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 #152
New Developments in the Functional Analysis and Treatment of Problem Behavior
Sunday, May 27, 2007
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Annie AB
Area: DDA/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Lloyd D. Peterson (Idaho State University)
Abstract: This symposium will consist of two presentations that demonstrate new extensions to functional analysis methodology, one presentation that deals with both functional analysis and treatment of problem behavior, and one presentation that demonstrates a new extension of treatment for problem behavior following a functional analysis. First, Molly McGinnis will discuss the effects of presession attention on responding within functional analyses. Results showed that effects were idiosyncratic across participants, suggesting that presession attention may serve as an abolishing operation for some people and as an establishing operation for others. Second, Peter Molino will show how choice making can be embedded into escape conditions of functional analyses to evaluate the role of positive reinforcement in escape-motivated problem behavior. Third, Wendy Machalicek will explain how web-based videoconferencing can be used to provide long-distance consultation for functional analysis of and classroom intervention for problem behavior. Finally, Ellie Hartman will explain a study that evaluated whether signaled delays to reinforcement could effectively compete with unsignalled, more immediate reinforcement during treatment for problem behavior. Results showed that signaled delays did not compete with more immediate reinforcement, which has important implications for treatment of problem behavior.
Abolishing and Establishing Operation Effects of Presession Attention on Problem Behavior Maintained by Adult Attention.
MOLLY ANN MCGINNIS (Vanderbilt University), Nea Houchins-Juárez (Vanderbilt University ), Craig H. Kennedy (Vanderbilt University)
Abstract: We examined the effects of presession satiation and deprivation of attention on subsequent analogue functional analyses (AFA) of problem behaviors maintained by social positive reinforcement. It was hypothesized that the reinforcing value of attention during the AFA would function as an establishing operation (EO) in the absence of presession attention and as an abolishing operation (AO) with presession attention. Prior to a 15 min AFA using contingent attention, participants will be exposed to a 45-min presession manipulation. Presession manipulations included: (a) noncontingent attention on a fixed-time (FT) 2-min schedule (control condition), (b) no attention (EO condition), and (c) noncontingent attention on an FT 15-s schedule (AO condition). Our finding show that presession attention decreased response rates during the AFA and no presession attention increased response rates, relative to the control condition. Our findings show the complex and dynamic nature of motivation operation effects on human behavior. The findings also highlight the need for thorough descriptions of presession events when reporting AFA and other functional behavioral assessment results.
Choice Making Embedded within Escape Conditions of Functional Analyses.
PETE S. MOLINO (Idaho State University), Stephanie M. Peterson (Idaho State University), Holly L. Molino (Idaho State University)
Abstract: This study examined response allocation between two concurrent schedules of reinforcement, which were presented contingent upon the occurrence of problem behavior within the escape condition of a functional analysis. Three participants who engaged in problem behaviors that functioned to escape undesirable tasks were allowed to choose between two different types of breaks contingent upon the occurrence of problem behavior. Break choices included negative reinforcement only (i.e., escape to being alone) and negative plus positive reinforcement (i.e., escape to toys, escape to attention, escape to neutral stimuli, and escape to toys and attention). Time allocation to each of the two competing stimulus choices was measured, as well as the occurrence of problem behavior. Reinforcement conditions were systematically alternated between sessions to determine if participants demonstrated hierarchical preferences for various stimulus conditions. The results suggested that positive reinforcement may play an important role in the maintenance of negatively-reinforced problem behavior, which may have implications for intervention. The efficacy of a choice analysis procedure that can be embedded into functional analyses to further understand escape-maintained problem behavior will be discussed.
An Evaluation of the Use of Video Teleconferencing to Assess and Develop a Behavioral Support Plan for a Student with Severe Challenging Behavior.
WENDY A. MACHALICEK (University of Texas, Austin), Mark O'Reilly (University of Texas, Austin)
Abstract: We evaluated the use of video teleconferencing to conduct a brief functional analysis for a student with autism who engaged in severe challenging behavior. We first conducted a brief functional analysis with widely available video teleconferencing technology (lap top computers equipped with broadband capacity and video teleconferencing capability). Supervision and data collection was achieved via video teleconferencing. Results of the functional analysis suggested that challenging behavior was associated with multiple social conditions. A classroom treatment plan was developed based on the findings of the functional analysis and implemented in the classroom by the teacher. The teacher received feedback and support from specialists via video teleconferencing. The classroom levels of challenging behavior and engagement were evaluated. The findings seem to indicate that video teleconferencing can be utilized as an assessment tool to develop effective classroom treatment plans for severe challenging behavior. Video teleconferencing also appears to offer an effective way for specialists to assist classroom teachers in the treatment of challenging behavior.
Persistence of Academic Responses following Immediate, Signaled Delayed, and Unsignaled Delayed Reinforcement.
ELLIE C. HARTMAN (University of Minnesota), Jennifer J. McComas (University of Minnesota), Samantha Worzalla (University of Minnesota), Roxanna Rodriguez (University of Minnesota), Jessica L. Cherne (University of Minnesota), Mimi L. McDonnell (University of Minnesota), Josh Goldberg (University of Minnesota), Gizem Tatarer (University of Minnesota)
Abstract: Problem behavior and appropriate behavior occur concurrently in the natural environment (Fisher & Mazur, 1997). Generally, individuals tend to engage in the response that produces more immediate reinforcement (Horner & Day, 1991). However, in natural settings, reinforcement for appropriate behavior is not always immediate. Providing a stimulus that signals the delay to reinforcement increases response rates for delayed reinforcement (Vollmer, Borrero, Lalli, & Daniel, 1999), and may assist in the generalization and maintenance of responses (i.e. Freeland & Noell, 1999). Still, it is unknown whether responding is relatively more persistent following immediate reinforcement, delayed reinforcement, or signaled delayed reinforcement (Doughty & Lattal, 2003). The current study tested the persistence of responses during extinction following concurrent schedules of reinforcement for academic responding. Results suggest that responding was more persistent following immediate rather than signaled delayed reinforcement. No differences were found in the persistence of responding following signaled and unsignaled delayed reinforcement. Arranging consequences during treatment to increase the persistence of appropriate, and not problem behavior, are discussed. Inter-observer agreement was calculated for rate of academic responding (within 10s frequency counts). IOA was collected on 29% of the sessions and averaged 98% (82% - 100%).



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