Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Poster Session #96
#96 International Poster Session (EAB)
Saturday, May 24, 2008
6:00 PM–7:30 PM
South Exhibit Hall
90. Test Order Effects in Simultaneous Protocols.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
TIMOTHY WARNER (John Caroll University), Abdulrazaq A. Imam (John Carroll University)
Abstract: Simultaneous protocols typically yield poorer stimulus equivalence outcomes than other protocols commonly used in equivalence research. Sixteen participants demonstrated two independent groups of three 3-member equivalence classes in two conditions, one using the standard simultaneous protocol and the other using a hybrid simultaneous training and simple-to-complex testing. Participants showed better accuracy with the hybrid than with the standard protocol. Even though there were more blocks to complete in the hybrid than the standard protocol, participants tended to take longer to demonstrate equivalence under the latter than the former. The results implicate test order effects and suggest explanations for the difficulty often encountered with the simultaneous protocol.
91. Using fMRI to Assess the Reinforcer Magnitude Effects on Neurobiology of Pathological Gamblers.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
MARANDA TRAHAN (Southern Illinois University at Carbondale), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University), Amanda Leone Ryan (Southern Illinois University at Carbondale), Reza Habib (Southern Illinois University at Carbondale)
Abstract: The present study explored the effects of various jackpot sizes on neurobiology of pathological gamblers. Five pathological gamblers were presented with a simulated slot machine task while inside an fMRI scanner. Slot machine reels were displayed spinning for 3 s followed by 2 s of display of either wins, losses, or near-misses. Each jackpot varied in payoff size from 1 cent to $10.00. Various manipulations within subjects allowed for assessment of magnitude effects on various reinforcer pathways in the participants’ brain. While not a cause for pathological gambling, brain activity can have utility as a supplemental dependent measure. The present results suggest that size does in fact matter, and that more activity was produced in participants’ brains when exposed to conditions of large jackpot sizes. Implication for the use of money versus class extra-credit are presented.
92. The Effects of Delayed Reinforcement as Differential Outcomes in Delayed Matching-to-Sample in Pigeons.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
BRUCE E. HESSE (California State University, Stanislaus), Lawrence Ezra Allen (California State University, Stanislaus)
Abstract: A standard delayed matching-to-sample procedure was used with pigeons with delay intervals of 0, 1, 2, 3, and 5 s between the offset of the sample and the onset of the comparison stimuli. The delay intervals were systematically increased once predetermined mastery criteria were met. Two different conditions were used to examine their effects on the accuracy of matching and the number of sessions to meet mastery for each delay interval. During the same-outcome condition, correct responses to both colors used were reinforced immediately with 3 s access to food. During the differential-outcome condition, one color was reinforced immediately with a 2 s access of food and correct responses to the other color initiated a 2 s delay prior to the delivery of the 2 s access to food reinforcement. The results included an increase in accuracy while reducing the number of sessions necessary for mastery during the differential-outcome condition.
93. Analysis of Correspondences between the Said and the Do in Adults and Children when Three Kind of Descriptions are Used.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
HORTENSIA HICKMAN (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), Patricia Anabel Plancarte Cansino (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), Rosalinda Arroyo (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), Diana L. Moreno (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), Maria Luisa Cepeda Islas (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
Abstract: Although the importance of the correspondence between verbal and not verbal behavior is recognize for the establishment of complex relations, there are few studies that have evaluated the kind of correspondence between verbal description and the instrumental response. In this study the effects of stimulus relations on second-order identity matching were evaluated by arranging a sentence-completion requirement prior to matching a comparison to a sample stimulus. Sixteen college students (X=19 years) and 16 elementary school children (X=10 years) participated. Three experimental groups at each age were exposed to variants in the sentence completion format: descriptions of (1) matching contingencies, (2) relevant stimulus dimensions, or (3) choice performance. A control group had no exposure to sentences. Effects of verbal descriptions were evaluated on acquisition and transfer of matching. Across ages, experimental groups demonstrated higher accuracy during training and transfer tests. The correspondence analysis showed differences between the adults and children. These findings are discussed in terms of the influence of verbal behavior on the acquisition and the kinds of correspondences associated to performance accuracy.
