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 #312
Influencing Appropriate Behavior through Manipulation of Various Reinforcement Parameters
Monday, May 29, 2006
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
International Ballroom North
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Joel Eric Ringdahl (University of Iowa)
Abstract: Reinforcement-based procedures are important and successful methods for establishing and maintaining appropriate behavior exhibited by individuals with developmental and physical disabilities. However, simply arranging reinforcement contingencies is not sufficient for affecting meaningful behavior change. Altering the parameters of reinforcement (e.g., schedule, value, magnitude, etc.) might improve the utility of such procedures. In the proposed symposium, four studies will be presented that evaluate various manipulations affecting parameters of reinforcement. In two studies, establishing operations (reinforcer value) were manipulated in the evaluation of activity engagement and task-related behavior. In the third study, the effect of reinforcer delay and magnitude appropriate behavior was evaluated for individuals with brain-injury. In the final study, the effects of various reinforcment schedules were evaluated in the exhibition of self-control behavior.
Contriving Establishing Operations: Response of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities.
RYAN M. ZAYAC (Auburn University)
Abstract: The field of applied behavior analysis has utilized the ability to capture and contrive establishing operations in treating aberrant behavior in individuals with developmental disabilities. However, research on the use of establishing operations in the teaching of appropriate behavior is not as systematic. This study examined the effects of establishing operations on the responses of individuals with developmental disabilities during an incremental repeated acquisition procedure. Similar to previous studies (Klatt, Sherman, & Sheldon, 2000; Vollmer & Iwata, 1991), individuals displayed lower levels of engagement in activities following short deprivation periods (15-minute and 2-hour) and increased responding after longer deprivation periods (1-day and 2-3 days). Additionally, the results showed that individuals responded more accurately during periods of longer deprivation (1-day and 2-3 days) than during shorter periods (15-minute and 2-hours). These results have implications for conducting preference assessments, scheduling daily activities, maximizing responding, and teaching new skills.
Evaluation of Noncontingent Reinforcement for the Treatment of Problem Behavior Maintained by Negative Reinforcement.
JOANNA LOMAS (Marcus Autism Center), Wayne W. Fisher (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute), Michael E. Kelley (Marcus Autism Center and Emory University), Henry S. Roane (Marcus Autism Center and Emory University School of Medicine)
Abstract: Results of past research has suggested that negative reinforcement is one of the most common variables responsible for the development and maintenance of problem behavior. Thus, previous investigations have examined a variety of potential treatments for negatively reinforced problem behavior (e.g., differential reinforcement of compliance, non-contingent escape, escape extinction). As an alternative, the current study investigated the effects of providing noncontingent access to food as a potential establishing operation manipulation [non-contingent positive reinforcement (NCR)] to treat problem behavior maintained by negative reinforcement. A functional analysis (FA) was initially conducted, after which baseline (demand condition of FA) and treatment (NCR + escape) conditions were compared in a reversal (ABAB) design. Reliability data were collected on over 33% of all sessions and averaged over 80% for all dependent measures. Results indicated that for most participants, noncontingent access to food was effective for reducing problem behavior by at least 80% of its baseline levels despite escape being available for problem behavior.
The Effects of Incorporating the Illusion of Control into a Self-control Paradigm.
PAMELA A. TIBBETTS (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: As part of their rehabilitation process individuals with traumatic brain injury often find themselves in environments largely controlled by others, and may demonstrate resistance to therapy in an attempt to gain control over their surroundings. Two strategies that have proven effective in increasing compliance with therapeutic task demands are interventions involving choice components and interventions involving self-control training. While self-control training has been utilized in several studies involving participants with brain injury, choice interventions have been utilized less often with this population possibly due to their impaired logical reasoning skills. The present study investigated the utility of providing adolescents with traumatic brain injury with illusionary control within a choice intervention which already involved a self-control component, in order to provide the individual with a notion of control over the environment. Results indicated that all three participants switched their preferences to the larger delayed reinforcement, after having been exposed to the self-control training intervention. In addition, two of the three participants engaged in the target behavior for longer periods of time in order to obtain illusionary control over the duration requirement.
The Influence of Unit Price on Self-Control Responding.
JEFFREY E. DILLEN (Marcus Autism Center), Henry S. Roane (Marcus Autism Center and Emory University School of Medicine), Terry S. Falcomata (University of Iowa)
Abstract: An area of applied behavior analysis research with an increased interest is self-control, which examines the procedures crucial to increasing tolerance to extended reinforcement delays. A majority of this research has been conducted within a concurrent operants paradigm in which a choice is presented between a small, immediate reinforcer (e.g., 10-s activity for 10-s break; impulsive option) and a larger, delayed reinforcer (e.g., 60-s activity for 30-s break; self-control option). Results have generally shown the tendency for individuals to engage in impulsive behavior. However, responding toward the impulsive option may represent a more “economical” choice in response allocation. That is, in most investigations, the ratio of delay to amount of reinforcement earned (i.e., the unit price) generally favors impulsive responding (e.g., 1:1 vs. 2:1 in the above example). In the current investigation, we used concurrent arrangements in which the ratio of the response/reinforcer alternatives was systematically altered to favor either impulsive responding, self control responding, or to be equivalent for both options. Results showed that responding was influenced by these ratios such that the participant would engage in “self control” responding without being specifically taught to do so.



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