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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Symposium #39
Utility of Analog Studies in Education and Organizational Behavior Management.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
Area: OBM/EDC; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Scott A. Herbst (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: The purpose of this symposium is to offer a discussion of the value of analog studies in behavioral science in the context of a group of presentations associated with experimental studies in the areas of instructional design and organizational behavior management. In general, the established analogs, while not be reflective of all the variables involved in the actual events analyzed in complex cultural circumstances, may nonetheless serve to isolate some of the factors participating in such circumstances. These factors may then be examined in actual circumstances for the purpose of understanding the conditions under which certain types of events can be observed. In that regard, the selected presentations in this symposium will offer an overview of the history of analog studies of human behavior in behavior analysis and highlight the utility of such practices by demonstrating a series of experimental manipulations associated with the analyses of complex phenomena in areas of training, job control, job stress and communication in organizations.
Human Analog Studies in Behavior Analysis: Prevalence, Perspectives and Potentials in Organizational, Educational, Cultural, and Community Settings.
TODD A. WARD (University of Nevada, Reno), Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: There are positive and negative views associated with the utility of analog studies in behavioral science. In general, human analog studies seek to model real-world phenomena in controlled laboratory settings to gain experimental control over behavior-environment relations that may be otherwise inaccessible. This paper reviews the use of human analog studies in behavior analysis, perspectives regarding their utility, as well as potential applications of such procedures. Further discussion regarding the ability of analog studies to bring behavioral events in organizational, cultural, and community settings under systematic analyses and manipulations will be offered. This discussion will also include our views regarding the utility of analog studies in furthering our understanding of complex phenomena that have demonstrated applied value in different settings.
The Impact of Practice Effects and the Variations of Complexity on the Adduction of Composite Skills.
ERICK M. DUBUQUE (University of Nevada, Reno), Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Learning novel responses is important for human organisms to effectively function in their changing environment. The combination of component repertoires to perform composite skills is one form of complex novel responding that has received various treatments in the behavior analytic literature. The present study examined some these treatments to determine if; (a) participants could adduct composite skills after being trained 4 component directional relations; (b) without needing to abstract; and (c) observe whether practice effects impact the performance of participant’s ability to adduct on composite test probes. Results indicated that 8 out of 12 participants demonstrated adduction on test probe trials. Furthermore, even after reaching a high steady rate of responding, 4 of the 8 participants performed better on composite test probe trials after receiving more exposure to training trials. Results and implications are discussed, along with the importance of practice effects and its role in adducting composite skills.
The Effects of Job Demands and Job Control on Experienced Strain in an Analog Work Environment.
SCOTT A. HERBST (University of Nevada, Reno), Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Research has shown that, as demands at work increase, physiological and self-report measures of stress also increase. Additionally, the stressful effects of increased demands can be reduced by giving the employee more control over his or her work environment. Using a 2x2 experimental design with demands and control as the independent variables, the first experiment replicated prior findings on job stress. Participants viewed a grid containing different images and, using the mouse and keyboard, arranged pictures in an identical grid. In high demand conditions, less time were given for grid assembly and in high control conditions participants were provided greater control over when they were able to view the model they are working to reproduce. Experiment II used a similar methodology to assess whether pay for performance can be seen as another form of control thus far indistinguished in the literature. Productivity (accuracy and response duration), skin temperature, verbal report, and condition preference served as dependent measures in both experiments. Preliminary data has indicated highest level of productivity in high control and high demand conditions. Further, higher level of preference for high control conditions regardless of demand has been depicted.
Impact of Rules on Productivity and Communication in an Organizational Analog.
GREGORY SCOTT SMITH (University of Nevada, Reno), Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Literature outside of the behavior analytic field has suggested that environmental ambiguity is one variable that leads to the generation of rumor between individuals. We previously conducted an organizational analogue study in order to gain a better understanding of this phenomenon from a behavior analytic perspective and to assess its potential effect on individuals behaving within organizational settings. In our prior study we found that inaccurate rule conditions increased generation and duration of rumor, and were also found to negatively impact productivity in terms of increased latency and lowered accuracy of responses. The current study was a systematic replication of our prior study, in which we now focused on the direct manipulation of the inaccurate programmed consequences that were directly experienced, such that the programmed inaccurate consequences were either beneficial or detrimental to participants with respect to their analogue job tasks. We measured the effects of beneficial and detrimental environmental ambiguity on generation and duration of rumor, and latency and accuracy of responses. The preliminary data demonstrates that detrimental inaccurate conditions increase generation and duration of rumor more than any other condition. In addition, they negatively impact productivity by means of increased latency and lower accuracy of responses.



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