94. Shaping Human Movement Topographies Using Two Different Response Markers: Voice and Clicker.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
TRAVIS HETH (University of North Texas), Jesus Rosales-ruiz (University of North Texas)
Abstract: In the current investigation, we evaluated the effects of teaching a forward bend using two different response markers. Subjects were college students. In one condition, proper bending was immediately followed with the sound produced by a clicker. In another condition, correct responses were immediately followed by the spoken word, “good”. Two target bending angles were chosen one for each condition. Each day the subjects performed 10 trials of training at a given angle followed by 5 probe trials in the absence of the response marker. This was followed by another 10 training trials and 5 probe trials using the other angle. Data was collected on the angles at which the subjects stopped and the timing of the response markers. A multiple treatment design with probe trials was used to evaluate the differential effects of shaping with the two response markers. Results are in progress and will be discussed in terms of the physical properties of the markers and their appropriateness for shaping human movements.
95. Assessing Choice between High- and Low-Risk Options: Effects of Manipulating Cost.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
J. ADAM BENNETT (Western Michigan University), Gabriel Daniel Searcy (Western Michigan University), Cynthia J. Pietras (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Risky choice in adult human subjects was assessed in a task designed to approximate energy budget manipulations conducted with non-humans. Subjects were presented with choices between high- and low-variance monetary options in blocks of five trials. Block earnings were accumulated and added to session earnings only if a subject met the minimum earnings requirement for that block. Cost was manipulated by subtracting a set amount from subjects’ reserves (money provided at the beginning of a block) when a trial choice was made. Similar to previous results with earnings budget manipulations, choice between high- and low-variance options was a function of budget condition. That is, choice tended to be risk-averse when subjects were presented with a positive-budget condition (no cost: net gains plus reserves meet requirements) and risk-prone when subjects were presented with negative-budget conditions (cost: net gains plus reserves fell below that which was required to meet minimum requirements). These results further demonstrate the applicability of non-human energy budget manipulations to human subjects when modified to present monetary earnings.
96. Age-Related Behavioral Change in Ames Dwarf Mice.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
DAVID P. AUSTIN (University of North Dakota), Jeffrey N. Weatherly (University of North Dakota), Holly Brown-Borg (University of North Dakota)
Abstract: The discovery of the Ames dwarf mouse in the early 1960s has given researchers an exciting opportunity to study the hormonal effects of aging. The Ames dwarf mice have a recessive mutation of the PROP-1 gene that produced an anterior pituitary deficiency. Researchers noticed that these mice were smaller than their normal siblings but also lived about 40%-65% longer. The purpose of the present research was to determine if the reduced hormones in the Ames dwarf mouse delay the loss of memory and the ability to learn. Learning was assessed using a matching-to-sample procedure, while memory was evaluated using a modified radial arm procedure. The animals were assigned to five groups according to their age and genetic composition. The results of both procedures, taken together, suggest that the Ames dwarf mice have a developmental delay from their normal siblings in the first months of life. However, the Ames’ performance at older ages is just as good, if not better, than their younger normal siblings, suggesting a delay in the loss of memory and the ability to learn new information.
97. Effect of Stimulus Equivalence Procedures on Generalized Responding.
Area: EAB; Domain: Applied Research
GLEN L. MCCULLER (Stephen F. Austin State University), Robin Rumph (Stephen F. Austin State University)
Abstract: In a study focused on promoting equivalence among orally expressed words, signed words, and printed words, McCuller, Ninness, Rumph, and Eberle (2006) found that stimulus equivalence procedures may effectively establish functional relations. Also, at least with one subject, this training promoted novel relations wherein the subject combined newly learned signs into sentences, without specific training. However, two subjects were unable to derive these novel relations after successfully demonstrating equivalence among stimuli. In this poster, results will be presented of a study to teach and assess the equivalence among orally expressed words, signed words, and picture representations. In order to test the limits of this protocol we will employ generalization procedures that have the subjects organize the actual objects in novel configurations.
