|Extending Preference Assessment Methodology and Applications|
|Saturday, May 24, 2014|
|3:00 PM–4:50 PM |
|W183b (McCormick Place Convention Center)|
|Area: AUT/PRA; Domain: Applied Research|
|Chair: Jacqueline N. Potter (Melmark New England and The New England Center for Children)|
|Discussant: Richard B. Graff (The New England Center for Children)|
|CE Instructor: Jacqueline N. Potter, Ph.D.|
Behavior analysts continue to develop a rich technology of reinforcer identification, and the present symposium explores new areas of preference assessment research. Study 1 was designed to further evaluate the role of differential consequences on pictorial preference assessment outcomes, by comparing the results of a pictorial-without-access assessment to the results of a progressive-ratio reinforcer assessment. The pictorial-without-access assessment successfully identified reinforcers with only some participants. When access to the selected item was necessary, schedule thinning was used to establish conditioned reinforcement properties for pictorial stimuli. In Study 2, efficacy of and preference for different parameters of positive reinforcement was evaluated. Preliminary results showed that one participant exhibited similar rates of responding with constant versus varied reinforcer delivery, but preferred constant reinforcer delivery. In Study 3, preference for work activities was assessed using duration-based and response-restriction assessments. Results demonstrated that the response restriction format produced more reliable and differentiated results across participants. In the final study, preference for function-based treatments with contingent and noncontingent schedules of reinforcement with individuals whose problem behavior was maintained by social-negative reinforcement was evaluated. Two children preferred a differential negative reinforcement treatment over a noncontingent reinforcement treatment, while one preferred a multiple-schedule and chained-schedule treatments.
|Keyword(s): negative reinforcement, pictorial modality, preference assessments, reinforcement parameters|
Assessing the Efficacy of Pictorial Preference Assessments for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
|MEGAN R. HEINICKE (California State University, Sacramento), James E. Carr (Behavior Analyst Certification Board), Sacha T. Pence (Auburn University)|
Pictorial preference assessments are a potentially valuable tool because they allow clinicians to assess preferences for complex stimuli that cannot easily be presented on a tabletop. Past research has demonstrated that pictorial preference assessments are effective for individuals with developmental disabilities only when access to the stimulus is provided contingent on a pictorial selection. The purpose of this investigation was to extend this line of research by assessing the feasibility of the pictorial format with children on the autism spectrum. The role of contingent reinforcer access was assessed by comparing the results from the pictorial format without access to the results of a progressive-ratio reinforcer assessment. If access was found to be necessary, the effects of schedule thinning were evaluated to determine if a pictorial format could be made more practical for those participants. Second, matching and mand assessments were conducted to further evaluate the role of hypothesized prerequisite skills. In general, results indicated that the pictorial format without access was only successful with some participants. However, schedule thinning was found to be an effective method to establish conditioned reinforcement properties for pictorial stimuli to create a more practical preference assessment for a subset of participants.
Evaluating Efficacy and Preference of Parameters of Positive Reinforcement
|LAURA ANN HANRATTY (Western New England University), Gregory P. Hanley (Western New England University)|
Previous research has shown that immediacy, quality, and magnitude are parameters that influence the efficacy of reinforcement procedures. Variation, predictability, choice, and reliability are parameters that have not been thoroughly studied, but may prove to be relevant aspects of behavior change procedures. It is important to understand the efficacy and preference of these parameters to improve outcomes associated with skill acquisition and behavior reduction programs. The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of and preference for these different parameters of positive reinforcement. There were four conditions: the constant reinforcer condition where the same stimuli were delivered for each response versus a condition where the stimuli delivered were varied, and the reliable reinforcer condition where a reinforcer was delivered for each responses versus an unreliable condition where a reinforcer was delivered for approximately 50% of responses. Preliminary results showed that one participant exhibited similar rates of responding for constant reinforcer and varied reinforcer delivery, but demonstrated a preference for constant reinforcer delivery. Additionally, responding in the reliable reinforcer condition was more efficacious, but a preference was observed for unreliable reinforcer delivery. Interobserver agreement was collected for 43% of sessions, and averaged 97%, with a range of 75%-100%.
A Comparison of Methods to Assess Preference for Work Activities with Adolescents Diagnosed with an Intellectual Disability
|BRITTNEY LUCIBELLO (The New England Center for Children), Jacqueline N. Potter (The New England Center for Children), Gregory P. Hanley (Western New England University), Michele F. Klein (The New England Center for Children)|
The purpose of the present study was to identify the most reliable and sensitive method for determining preferences for work activities, and to determine whether or not preference would shift when assessed under more naturalistic conditions. First, a reversal design was used to compare two assessments methods: a single presentation format where various work activities were available singly for a 5-min interval, and a response restriction format where all activities were simultaneously available and then restricted following a selection. Across conditions, item contact, functional engagement, and indices of happiness and unhappiness were measured to identify the most accurate measurement method. The response restriction format produced more reliable and differentiated results across participants. Functional engagement was determined to be the most sensitive method of measurement. The second part of the study assessed individuals' preference for work activities with and without the presence of reinforcement and prompting. A reversal design showed that relative preference among work and non-work activities was affected by the addition of prompting and reinforcement for working. Interobserver agreement data were collected in at least 20% of sessions and conditions for all participants; agreement was at or above 80%.
Evaluating Efficacy and Child Preference for Treatments for Problem Behavior Maintained by Negative Reinforcement
|TODD M. OWEN (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Kevin C. Luczynski (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Wayne W. Fisher (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)|
Luczynski and Hanley (2009, 2010, & 2013) have shown that children prefer social-positive reinforcement arranged via contingent rather noncontingent schedules under dense and leaner schedule arrangements. The current study evaluated the generality of this preference outcome across function-based treatments with contingent and noncontingent schedules designed for children with autism whose problem behavior was maintained by social-negative reinforcement. The schedule comparisons involved time-based breaks from work (noncontingent escape; Vollmer, Marcus, & Ringdahl, 1995), differential reinforcement of requests for a break (DNRA; Vollmer & Iwata, 1992), and signaled periods of work and extinction for break requests that alternated with signaled periods with a continuous reinforcement schedule for break requests (multiple schedule and chained schedule). To date, two children preferred to experience a treatment with differential negative reinforcement of break requests over a treatment with noncontingent escape. For one child, we evaluated preference for more practical treatments, and he preferred to experience multiple-schedule and chained-schedule treatments over treatments with noncontingent escape with a yoked amount of reinforcement. These preliminary results support the generality of preference for treatments with contingent reinforcement.