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.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

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Symposium #141
Conditioned Reinforcement from Observation
Sunday, May 27, 2007
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
America's Cup D
Area: EDC/EAB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jessica Singer-Dudek (St. John's University)
Discussant: JoAnn Delgado (Columbia University Teachers College)
Abstract: This symposium is devoted to new research on conditioned reinforcement from observation. We will present 3 papers. The first paper will be an overview of existing research on the conditioning of neutral stimuli such as pieces of string or plastic discs as a function of an observational procedure for preschool and Kindergarten students with disabilities. The second paper will describe research on conditioned reinforcement for doing mathematics from observation by typically developing 8-year olds. The third paper will describe several experiments in which vocal praise was converted from a neutral stimulus to a reinforcer as a function of observation for preschool and elementary aged students with and without disabilities.
Overview of Research on Conditioned Reinforcement from Observation.
JESSICA SINGER-DUDEK (St. John's University), R. Douglas Greer (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School), Jeannine E. Schmelzkopf (Columbia University Teachers College), Lynn Yuan (Columbia University Teachers College)
Abstract: We report a series of experiments in which a particular set of observational conditions resulted in the acquisition of conditioned reinforcers for both the learning of new operants and performance (i.e., reinforcement of previously learned operants). The experiments involved preschool and Kindergarten children with language delays. The stimuli that were conditioned included plastic discs and pieces of string.
Conditioned Reinforcement for Doing Mathematics from Observation by Typically Developing Eight-Year-Olds.
CHRISTINE A. O'ROURKE-LANG (Columbia University Teachers College), R. Douglas Greer (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School)
Abstract: We report an experiment in which typically developing 8-year old students, who disliked doing mathematics, acquired conditioned reinforcement for doing math as a function of an observational intervention using a time-lagged multiple probe design. Pre and post intervention experiments showed that the intervention led to the acquisition of conditioned reinforcement for doing mathematics for both performance and the learning of new operants. The intervention consisted of observational conditions in which the target students observed other students receiving opportunities for doing math as a reinforcement operation for performance tasks, while the target students were denied access to the math while doing the performance tasks.
Conditioning Vocal Approvals as Reinforcers as a Function of Observation.
JENNIFER LONGANO (Columbia University Teachers College), R. Douglas Greer (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School), Jessica Singer-Dudek (Columbia University Teachers College), JoAnn Delgado (Columbia University Teachers College), Michelle L. Zrinzo (Columbia University Teachers College)
Abstract: We present several experiments conducted to test the effects of a procedure designed to condition vocal praise as a reinforcer as a function of observation. Prior to the onset of the studies, a reversal design was implemented to test the function of vocal praise on the number of correct and incorrect responses per minute for a performance task. Edibles were delivered in the first and third phases, contingent upon a correct response. Vocal praise was delivered contingent upon correct responses in the second and fourth phases. For baseline, three acquisition tasks were conducted. Students received vocal praise following correct responses. Corrections were delivered following incorrect responses. When the data demonstrated that no learning had occurred as a function of vocal praise alone, the observational conditioning procedure was implemented to condition vocal praise as a reinforcer. The target student and a peer confederate sat next to each other and completed the same performance task. However, the students could not see the task that the other student was working on. This continued until the target students’ data demonstrated an extinction effect. Following the completion of the conditioning procedure, the same three acquisition tasks were implemented. Results show that following the observational conditioning procedure there was an increase in correct responding across all three acquisition tasks.



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