98. Effects of Training on the Implicit Stereotypes in Trainees.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
MICHAEL ANGELO VERNALE (IIT), Diana Van De Kreeke (Illinois Institute of Technology), Patricia Bach (Illinois Institute of Technology)
Abstract: The present study was designed to examine if training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) reduces implicit stereotypes of mental illness in burgeoning therapists compared to other treatment approaches. Participants were divided into one of three groups: (1) first year psychology graduate students with no formal training, (2) second year psychology graduate students currently involved in training programs other than ACT, and (3) second year psychology graduate students currently enrolled in an ACT training program. Each group was administered the IRAP in order to test for implicit biases. It is hypothesized ACT trainees will show less inconsistency in biases.
99. Effects of Signaled Reinforcer Magnitude and Ordinal Position of a Fixed-Ratio Schedule on Delayed Matching-to-Sample Performance in Pigeons.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
YUSUKE HAYASHI (West Virginia University), Chata A. Dickson (West Virginia University), Michael Perone (West Virginia University)
Abstract: Four pigeons were trained on two conditional discriminations with red and green as sample and comparison stimuli. The magnitude of the food reinforcer for a correct choice was signaled with the brightness of the houselight presented at the onset of a trial and remaining until the delivery of food. A fixed-ratio schedule specified the number of trials that had to be completed correctly to earn a food reinforcer. We studied the effects of the signaled reinforcer magnitude, the ordinal position of the fixed-ratio schedule, and several retention intervals ranging from 0 to 16 s. We will describe the effects of such variables on delayed matching-to-sample performance.
100. Do Visual Cues Help Cows to Solve Mazes?
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
JENNIFER M. KINLOCH (University of Waikato), Tania Louise Blackmore (University of Waikato), William Temple (University of Waikato), Therese Mary Foster (University of Waikato), Jenny Jago (Dexcel New Zealand )
Abstract: Previous research had shown that cows could learn to approach a yellow stimulus when used as a cue in a two- choice discrimination task. These experiments investigated the use of such a cue further. The first experiment studied the behaviour of four Friesian cows in a single T-maze under a reversal-learning task with a yellow stimulus signaling the correct choice. Cows learnt to reverse choices to criterion (three consecutive sessions above 88% correct). In the next experiment the same cows were presented with a double T-maze with the same yellow cue and learnt to make one of four choices accurately (three consecutive sessions above 90 % correct). For the final experiment six novel mazes with multiple turns and open pathways were constructed. Yellow cues were placed to indicate the correct pathway at each choice point. With the yellow cues present, cows solved the mazes faster and with fewer errors than when the yellow cue was removed. Without the yellow cue cows were not able to solve some mazes, and although some of these mazes were solved after multiple attempts, this is suggested to be a result of learning. These results have implications for use with automatic milking systems in New Zealand.
101. A Video-game Procedure for the Analysis of Behavioral Choice in Humans.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
JASON VAN DER HORST (Brigham Young University), Harold L. Miller Jr. (Brigham Young University)
Abstract: We report an initial study using a new procedure that embeds concurrent schedules of reinforcement and punishment in a video-game task and provides for the direct gain or loss of coins. Subjects use a computer mouse to pop toy-filled bubbles in side-by-side streaming arrays. Coin delivery occurs when a mouse click bursts a bubble (reinforcement). Occasionally a toy may reenter a bubble, in which case coin deposit is required (punishment). Earnings in each session are retained by the subject. The procedure can be used to analyze the behavioral effects of reinforcer and punisher rate, magnitude, and delay independently or jointly. Results from an initial study of reinforcer magnitude and delay are reported.
