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.


31st Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2005

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #40
Current Trends in Translational Research
Saturday, May 28, 2005
2:30 PM–3:50 PM
Stevens 2 (Lower Level)
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Henry S. Roane (Marcus Autism Center and Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Translational research involves the application of laboratory research methods to areas of clinical importance. Such research promotes the transfer of laboratory-based technologies to new areas of practice and allows for the development of new applied technologies. This symposium will present data that exemplifies current translational research in applied behavior analysis. The first investigation involves the application of self-control paradigms to choice responding between two aversive tasks. Results showed that participants would typically forgo self-control responding in favor of a delayed (but larger magnitude) aversive event. In the second investigation, responding for concurrently available reinforcers was evaluated under increasing schedule requirements. Results showed that differential responding was influenced by the ratio of responses required to access either reinforcer. Study 3 evaluated preferences for foods that were evaluated under open and closed economies (i.e., extra-experimental access to food was or was not available). Participants responded less when they received access to foods outside of the experimental sessions. In the final investigation, a human operant preparation was used to conduct an analogue evaluation of DRO contingencies. Common errors in the implementation of DRO were replicated which showed that specific types of implementation errors might increase response rates.
A Preliminary Analysis of Self-Control with Aversive Events: The Effects of Task Magnitude and Delay on the Choices of Children with Autism
LAURA R. ADDISON (Louisiana State University), Tiffany Kodak (Louisiana State University), Dorothea C. Lerman (University of Houston, Clear Lake)
Abstract: Problem behavior exhibited by children with autism is often maintained by escape from academic demands. Reducing the number of tasks or permitting choice among several tasks has been found to decrease the likelihood of escape-motivated behavior. When a person must choose between two aversive outcomes, self-control involves choosing the smaller, more immediate aversive event over the larger, delayed aversive event. It would be beneficial to establish a self-control repertoire with respect to aversive tasks as part of treatment for negatively reinforced behavior. The purpose of this study was to evaluate behavioral sensitivity to differences in the amount and delay of tasks. Participants were two children with autism who engaged in problem behavior maintained by escape. Results indicated a lack of self-control with respect to choosing between two aversive tasks and suggested potential strategies for increasing self-control (i.e., choosing an immediate, small task over a large, delayed task). Interobserver reliability exceeded 90% for both participants.
The Effects of Schedule Thinning on the Relative Consumption of Concurrently Available Reinforcers
ASHLEY GLOVER (Marcus Autism Center), Henry S. Roane (Marcus Autism Center), Nathan Call (Louisiana State University), Wayne W. Fisher (Marcus Autism Center), Lindsay S. Hauer (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Translational research involves the extension of laboratory findings to clinical populations and problems. One such extension is the substitutable nature of concurrently available reinforcers. Previous research (e.g., Green & Freed, 1993) has shown that response allocation between 2 reinforcers may vary as a function of the relative price (i.e., schedule requirements) associated with those reinforcers. In the current investigation, we evaluated response allocation for concurrently available reinforcers under varying schedule requirements. For the first participant, we evaluated if thinning the schedule of reinforcement for both responses separately might affect response allocation within the context of a treatment to reduce problem behavior. For the second participant, we evaluated response allocation by holding the target response constant across 2 different reinforcers. Reliability data were collected with two independent observers for over 30% of sessions and was over 90%. Results suggested that increases in the schedule requirements were associated with changes in relative response allocation. These results will be discussed in terms of practical considerations that are associated with the use of multiple reinforcers.
An Evaluation of Substitutability in Open and Closed Economies
TIFFANY KODAK (Louisiana State University), Dorothea C. Lerman (University of Houston, Clear Lake)
Abstract: Although basic research on substitutability has shown responding is influenced by the type of economy (i.e., open and closed economies) (Hursh, 1978), a paucity of research has been conducted in applied settings. Access to reinforcement outside of the experimental sessions may influence the degree of substitutability of reinforcers utilized in reinforcement-based procedures. Thus, examining the influence of economy type on substitutability may prove useful for clinicians, teachers, and other care providers. Within the present study, food items were delivered contingent on task completion within both open and closed economies. During closed economic conditions, participants did not have access to the food items outside of experimental sessions. During open economic conditions, participants were given access to one food item immediately following experimental sessions. Interobserver agreement, which was calculated for at least 25% of the sessions, exceeded 80%. Results showed that the degree of substitutability of food items was influenced by the type of economy.
A Laboratory Examination of Treatment Integrity Failures
CLAIRE C. ST. PETER (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)
Abstract: Applied behavior analysts commonly use differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) as a treatment for behavior disorders. However, DRO schedules may be difficult for caretakers to implement in the natural environment. The high effort involved in the implementation of DRO may lead to long-term deteriorations in treatment integrity or failure to adhere to the treatment plan. We used a human operant preparation to examine the effects of treatment integrity failures on DRO treatments. We examined two types of integrity failures: errors of commission, which involve the delivery of a reinforcer following the undesired response, and errors of omission, which involve the failure to deliver an earned reinforcer. Results showed that errors of commission produce dramatic increases in response rate. In other words, the “accidental” reinforcement of problematic behavior is highly detrimental to DRO treatments. Clinical implications of the results will be discussed.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh