-fringed ball. You know those fleece blankets that are tied together and have little fleece fringe all around them? Well, this ball is just one big fleece fringe ball. It’s super-awesome and we thought the dog would love it (plus, for $3, we could hardly go wrong).

However, a choice test suggests otherwise.

Let me just interrupt here to let you all know that my research deals heavily with choice – I give subjects the choice between a small reward and a large reward. The tricky part is that the large reward is given after a delay and the small reward is given immediately. So it’s kind of like if I asked you if you wanted $1 now or $5 tomorrow. Basically, I’m assessing the relative value of the two rewards – which reward do you think is better?  (This is related to drug abuse, gambling, binge eating, and other potentially harmful behaviors because people who engage in those behaviors tend not to pick the delayed reward, even though it is obviously more advantageous in the long run to do so).

In Barley’s choice test, he was given the choice between his awesome new fleece ball and a cardboard box that I brought home from work. (FYI – I didn’t blog last night because I had brought supplies home that I needed to craft… basically, I had to shove a bunch of wire into a bunch of plastic tubes. Like 80 to be exact.)

And here’s his choice:


So from now on, we’re just going to give the dog cardboard to play with. Because it’s cheap and easy and he prefers it anyways.  And, if we want to really add some excitement, we throw a treat in there and let him dig it out!  It’s like how he’d forage for food in the wild… or something.

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