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 #31
CE Offered: BACB
Behavioral Momentum: Translational Research and Practice
Saturday, May 23, 2009
1:00 PM–2:20 PM
North 228
Area: EAB; Domain: Experimental Analysis
Chair: Timothy D. Hackenberg (University of Florida)
Discussant: Timothy D. Hackenberg (University of Florida)
Abstract: Behavioral momentum concepts have provided a rich theoretical and analytic context for understanding the dynamic relationships between stimuli, reinforcers, and behavior. The purpose of this symposium is to bridge laboratory and applied research utilizing momentum concepts. Nevin’s presentation provides an overview of key concepts in momentum theory, and their generality across species and settings. Mace and McComas describe how momentum concepts have inspired new conceptualizations and treatments of problem behavior in applied settings. Momentum concepts have proven especially valuable in the analysis of concurrent operants, as Mace shows in his analysis of DRA procedures, and McComas shows in her analysis of compliance. Such findings not only expand the generality of momentum theory, they suggest important new research avenues. As such, the presentations illustrate the bidirectional interplay between laboratory and applied research.
Stimuli, Reinforcers, and the Persistence of Behavior
JOHN A. NEVIN (University of New Hampshire)
Abstract: Behavioral momentum theory has proposed that although response rate in the steady state depends on response-reinforcer contingencies, the resistance to change of responding depends on the relation between environmental stimuli and reinforcers. I will review some basic research on resistance to change that demonstrates the power of stimulus-reinforcer relations and their generality across settings, species, responses, and reinforcers. Applied behavior analyses must take stimulus-reinforcer relations as well as response-reinforcer contingencies into account.
Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behavior (DRA): Some Perverse Effects and How to Avoid Them
F. CHARLES MACE (University of Southern Maine)
Abstract: I will describe applied analyses where the use of DRA to reduce the frequency of undesirable behavior such as food-stealing and aggression also increased their persistence. Studies with lever pressing in rats and with disruptive behavior in developmentally disabled humans suggest that providing reinforcers for alternative behavior in the presence of a distinctively different stimulus prevents this increase in persistence.
The Effects of Stimulus Control on the Persistence of Negatively-Reinforced Problem Behavior and Compliance
JENNIFER J. MCCOMAS (University of Minnesota)
Abstract: In the context of instructional demands, problem behavior and compliance can be considered concurrent operants. Of applied interest is increasing one behavior (i.e., compliance) while decreasing the other (i.e., problem behavior). Strategic arrangement of reinforcement can alter stimulus control of each response alternative, as well as influence generalization and maintenance of observed effects. A case study will be presented in which an adult with developmental disabilities and negatively reinforced aggressive and destructive behavior refused to comply with instructional demands. Delivery of noncontingent attention and edibles combined with edibles contingent on compliance resulted in an increase in compliance and virtual elimination of problem behavior. The effects persisted when treatment was withdrawn but did not fully generalize to a novel therapist and no effects were observed with novel tasks. Results are discussed in terms of stimulus control and behavioral persistence.



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