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.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

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Symposium #30
CE Offered: BACB
Promoting Compliance and Decreasing Problem Behavior
Saturday, May 27, 2006
1:00 PM–2:20 PM
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Rachel H. Thompson (University of Kansas)
CE Instructor: Rachel H. Thompson, Ph.D.

This series of presentations will explore a number of variables that influence the extent to which behavior is allocated toward compliance with academic tasks and other adult requests rather than less desirable responses (e.g., noncompliance, stereotypy). Collectively, these studies explore the effects of praise, instructions, three-step prompting, differential reinforcement, shaping, and non-contingent reinforcement. These variables were evaluated under both analog experimental conditions and under in more naturalistic settings (e.g., the preschool classroom.). The utility of and limitations associated with each of these strategies will be discussed, and researchers will provide recommendations for practice.

An Evaluation of Strategies for Promoting Desirable Response Allocation Among Toddlers.
PAIGE M. MCKERCHAR (University of Kansas), Rachel H. Thompson (University of Kansas), Nicole M. Cotnoir (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Caregivers working with toddlers are challenged with arranging environmental conditions to promote appropriate responses (e.g., compliance) and discourage inappropriate responses (e.g., destructive behavior). This study evaluated the effects of commonly recommended procedures on toddler response allocation, within a concurrent-operants arrangement. Data were collected on the frequency of simple responses (e.g., stacking) under analog conditions. Interobserver agreement was collected during a minimum of 28% of sessions and averaged above 85% across participants. Results showed that, for all participants, praise alone was ineffective in producing desired response allocation. For participant 1, the delivery of an edible combined with descriptive praise was effective. For participant 2, instructions plus general praise plus delivery of an edible was successful. For participants 3 and 4, three-step prompting plus general praise was effective. And for participants 5 and 6, three-step prompting plus general praise plus access to a preferred item was required to produce desired response allocation. Results for participant 6 were replicated under naturalistic conditions in the classroom. These results suggest that, although there is an abundant amount of research demonstrating the effectiveness of praise, it may be insufficient to produce desirable changes in toddler behavior even when combined with explicit instructions.
Evaluation of a Three-step Prompting Procedure to Reduce Noncompliance among Typically Developing Preschool Children.
DAVID A. WILDER (Florida Institute of Technology), Julie Atwell (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: The effectiveness of a three-step prompting procedure to reduce noncompliance among typically developing preschool children was evaluated. After baseline data on compliance to common demands were collected, a parent, instructional assistant, or graduate research assistant implemented the three-step prompting procedure, which involved the delivery of progressively more intrusive prompts contingent upon noncompliance. The effects of the procedure were examined using a non-concurrent multiple baseline design across participants. The results suggest that the procedure was effective for four of the six children who participated.
An Examination of Percentile Schedules of Reinforcement to Increase Compliance.
ELIZABETH S. ATHENS (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida), Claire C St. Peter (University of Florida)
Abstract: Shaping is frequently used to teach new behavioral repertoires as well as to increase the likelihood of engagement in current behavioral repertoires. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate a method of quantifying the shaping process in applied settings using percentile schedules. Percentile schedules are used as a mathematical method of quantifying the shaping process in order to limit variation in the shaping procedure between subjects. Despite its successful implementation in basic research, the method has gained little attention in application. In experiment 1 of the current study, percentile schedules were implemented in an elementary school setting with three children as a shaping procedure targeting compliance during various academic tasks. Results showed that percentile schedules were successful at shaping higher levels of compliance. In experiment 2 of the current study, we examined several different parameters for one of the variables in implementing a percentile schedule. The results of these experiments indicate that percentile schedules may be useful in the application of shaping, enabling quantification and objectivity across clients and therapists.
Selective Effects of Noncontingent Access to Reinforcers "Matched" to Problem Behavior on Problem Behavior and Academic Behavior.
ELIZABETH CHRISTENSEN (New England Center for Children), Jason C. Bourret (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Non-contingent access to sources of reinforcement matched to the putative sensory consequence maintaining automatically reinforced problem behavior has been shown to be an effective treatment. In the present study, a functional analysis indicated that the problem behavior (stereotypy) of two participants diagnosed with autism was automatically maintained. A competing-items assessment showed that non-contingent music suppressed vocal stereotypy in both participants. The effects of non-contingent music on stereotypy and engagement in academic responding in a classroom setting were examined using a multi-element design. The results showed that non-contingent access to reinforcement matched to the hypothesized sensory consequence maintaining problem behavior produced decreases in stereotypy but no decreases in rates of trial completion or accuracy of responding.



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