102. Avoidance of Audio/Video Signal Disruption: The Influence of Alternative Situations.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
DEREK WILKINSON (Temple University), Philip N. Hineline (Temple University)
Abstract: The present study attempts to demonstrate that avoidance responding is strongly influenced by contingencies in the current situation, contingencies in alternative situations, and the contingencies producing a change of situations. College undergraduates were exposed to a recycling sequence whereby an absence of responding would result in the onset of a warning stimulus followed by a brief disruption of an entertaining television show. A response in the absence of the warning stimulus would reset the timer controlling the warning stimulus, thus delaying its appearance. A response in the presence of the warning stimulus would reset the timer controlling the disruption, thus delaying its appearance. The durations of the timer controlling the onset of the warning stimulus and the timer controlling the disruption were parametrically manipulated across sessions.
103. Studying Behavioral Fluency Under Conditions of Equated Practice and Reinforcement Variables.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
ADAM H. DOUGHTY (College of Charleston), Michelle B. Hudson (College of Charleston), Ruth R. Nunn (College of Charleston)
Abstract: One goal of teaching is to generate behavioral fluency in students. Various studies have shown the efficacy of fluency-building procedures in producing valuable learning outcomes such as enhanced retention, endurance, and stability. However, questions remain regarding the operant mechanisms responsible for these learning outcomes because few studies have isolated the potential controlling variables. Here, we report data from a study designed to assess performance under different fluency tests following training in two contexts in which practice and reinforcement variables were comparable. The results suggest that a contingency involving both accuracy and increasing-speed requirements may promote better learning outcomes than a contingency involving only an accuracy requirement, even when practice and reinforcement variables are equated.
104. Effects of Group Size in Social Dilemmas.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
LUIS FERNANDO GONZÁLEZ-BELTRÁN (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), Carlos Santoyo (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
Abstract: The aim of this research was to explore contradictory results reported in Public Goods Dilemmas research. As individuals we are each better off when we make use of a public resource without making any contribution, but if everyone acted on this way, such public resources would not be provided and all would be in a worse situation than before. Numerous studies have found that cooperation declines as group size increases, and other works have actually shown an increase in cooperation with larger groups. In a simulated Public Goods Dilemma, 26 undergraduate students were instructed to play a game of investment, but in fact they interacted with a computer. Each subject participated in a series of 45 independent single-trial dilemmas. Subjects received false feedback indicating that their group was a cooperative one (80%) with a step level (provision point) of 24 units. A significant effect of group size was found, with a high frequency of cooperative responses in the small group condition. Findings suggest that the effect depended on the step level. Reasons for the observed differences and the factors that drive the group size are discussed.
105. Resurgence of Temporal Patterns of Responding.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
CARLOS CANCADO (West Virginia University), Kennon A. Lattal (West Virginia University)
Abstract: A history of exposure to contingencies of reinforcement and punishment establishes the controlling functions of the current environment, and consequently, explains responding in a given context. Methods for studying response recovery are useful procedures for experimentally evaluating remote history effects. Resurgence studies analyze the extent to which previously reinforced responding, that has been currently eliminated, is observed when extinction conditions are implemented. Experimental results demonstrated the recurrence of simple and complex operants during extinction, the latter being described as spatial patterns—response sequences in different operanda. This study investigated resurgence of complex operants by establishing temporal patters of responding in a single operandum as the resurgent response. Pigeons were exposed twice to the following sequence of experimental conditions: 1) FI 5s, 2) DRO 5s, 3) EXT. In all phases, a discrete trial procedure was used and a 30s ITI was programmed. In the first two phases, the probability of reinforcement was decreased across sessions to a value of .20. Transient recovery of temporal patterns of responding was observed for all subjects during extinction in the first and second exposure to experimental conditions. Temporal patterns recurred as behavioral units, and this phenomenon was repeatable within and across subjects.
