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 #274
Motivational operations in choice and mand studies
Sunday, May 24, 2009
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
North 227 BC
Area: EAB/VRB; Domain: Experimental Analysis
Chair: A. Celso Goyos (Fed. Univ. of S. Carlos)
Discussant: Rachel Nunes da Cunha (University of Brasilia)
Abstract: This symposium gathers three experimental reports each one summarizing data collected from three different areas in which motivational operations play a major role. Two of these reports present data from choice studies, one of which related with decision making regarding risks and the other related with choice and preference of reinforcers. The third report involves the role of motivational operation in teaching mands for mentally disabled students. The three reports are linked in that they present different experimental operations to analyze motivational variables.
Establishing Operations – Some empirical studies
RACHEL NUNES DA CUNHA (University of Brasilia), Geilson Isidro-Marinho (University of Brasilia), Cecilia de Sena (Universidade de Brasília)
Abstract: Since the articles Establishing Operations was published by Michael in 1982 and in 1993 we have been carried out studies about motivating operations as independent variables and to development experimental procedures. This presentation aim to report the studies I have been doing about reflexive conditioned establishing operation (CEO-R) on the risk behavior. The first study exposed twelve university students to five experimental conditions: Forced Choice, Baseline, Low Risk, Middle Risk and High Risk. The experimental task consisted in moving a colorful square within matrix 5 x 5, from the left side up to the right side down. During the task, the edge of the matrix eventually was flashing with different colors depend to signalize loss of points or avoidance. The participants were distributed in three groups according different experimental conditions. The results demonstrated the effects of the reflexive conditioned establishing operations under the risk behavior. The second study was a continuation of the first study and its thirty participants were arranged in six groups according the order of risk conditions (CEO-R). This study demonstrated the CEO-R control with more robust data.
Establishing operations control and the study of choice and preference with mentally disabled adults
A. CELSO GOYOS (Fed. Univ. of S. Carlos), Giovana Escobal (Federal University of Sao Carlos)
Abstract: This study aimed to investigate choice and preference of four adults with mentally disabled adults for items and assessed whether choices made initially under test conditions remained stable throughout the study. A forced choice test was conducted first to establish preference hierarchy: all eight items previously identified from a list were presented in pairs against each other. Following each choice the participant had 15 seconds to consume the item or to have contact with it. The items were then classified according to the number of choices, at high (H), medium (M) and low (L) levels of preference. The same items and consequences procedure were used across the study. Next, the participants were taught two work tasks. After each correct work task completed, the participant was presented with the eight items of preference and asked to choose one. Finally, a multiple schedule condition coupled with a concurrent-chains schedule condition was introduced and reinforcement for both conditions consisted of choosing one from the eight-item list. During the teaching condition the participants chose items of the three groups of preference; H (34.3%), M (42.9%) and L (22.9%). Under the schedules condition participants chose H (48.6%), M (37.8%) and L (13.5%) preference items.
Motivational operations and mand acquisition through conditional discriminations by mentally disabled adults
DANIELA MENDONCA RIBEIRO (Special Education Graduate Program - UFSCar), Rebeca Lopes Cavaletti (Psychology Department - UFSCar), Nassim Chamel Elias (Federal University of Sao Carlos), A. Celso Goyos (Fed. Univ. of S. Carlos)
Abstract: Motivational operation may be described as an environmental variable which momentarily alters the reinforcement effectiveness of a stimulus. The concept of motivational operation is crucial for the understanding of the concept of the verbal operant mand. Mand may be defined as a verbal operant reinforced by specific consequences and controlled by motivational operations. The objective of this study was to introduce an experimental manipulation of motivational operations controlling mand responses. Three mentally disabled participants were taught selection-based tact responses through conditional discriminations through video presentations of signs and their corresponding pictures. They were then tested first on the emergence of topography-based tacts and secondly on mands. During tact tests, participants emitted a sign in the presence of a corresponding picture. During mand tests, they were shown an object which stored a preference item. By emitting a sign corresponding to the absent object the participant was given access to the preference item. It was observed the emergence of three signs, as topography-based tacts and mands. Results suggest that acquiring selection-based tacts through conditional discriminations may give rise to topography-based tacts and mands, and that motivational operation manipulation may facilitate mand response emission with no need of direct teaching.



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