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.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #393
CE Offered: BACB
Recent Developments in the Experimental Analysis of Human Behavior
Monday, May 25, 2009
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
North 225
Area: EAB; Domain: Experimental Analysis
Chair: Amy Kenzer (Center for Autism and Related Disorders)
Discussant: Amy Kenzer (Center for Autism and Related Disorders)
CE Instructor: Matthew Normand, Ph.D.
Abstract: This symposium will consist of three presentations on the experimental analysis of human behavior. Each presentation will address a different behavioral phenomenon, including resurgence, conjugate reinforcement, and extinction-induced variability. Current data from research on each topic will be reviewed and implications for future research and practice will be presented.
Resurgence of Operant Variability
MICHELE R. BISHOP (Center for Autism and Related Disorders), Patrick M. Ghezzi (University of Nevada)
Abstract: Resurgence is the reemergence of a previously reinforced and eliminated behavior following the contingency of reinforcement for a more recently reinforced behavior. The present study was designed to investigate if resurgence is a specific form of extinction-induced variability, or if resurgence is observed in the absence of other extinction-induced responses. This study examined the resurgence of a repertoire of variable responding with human participants using a computer-based experimental preparation. Results demonstrated, 1) the resurgence of operant variability, 2) that the resurgence of operant variability was repeatable over time, 3) that the magnitude of resurgence decreased as a function of repeated condition, 4) that as the number of control icons present on the visual display increased the magnitude of resurgence decreased, and 5) that several other responses not recorded by the experimental apparatus occurred when participants were not earning points. A discussion about the relationship between the resurgence of operant variability, extinction-induced variability, and problem solving will be presented.
What Behavior Analysts Need to Know About Conjugate Reinforcement: New Examinations and Possibilities
KENNETH MACALEESE (University of Nevada, Reno), Patrick M. Ghezzi (University of Nevada)
Abstract: Conjugate reinforcement is a fixed ratio 1 schedule with the added feature that the intensity of the reinforcer is proportional to the rate and/or intensity of responding. The effects of conjugate reinforcement on the responding of college students was examined in four experiments. Using a reversal design in the first three experiments, conjugate reinforcement was alternated with extinction, a reverse conjugate arrangement, and conjugate noise, respectively. In the fourth experiment, the percentage of intensity change was alternated and evaluated within a multiple schedule format. The results of the four experiments will be presented and discussed in relation to a recent call for the re-examination of conjugate reinforcement as it relates to "difficult to treat" automatically reinforcement behaviors (Rapp, 2008). Implications for further research on conjugate reinforcement will be discussed.
Extinction-induced Response Variability in Young Children with Autism
VALERIE R. ROGERS (University of Nevada, Reno), Patrick M. Ghezzi (University of Nevada)
Abstract: Response variability is an integral part of an organism’s interactions with its surrounding environment. Children with autism are often characterized as lacking variability in their responses. This decrement may be result of a limited amount of extinction-induced response variability. A procedure was developed to determine the extent with which children with autism demonstrate extinction-induced variability with respect to response location. Results suggest that the participants with autism demonstrated more extinction-induced variability with respect to response location than the participants of typical development. Conversely, the participants with autism demonstrated less extinction-induced variability with respect to non-location response topographies when compared to the participants of typical development. The results are discussed in terms of the utility of variable response topographies and the need for directly reinforcing response variability in children with autism. Suggestions for future research are provided.



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