106. An Analysis of Effort Discounting in College Students.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
BRYAN K. SAVILLE (James Madison University)
Abstract: Considerable research has examined the extent to which people discount delayed and probabilistic rewards (Green & Myerson, 2004). The rate at which humans discount these rewards can be described by the following hyperbolic function, V = A/(1 + kX), where V = discounted value of a reward, A = nominal value of a reward, X = delay until the reward is received or the odds against receiving a reward, and k = free parameter reflecting the rate of discounting. Few studies, however, have examined the extent to which humans discount rewards as a function of the amount of effort needed to obtain that reward. Mitchell (1999), for example, found that the preceding hyperbolic function nicely described the relation between the subjective value of a reward (number of cigarettes) and the effort needed to obtain that reward. The purpose of the present study was to extend previous research on effort discounting. College students chose between hypothetical rewards that involved different amounts of effort. The data suggest that an exponential function may do a better job than a hyperbolic function of describing effort discounting.
107. Superstitious Behavior in a Gambling Simulation.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
JENNIFER L. HITT (Illinois State University), Larry Alferink (Illinois State University), Thomas S. Critchfield (Illinois State University)
Abstract: In 1948, Skinner presented food to hungry pigeons every 15 seconds independent of their behavior. Subjects tended to repeat whatever they did just prior to food delivery, acting as if their behavior caused the food to be presented. Skinner attributed the pigeons’ repeated actions to accidental reinforcement. Surprisingly, in spite of substantial anecdotal evidence, there are relatively few experimental studies of superstitious behavior in humans. Although anecdotal examples suggest that percentage of reinforcement is an important factor in the development of superstitious behavior, there are no experimental studies investigating this variable. Thus, the current experiment examined percentage of reinforcement in a trial procedure. Human subjects engaged in a computerized gambling simulation that delivered reinforcers on a predetermined percentage of trials. Subjects’ responses on 3 sessions of 40 trials each were automatically recorded. Four different reinforcement percentages were used (12.5%, 25%, 50%, and 75%) with 15 subjects in each condition. Most subjects pressed buttons that had no relationship to game outcomes and many subjects did so repeatedly. Superstitious pressing varied with percentage reinforcement with maximum responding in the 25% condition, indicating that the percentage of reinforcers delivered impacts the development and maintenance of superstitious behavior.
108. Eye Movements in a Four-Choice Simultaneous Discrimination with Bi- and Three-Dimensional Figures.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
CANDIDO PESSOA (Universidade de São Paulo), Peter Endemann (Universidade de São Paulo), William Ferreira Perez (Universidade de São Paulo), Edson Huziwara (Universidade de São Paulo), Gerson Yukio Tomanari (Universidade de São Paulo)
Abstract: Contingency analysis involving eye movements have given access to relevant variables to investigate stimulus control. The present research tracked the eye movements of four adults exposed to a simultaneous discrimination among four stimuli, two bi-dimensional (square and circle) and two three-dimensional (cube and cylinder) monochromatic figures carrying about the same illuminated area. Each stimulus was displayed in one of the four corners of a video monitor. For two participants, pressing the corresponding key to either cube or square (S+) was followed by the word “correct” and a 3-second inter-trial-interval. Alternatively, choosing either cylinder or circle (S-) was followed by "incorrect" and a 30-second inter-trial-interval. For the other two participants, contingencies were reversed. The position of the stimuli on the screen varied randomly across trials. Procedure ended after eighty trials. Along the trials, discriminated choices were established. Despite the presence of a bi- as well as a three-dimensional S+ in each trial, responses to the three-dimensional stimulus tended to prevail. Accordingly, eye movements also occurred more often to S+ than S-. Although general eye fixations tended to decrease as discrimination established, subjects tended to look S+ for longer than S-. Characteristics of the stimuli may interact with the contingencies of reinforcement and account for the revealed stimulus control.
