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 #283
CE Offered: BACB
International Symposium - Applications of Basic Research on Behavioral History, Cooperation, and Demand Effects on Preference
Monday, May 29, 2006
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Centennial Ballroom IV
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Patrick R. Progar (Caldwell College)
Discussant: Ralph Spiga (Temple University)
CE Instructor: Patrick R. Progar, Ph.D.

The symposium will integrate the research of three unique but related topics under the heading of translational research. The first symposium will present data on behavioral history effects on both problem and appropriate behavior using a pseudo-random binary sequence. The behavior of scripting - repeating lines from a movie or TV show out of context and manding for a preferred food item appeared sensitive to both proximal and more distal contingencies of reinforcement, replicating work from the basic laboratory. The second presentation used a matrix-style game to assess levels of defection and cooperation in sets of two individuals diagnosed with a developmental disability. Rates of cooperation were generally low, however a component analysis suggested alternative strategies to increase cooperation in this population. The third presentation applied behavior economic principles to a free-operant preference assessment. By increasing the "cost" of the most preferred item, consumption of that item decreased and preferences for previously less-preferred items tended to increase suggesting that the items were substitutable for each other. Demand curves were fit to the data and explained a significant portion of the variance.

An Analysis of Behavioral History Effects on Scripting.
PATRICK R. PROGAR (Caldwell College), Frances A. Perrin (Bancroft NeuroHealth), Camille Daniels (Bancroft NeuroHealth), Misty B. Simmons (Bancroft NeuroHealth), Caron Casciato (Bancroft NeuroHealth), Michael C. Davison (University of Auckland)
Abstract: The present study adapted the use of a pseudorandom binary sequence (PRBS) from basic research findings to an applied setting. The study examined the influence of both proximal contingencies (i.e., those in effect today) and distal contingencies (i.e., those in effect on previous days). The participant was an 15-year old female diagnosed with autism. Appropriate behavior in the form of manding for a preferred food item and inappropriate behavior in the form of scripting (e.g., repeating lines from a movie or TV show out of context) were reinforced for 10 sessions in a pseudorandom fashion between concurrent variable interval 15-s variable interval 15-s schedules, followed by 31 sessions conducted on a concurrent variable interval 15-s variable interval 60-s schedule. Interobserver agreement data were collected during 51% of the sessions with an average total agreement of 97% for scripting and 99% for manding. The results indicated that both proximal (i.e., current) contingencies and more distal contingencies exerted control over the behavior of the individual. These results have implications for the generalization and maintenance of behavior as well as for preventing relapses due to poor treatment integrity.
Examining Cooperation and Self-Control in Individuals with Developmental Disabilities.
ERIC EBERMAN (Bancroft NeuroHealth/Temple University), Ralph Spiga (Temple University), Frances A. Perrin (Bancroft NeuroHealth), Patrick R. Progar (Caldwell College)
Abstract: In this study, we examined different means to train cooperative behavior in the applied setting. Using the basic framework developed by Brown and Rachlin (1999), we used a matrix-style game to assess social cooperation and different methods in which this could be trained. Participants in the current study consisted of two individuals diagnosed with developmental disabilities. This study examined cooperation by having the two participants engage in turn-taking game in which each participant’s choice subsequently affected the other participant’s choice. Participants received 0 to 4 tokens depending on their choice and phase of the study. Cooperation and defection within each session was determined by the combination of choices that were made by both participants during an individual trial. The data indicate that, despite our training efforts, participants continued to behave in a non-cooperative manner during the majority of sessions. Some cooperative behavior was observed, but these results could not be replicated during the reversal. Interobserver agreement was collected during 48% of all sessions with a mean agreement of 99%.
Demand Effects on Preference.
FRANCES A. PERRIN (Bancroft NeuroHealth), Patrick R. Progar (Caldwell College), Ralph Spiga (Temple University)
Abstract: Behavioral economic procedures may provide important concepts and methods for assessing and describing the reinforcing effects in the applied setting. Specifically, the concept of demand is central to the behavioral economic approach. According to this perspective, demand assesses consumption as a function of price (e.g. response cost) of the reinforcer (commodity). Participants in the current study consisted of three individuals diagnosed with developmental disabilities. During a session each participant has a choice between a preferred food item and alternative food items. The price of the preferred item, in this case the distance from the participants, was manipulated. The concurrently available items were initially placed 1 ft from the participant. Over sessions, the preferred item was placed at ascending and descending order of 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, & 24 inches away from 1-ft mark while the alternatives remained on that mark. The data indicate that increasing the price of the preferred item increased choices of non-preferred items. Once these behavioral patterns developed successfully, consumption of alternative items increased as consumption of the preferred item decreased. The profile of choices indicated that the alternatives function as economic substitute commodities. The demand equation was fit to the data and explained a significant portion of the variance.



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