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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Paper Session #30
Impulsivity and Delay Discounting
Saturday, May 24, 2014
1:00 PM–2:50 PM
W175c (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: EAB
Chair: Carlos F. Aparicio Naranjo (Salem State University)
Effect of Order of Delays to LL-Reinforcers in Lewis and Fischer 344 Rats
Domain: Basic Research
CARLOS F. APARICIO NARANJO (Salem State University)
Abstract: Delay discounting-research in humans has been showing that the order of delays to larger-later reinforcers determines whether the rate of discounting is high or low. This study extended the generality of this finding to nonhuman Lewis and Fischer 344 rats. The initial-link of concurrent chain schedules arranged choices between smaller-sooner (SS) and larger-later (LL) reinforcers (1 versus 4 pellets, respectively). In the terminal-links delays of 0, 5, 10, 20, 40, and 80 s to LL reinforcers were presented in ascending, descending or random orders. Terminal-link entries were dependently scheduled, controlling possible confound between frequency and delay of reinforcement. Delay discounting was well described by a hyperbolic-decay model. Discounting rates were higher in the ascending order than those in the descending and random orders. The role of the order of delays to LL reinforcers in determining impulsive choices of Lewis and Fischer 344 rats will be discussed.

Effects of Exposure to Alternate Macrocontingencies and Metacontingencies in the Production and Maintenance of Ethical Self-Control Reponses

Domain: Basic Research
AECIO DE BORBA VASCONCELOS NETO (Universidade Federal do Para), Emmanuel Z. Tourinho (Universidade Federal do Para)

A particular case of self-control happens when the conflict between immediate and delayed consequences are associated with consequences more favorable to the individual, or more favorable to the group. In such cases, responding under control of delayed consequences more favorable to the group can be called Ethical Self-Control. Literature on Behavior Analysis points out that the selection of self-control and ethical self-control depends on contingencies delivered by members of the group, which permits us to say that these phenomena are cultural products. This work investigated the selection, maintenance, and transmission of ethical self-control in two settings analogous to cultural contingencies: macrocontingencies and metacontingencies. Two microcultures were exposed to a task in which each participant had to choose a line in a colored 10x10 matrix. There were individual consequences according to which choices of odd lines produced three tokens that could be exchanged for money, and choices of even lines produced only one token. Cultural contingencies allowed the production of school items that would be donated to public schools. The production of such items depended up on the existence of macrocontingencies or metacontingencies. We investigated the effect of cultural consequences and cumulative product on ethical self-control responses, in situations in which the production of the cultural consequences and the cumulative product are concurrent with responses that produced a higher magnitude reinforcer, in alternate conditions of macrocontingencies and metacontingencies. Results suggest that both the cultural consequence and the cumulative product were effective in the selection of ethical self-control. The data also suggest that macrocontingencies were not effective in the selections of IBCs+APs, but were effective in the maintenance after they were selected in metacontingency conditions. In macrocontingency conditions a larger number of school items were produced, but the probability of producing items in metacontingency conditions were lower than in macrocontingencies conditions, suggesting that the former was more effective in the production of cultural consequences.

Experimental Analysis of Risk and Recidivism
Domain: Applied Research
JORDAN HOATH (Behaviour Management Services), Luke Lynn (Vita Community Living Services), Katie Miller (Vita Community Living Services)
Abstract: Treatment programs and government legislation for individuals who have engaged in sexually abusive behaviours have led to significant external controls being put in place to prevent any access to potential victims (Levenson, 2005; Wright, 2008; & Stevenson et al., 2011). These controls include, but are not limited to, restrictions in areas of residence, cameras in homes, and continuous supervision by staff. Vita Community Living Services provides intensive treatment and a behaviour management approach to individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) who have sexually abused . A number of high –risk individuals reside in treatment homes within the agency. These homes are carefully controlled with environmental modifications, including highly trained and specialized staff and consistent behavioural support. Current data analysis reveals that inappropriate behaviours are at extremely low levels for each client. Given the environmental control being exercised there is virtually no opportunity to exhibit inappropriate behaviour without immediate redirection and intervention. This may lead to artificial data and the impression of significant improvements in client’s ability to manage their behaviour. However, the client’s behaviour may be solely under staff and/or environmental control rather than a reflection of true gains in a client’s skill set and reduced risk. This potentially false depiction of risk will be portrayed to new staff in future residential placements, which may result in drastically less supervision and complacency by staff. This presentation will explore the rationale and theory for an experimental analysis of sexually abusive behaviour. As well, the presentation will illustrate the application of a number of experimental scenarios in naturalistic settings to assess the self-regulation skills of a group of individuals with an ID who have engaged in sexually abusive behaviours Specific scenarios and results will be discussed at length, along with the ethical considerations of conducting such work. Future research and implications will be addressed.

Multifinality and Equifinality in an Evolutionary Theory of Behavior Dynamics

Domain: Basic Research
ANDREI POPA (Emory University), Nicholas Calvin (Emory University), Jack J. McDowell (Emory University)

Skinner (1981) suggested that natural selection operates not only at the biological level, but is also responsible for the evolution of behavioral repertoires throughout an organisms lifetime. McDowell (2004) implemented the selectionist account in a computational theory of behavior dynamics. The theory causes a population of behaviors to evolve through time under the selection pressure exerted by the environment. It has been tested under a variety of conditions and the emergent outcomes were repeatedly shown to be qualitatively and quantitatively indistinguishable from those displayed by live organisms (McDowell, in press). The present project investigated the effects of various environmental variables (e.g. reward magnitude) on the behavior variability of virtual organisms characterized by various mutation rates. High mutation rates produced behavioral constellations similar to those displayed by ADHD-diagnosed children. These effects were counteracted by arranging richer or more structured environments (higher changeover delay). Interestingly, arranging low-value environments caused organisms characterized by low mutation rates to display abnormally high levels of variability. These findings suggest that similar high-level phenotypes such ADHD may be caused by various combinations of organismic and environmental features (equifinality), during a dynamic process governed by Darwinian forces.


Analyzing The Complexity Of Delay Dicounting Of Losses

Domain: Basic Research
FABIO LEYSER GONCALVES (Universidade Estadual Paulista)

Recent studies have shown differences between delay discounting (DD) of gains and losses. More specifically, some studies have suggested that the relation of value and delay may not be monotonic, but biphasic, what would not be supported by mathematical models used to describe data. We reanalyzed data of four experiments that evaluated delay discounting with losses in order to compare and evaluate two mathematical models. Experiment 1 was looking for correlations between DD and depressive symptoms, Experiment 2 was concerned on the influence of age and income on DD with losses, Experiment 3 was concerned with anxiety and Experiment 4 was testing the influence of a mood induction procedure. In this study we conducted four analyses of the 119 original individual data. The first analysis was a categorization of data in three patterns: Discounting, Stable and Revaluation (initial discounting followed by increase in value). The second analysis compared R and corrected R. The third analysis was an F-test conducted for each individual data. And the last analysis considered Akaike Information Criterion. Analyses 1 and 2 favored a complex equation, while the other two favored a simpler model. The implications of each method of data analysis are discussed.




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