109. Effects of Novel Reinforcer Presentation and Reinforcer Variability on the Within-Session Response Rates of a Developmentally Disabled Child Completing an Academic Task.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
ALICE A. KEYL (Utah State University), Dorothea C. Lerman (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Shelley Kay Mullen (University of Oregon)
Abstract: Within the applied literature, decreases in responding during academic or demand sessions have most commonly been attributed to satiation of the reinforcer. However, basic research findings propose that habituation may offer a more conclusive description of the decreases in within-session responding and the loss of reinforcer effectiveness. The present study investigated two characteristics of habituation (dishabituation and variety effect) in an attempt to extend basic research findings on these two phenomena. Results for conditions evaluating dishabituation were not significant. However, variation of food reinforcers resulted in higher levels of responding, longer session lengths, and a larger amount of reinforcers consumed.
110. Pretraining Procedures to Avoid Development of Exclusive Preference on Concurrent Schedules in Children with Autism.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
KAREN M. LIONELLO-DENOLF (University of Massachusetts Medical School Shriver Center), William V. Dube (University of Massachusetts Medical School Shriver Center), William J. McIlvane (University of Massachusetts Medical School)
Abstract: Treatment programs often utilize positive consequences to establish, increase, or maintain behavior. Previous work (Dube & McIlvane, 2002) showed that individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities display sensitivity to programmed reinforcer disparities as described by the generalized matching law (Baum, 1974). Similar methods with individuals at lower functioning levels have resulted in the development of near-exclusive stimulus preferences during pretraining (Lionello-DeNolf, Dube, & McIlvane, 2007). In Study 1, various stimulus manipulations were ineffective, but certain reinforcement schedule manipulations resulted in the reduction of extreme biases for two of three participants. In Study 2, six participants were trained on a series of concurrent variable-interval (VI) schedules in which the stimuli associated with rich and lean components alternated daily. Across sessions, the rich schedule was made leaner and the lean schedule was made richer until both schedules were equal (i.e., conc VI 20s VI 20s). This procedure was effective in reducing and/or preventing an extreme preference in all participants. These data indicate the pretraining methods used to establish concurrent VI schedule performances are important for participants at lower levels of functioning, but there are ways to remediate and/or bypass such problems. Such procedures have clinical implications (e.g., for overcoming similar problems when they are encountered in the core of ABA therapy).
111. The Matching Law and Professional Football: Play Calling as a Function of Game Situation.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
STEPHANIE STILLING (Illinois State University), Thomas S. Critchfield (Illinois State University)
Abstract: The generalized matching law was applied to play calling on National Football League teams using yards gained as a measure of "reinforcement." Data from the 2005-2006 season broadly replicate effects described by Reed et al., (JABA, 2006) for a previous season. Follow-up analyses examine the extent to which the fitted parameters of the matching law vary systematically according to various game situations.
112. Resistance of Obese-Prone Rats to Contingencies of Food Deprivation.
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
W. DAVID PIERCE (University of Alberta), James C. Russell (Alberta Institute of Human Nutrition), Spencer D. Proctor (Alberta Institute of Human Nutrition)
Abstract: Rats exposed to food deprivation and wheel running become anorexic and die. The JCR:LA-cp obese-prone rat is homozygous recessive for the mutant cp gene (cp/cp) and lacks the ObR leptin receptor. One implication is that without leptin regulation cp/cp rats overeat and become morbidly obese. In contrast, JCR:LA-cp lean rats (??/cp) retain the ObR receptor and are sensitive to changes in leptin levels. Young cp/cp rats express the cp mutant gene but are similar in weights to young leans. Eating or physical activity differences are mainly the result of genotype for young rats. Old cp/cp rats overeat and gain excess body weight compared with old lean controls. Food intake and physical activity reflect both genotype and environment for older rats. The present study exposed obese-prone and lean, young and old, rats to the challenge of food deprivation and wheel running. Results showed that obese-prone (cp/cp) were resistant to the contingencies, taking longer to reach starvation. Young obese-prone rats lasted twice as long as young lean controls; old obese-prone (cp/cp) rats survived the longest. Both genes and environment play a role in surviving the challenge of travel under conditions of food restriction or famine.



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