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 #271
Factors Influencing Preference and Response Allocation
Sunday, May 24, 2009
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
North 129 A
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Melanie H. Bachmeyer (University of Iowa)
Discussant: Henry S. Roane (University of Nebraska Medical Center & Munroe-Meyer Institute)
Abstract: From an operant perspective, the analysis of choice is concerned with the distribution of behavior among alternative sources of reinforcement. When an alternative is chosen more frequently over other alternatives, preference has been demonstrated. Various factors (e.g., motivating operations, biasing) may influence preferences for reinforcement and, thus, response allocation. This symposium will provide a discussion of such factors and implications for treatment across a range of behaviors. The first presentation will discuss the differential effects of changes in preferences for food reinforcers as a result of motivating operation effects (i.e., relative states of satiation and deprivation) in the treatment of food selectivity. The second presentation will discuss the influence of factors such as, schedules of reinforcement, response effort, and stimulus control on choice allocation among different topographies of manding in the treatment of problem behavior. Finally, the third presentation will discuss the effects of manipulations specific to response effort (i.e., amount of food, food preference, bite presentation procedures) on choice allocation in the treatment of self-feeding skills.
Differential Effectiveness of Two Assessments of Preference for Assessing Food Reinforcers
MELANIE H. BACHMEYER (University of Iowa), David P. Wacker (University of Iowa), Linda J. Cooper-Brown (The University of Iowa), Anuradha Salil Kumar Dutt (University of Iowa), Brenda J. Engebretson (University of Iowa)
Abstract: Although escape extinction is a common treatment component for food refusal, a few researchers have demonstrated that positive reinforcement (i.e., contingent access to preferred foods) in the absence of EE may increase the consumption of non-preferred foods for some children who exhibit selectivity by food type. One approach to using positive reinforcers to treat food refusal is to manipulate relative states of reinforcer satiation and deprivation, as these manipulations have been shown to influence their effectiveness as reinforcers. Therefore, in the present study contingent access to preferred foods (in the absence of EE) was used to treat the food selectivity exhibited by two children under two conditions: (a) conducting free-operant preference assessments of potential food reinforcers prior to meals, and (b) re-assessing preference throughout meals. Reinforcer conditions were conducted within a reversal design and the results indicated that food consumption increased more when preference for the potential reinforcers was re-assessed throughout meals, suggesting that changes in preference for food reinforcers occurred within meals. Inter-observer agreement was collected during at least 30% of the sessions with at least 90% agreement. Results will be discussed in terms of methodological variations to assess relative preference for potential reinforcers and motivating operation effects.
Factors that Affect Response Allocation Among Different Mand Topographies
KELLY M. VINQUIST (University of Iowa), David P. Wacker (University of Iowa), Anuradha Salil Kumar Dutt (University of Iowa)
Abstract: Information presented in this study will extend the current literature on functional communication training and factors that influence responding. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effects of three variables: reinforcement schedules, effort, and stimulus control on the response allocation among different mand topographies. Data were collected in a combination multiple baseline (across functions) and multielement (across mand topographies) design to evaluate the participant's responding across three mand topographies: card touch, sign, and vocalizations. A reversal design was used to verify that changes in responding were due to changes in stimulus conditions. Allocation was initially evaluated using an FR1:FR1:FR1 reinforcement schedule. When each mand topography was concurrently available, participants’ demonstrated a relative preference for one mand topography. Schedules of reinforcement, effort, and stimulus properties were then manipulated to evaluate changes in relative preference for specific mand topographies. Interobserver agreement was conducted across 30% of all sessions. Results demonstrated that schedules in reinforcement and stimulus conditions influenced participant's response allocation, and thus need to be considered in evaluations of mand preference.
An Examination on Response Effort Manipulations to Increase Self-Feeding in Children Diagnosed with Feeding Disorders
VICTORIA STEWART (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Kristi Rivas (Munroe-Meyer Institute), Heather Kadey (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Med), Cathleen C. Piazza (Munroe-Meyer Institute)
Abstract: Past research has demonstrated that children with feeding disorders engage in inappropriate mealtime behaviors to gain access to negative reinforcement in the form of escape from eating. Moreover, the motivation to escape eating may alter as a function of modifications in the response effort associated with eating. The purpose of this research study was to examine different response effort manipulations to increase self-feeding of three children diagnosed with feeding disorders. Specifically, a choice paradigm was developed to manipulate the effort associated with self-feeding versus non-self-feeding. The response effort manipulations explored in this study included alterations in (a) the amount of food, (b) food preference, and (c) bite presentation procedures. Results demonstrated that the use of a concurrent schedule was an effective treatment procedure for increasing self-feeding in all participants. However, different levels and types of response effort manipulations were required to increase self-feeding in all children who participated in this study.



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