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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Invited Tutorial #359
CE Offered: BACB
The Poisoned Cue and its Implications for the Treatment of Children With Autism
Monday, May 26, 2014
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
W180 (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: AAB/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Jesus Rosales-Ruiz, Ph.D.
Chair: Erica N. Feuerbacher (University of Florida)
Presenting Authors: : JESUS ROSALES-RUIZ (University of North Texas)

Much is known about discriminative stimuli established using either reinforcing or aversive stimuli and about how these stimuli work as conditioned reinforcers or conditioned aversive stimuli. However, little is known about discriminative stimuli established using both reinforcing as well as aversive events. For this type of stimulus, it has been reported that the interaction between reinforcing and aversive events makes the discriminative function somewhat different from other discriminative stimuli (Hearst & Sidman, 1961). Karen Pryor (2002) called this phenomenon the Poisoned Cue. She suggested that a cue, or SD, that is established using both reinforcing and aversive events leads to the breakdown of the behavior preceding and following the cue. This may be because of an increase in avoidance behaviors and the uncertainty that exists regarding the consequence that will follow. The Poisoned Cue phenomenon is important because it reflects the majority of teaching situations in the real world. SDs in the real world are rarely taught with purely positive reinforcement or purely aversive consequences. This tutorial will present an experimental analysis of the Poisoned Cue, teach participants how to identify situations that involve Poisoned Cues, and discuss solutions for overcoming the effects of Poisoned Cues.

JESUS ROSALES-RUIZ (University of North Texas)
Jesus Rosales-Ruiz is an associate professor at the University of North Texas in the Department of Behavior Analysis. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in 1995, under the mentorship of two pioneers in the field of behavior analysis, Donald M. Baer and Ogden R. Lindsley. Dr. Rosales-Ruiz is one of the few scientists in the world studying animal training from both the theoretical and applied perspectives. He, along with his students, has greatly contributed to the understanding of the science and practice of animal training. He also studies the antecedent control of behavior, generalization, behavioral cusps, fluency-based teaching, treatment of autism, teaching of academic behavior, rule-governed behavior, and contingency-shaped behavior. He has served on several editorial boards, including the Journal of Precision Teaching and Celeration, the European Journal of Behavior Analysis, and the International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy. He also has served as a reviewer for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, the Journal of Neuroscience Methods, Behavioral Processes, and the Experimental Analysis of Human Behavior Bulletin. Dr. Rosales-Ruiz is a fellow of the Eastern Psychological Association, a trustee of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies and a member of the Association for Behavior Analysis International.
Keyword(s): conditioned stimuli, discriminative stimuli, poisoned cue



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