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 #232
The Direct and Collateral Effects of Extinction and Punishment
Sunday, May 27, 2007
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
Madeleine CD
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Rachel H. Thompson (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Continuing advances in functional analysis and reinforcer assessment technologies have improved our ability to design effective, reinforcement-based interventions. Nevertheless, research shows that reinforcement programs are, under some conditions, ineffective without extinction and/or punishment. In addition, unprogrammed extinction and punishment contingencies appear to control human behavior under naturally occurring conditions. Thus the delineation of the effects of extinction and punishment is necessary for effective practice and a more complete understanding of human behavior. This set of papers examines the direct and collateral effects of extinction and punishment under applied conditions and in a more basic preparation. Participants included a child with developmental disabilities, undergraduate students, and typically developing preschool children. Collectively, results illustrate (a) the benefits of combining extinction and punishment, (b) the effects of extinction on appropriate and previously reinforced responses, and (c) that common teaching procedures can have unintended punishing effects on child behavior.
Resurgence of Infant Caregiving Responses.
JENNIFER LYNNE BRUZEK (University of Kansas), Rachel H. Thompson (University of Kansas), Nicole M. Cotnoir (The Columbus Organization)
Abstract: Participants were exposed to experimental conditions designed to simulate infant caregiving. Data collectors recorded the duration of simulated caregiving responses (e.g., rocking a baby doll), and interobserver agreement was assessed during a minimum of 30% of all sessions with a mean agreement of above 90% for all participants. The purpose of this study was to determine if a previously reinforced caregiving responses would reemerge when a second caregiving response was placed on extinction (i.e. resurgence). At the start of each session, a recorded infant cry was presented. Under conditions of negative reinforcement (Sr-), targeted caregiving responses terminated the cry, which was re-presented only if the target response failed to occur for 3 consecutive s. Under extinction conditions, the cry was presented for the duration of the session, independent of responding. The order of experimental conditions was: Sr- (response A), extinction, Sr- (response B), extinction. The final extinction condition was considered the resurgence test. Resurgence, an increase in response A when response B was placed on extinction, was observed with 5 out of 7 participants.
Assessment and Treatment of Attention Maintained Problem Behavior: A Comparison of Punishment with and without Extinction.
ANNA E. CHIRIGHIN (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Sung Woo Kahng (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Nicole M. Rodriguez (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Research suggests that punishment is often necessary to treat severe behavior problems such as self-injury and aggression (Wacker et al., 1990, and Hagopian, et al., 1998). Extinction has been shown to be important for reinforcement-based interventions (Zarcone et al., 1994, and Shirley et al. 1997). The current study empirically examined the effects of punishment in the presence and absence of extinction on the destructive behaviors of one child. The participant was included in the study if the functional analysis identified adult attention as maintaining behavior problems and if reinforcement-based interventions were ineffective. The results indicate that punishment was more effective when combined with extinction.
An Analysis of the Reinforcing and Punishing Effects of Common Preschool Teaching Strategies.
NICOLE HEAL (University of Kansas), Gregory P. Hanley (University of Kansas)
Abstract: This study highlights the unexpected behavioral processes which may control behavior during teaching situations with young children. The efficacy of three strategies that varied in teacher directedness for teaching color- and object-name relations was assessed in a multielement design for one student. Strategy I consisted of an exclusively child-led play period in which praise was provided for correct responses. Strategy II was similar except that teacher prompts to vocalize relations and error correction in the form of model prompts were provided. Strategy III incorporated the same procedures as Strategy I except that a brief period of teacher-initiated trials was arranged; these trials involved the use of time delay between questions and prompts, tokens for correct responding, and back-up activity reinforcers. The child’s preferences for the different strategies were also directly assessed. Interobserver agreement was collected for 35% of sessions and was 97% or higher for all measures. Strategy III was most effective in promoting the acquisition of the color- and object-name relations and was the most preferred. In addition, we observed that embedded teacher prompts punished child interactions with relevant objects during Strategy II. Implications for designing embedded teaching procedures will be discussed.
An Analysis of the Direct and Indirect Effects of Blocking the Aggressive Play of Preschoolers.
TARA A. FAHMIE (University of Kansas), Gregory P. Hanley (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Aggressive toy play is commonly observed in early childhood classrooms, and acceptable strategies to address this problem behavior have not been articulated in the research literature. The current study sought to determine the direct and indirect effects of blocking aggressive toy play on aggression as well as preferences among toy items. Initially, we identified two sets of toys that were highly preferred (HP) and correlated with aggressive play (e.g., dinosaurs and action figures) and two sets of toys that were less preferred (LP) and not correlated with aggressive play (Legos and ponies) for a boy of typical development. A three-component multiple-schedule design was then used to assess the direct and indirect effects of a blocking procedure on interaction and aggressive play with these toy items. Interobserver agreement was collected on at least 60% of sessions, and mean agreement was 95%. Our results showed that blocking aggressive play with preferred toys decreased aggressive toy play, promoted more appropriate play, and did not result in aggression with other toys or at later points in time when aggression was not blocked. Plans to determine the generality of these effects are discussed.



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