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 #474
Choice: Applied Research on Matching and Self-Control
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Ford AB
Area: DDA/VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Andrew Samaha (University of Florida)
Abstract: Response allocation on concurrent variable-interval schedules has been shown to be a function of relative reinforcer rate or duration. Similarly, reinforcer delay may influence preference. This symposium will include papers that evaluate choice by way of a traditional self-control arrangement and the matching law. The first paper assesses preference for the duration of an occupational therapy task given outcomes of differential magnitude. The second paper assesses attending (conversation) of college students during an experimentally arranged discussion group. The third paper evaluates the problem and communicative behavior of students in a classroom setting as choice. Finally, the fourth paper involves experimental analyses of the matching law using the severe problem behavior and communicative behavior of individuals with developmental disabilities as operants. Results from each paper will discussed in terms of the applied implications of conceptualizing behavior as choice among concurrently available alternatives.
Attending as a Function of Concurrent Schedules of Agreement: An Application of the Matching Law.
JOHN C. BORRERO (University of the Pacific), Stephany S. Crisolo (University of the Pacific), Qiuchen Tu (University of the Pacific), Weston Rieland (University of the Pacific), Noel A. Ross (University of the Pacific), Monica T. Francisco (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Using a procedure similar to the one described by Conger and Killeen (1974) we evaluated levels of attending for 25 college students who participated in either a 20 (n = 12) or 30-min (n = 13) discussion on juvenile delinquency. Confederates delivered statements of agreement (e.g., “I agree with that point”) according to independent variable-interval schedules. Pooled results showed that matching was more likely during the last 5 min of the discussion, relative to the first 5 min, for strict, but not generalized matching equations. Individual data for 7 of 9 participants were better described by the generalized response rate matching equation as compared to the generalized time allocation matching equation, suggesting that sensitivity to rate versus duration of agreement may vary across individuals.
Applying the Matching Law to Problem Behavior in the Natural Environment: A Systematic Replication and Extension.
NOEL A. ROSS (University of the Pacific), John C. Borrero (University of the Pacific), Carrie S. W. Borrero (University of Florida)
Abstract: Borrero and Vollmer (2002) evaluated problem behavior and appropriate behavior using both the simple and generalized matching equations. The current study represents a systematic replication and extension of the methods described by Borrero and Vollmer. Initially, descriptive data were collected during naturally occurring interactions between the participants and their classroom teachers. Next, functional analyses were conducted to identify reinforcers for problem behavior. Descriptive data were analyzed using six variations of the matching equation. Further, we assessed several “windows” by which to consider a response reinforced during the naturalistic interactions. Results will be discussed in terms of the applicability of the matching equation based on the nature of reinforcement (e.g., attention vs. escape).
An Experimental Evaluation of the Matching Law and Severe Problem Behavior.
CARRIE S. W. BORRERO (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida), John C. Borrero (University of the Pacific), Jason C. Bourret (New England Center for Children), Kimberly Sloman (University of Florida)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine if children who exhibit problem behavior would allocate responding in direct proportion to experimentally arranged reinforcement rates. Relative reinforcer rates were manipulated to evaluate changes in relative response rate on concurrent variable-interval schedules (VI), and results were interpreted using two iterations of the matching equation: the strict (simple) matching equation (Herrnstein, 1961) and the generalized matching equation (Baum, 1974). Three individuals diagnosed with developmental disabilities, who engaged in severe problem behavior, participated. In Experiment 1, functional analyses were conducted to determine the reinforcers for problem behavior. Results showed that problem behavior was sensitive to social positive reinforcement in the form of access to tangible items and social negative reinforcement in the form of escape from instructional demands for one participant, social positive reinforcement in the form of access to tangible items for another, and social positive reinforcement in the form of attention and social negative reinforcement in the form of escape from instructional demands for the third participant. In Experiment 2, concurrent schedules of reinforcement were in place for both problem and appropriate behavior. Results showed that the relative rates of responding were correlated with the relative rates of reinforcement. In addition, interventions for problem behavior were evaluated, and differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) and extinction (EXT) procedures were implemented to increase the rate of appropriate behavior and decrease the rate of problem behavior.
Biasing Choice Making Models in Individuals with Brain Injury via an Illusion of Control.
ERICA D. POZZIE (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: Four individuals with brain injuries were initially prompted to engage in an occupational therapy task which had a history of minimal engagement. Following these baseline conditions, a choice baseline was implemented during which participants were given the choice between a smaller immediate reinforcer and a larger delayed reinforcer which required a response requirement of higher than baseline durations. Participants were then exposed to a self-control training procedure consisting of choices between a smaller immediate reinforcer and a progressively increasing delayed reinforcer. Choices for the participants consisted of the smaller immediate, larger delayed with the experimenter rolling a dice to determine delay value, and larger delayed with the participant rolling themselves. Results indicated that all three participants initially demonstrated low baseline durations of the physical therapy task, chose the smaller immediate reinforcer during choice baseline, and reversed their preference to the larger delayed reinforcer during self-control training. Reasons why deviations from predictive quantitative models of choice behavior occurred are discussed.



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