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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #215
CE Offered: BACB
Improving the Precision of OBM Intervention: Recent Advancements in Functional Assessment, Stimulus Preference, and Incentive Schedules
Monday, May 30, 2016
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Vevey 3 & 4, Swissotel
Area: OBM; Domain: Translational
Chair: Jason M. Hirst (Southern Illinois University)
CE Instructor: Jason M. Hirst, Ph.D.
Abstract: Increasing the precision of an intervention effort means being able to identify a targeted, function-based intervention, and to understand how variations in the environment affect the success of treatments. The introduction of diagnostic models and algorithms like the Performance Diagnostic Checklist increased the focus in organizational behavior management on identifying causal factors affecting staff behavior. Further, even function-based interventions require some degree of individualization as preference and histories of reinforcement differ across individuals. Recent research has pursued these issues in an effort to make organizational behavior management more analytic in nature. The first study seeks to determine the degree to which the Performance Diagnostic Checklist-Human Services reliably identifies an effective, function-based intervention. The second study seeks to identify how stimulus preference and reinforcement schedule interact to influence staff performance. Finally, the third study proposes a novel conceptualization of the impact of unprogrammed aspects of performance incentive arrangements through behavioral economic analyses of choice and probabilities in the workplace.
Keyword(s): Functional Assessment, Incentives, Reinforcement Schedules

Use of the Performance Diagnostic Checklist-Human Services to Assess and Increase Teaching of Verbal Operants by Therapists

Joshua Lipschultz (Florida Institute of Technology), David A. Wilder (Florida Institute of Technology), CHANA GEHRMAN (Florida Institute of Technology)

The Performance Diagnostic Checklist Human Services (PDC-HS) is an informant-based tool designed to assess the environmental variables that contribute to poor employee performance in human service settings. Although the PDC-HS has been shown to be effective in diagnosing potential variables maintaining problem performance, it is yet unclear whether a function-based intervention identified by the PDC-HS is the only intervention that is likely to work. In the current study, the PDC-HS was administered to various supervisors to assess the potential variables maintaining low levels of providing opportunities to use verbal operants with 3 therapist-client dyads. Three of the four PDC-HS domains were evaluated. Various non-indicated interventions from the different PDC-HS domains were implemented prior to implementing an indicated intervention. Results show that the PDC-HS-indicated interventions were more effective than the PDC-HS non-indicated interventions for each dyad. Results are discussed in terms of the utility of the PDC-HS to identify appropriate interventions to manage therapist performance in human service settings.


Evaluation of Stimulus Delivery Arrangements on Staff Performance in a Simulated Work Setting

Ashley Tudor (Florida Institute of Technology), Yanerys Leon (Florida Institute of Technology), Adam Thornton Brewer (Florida Institute of Technology), STEPHANIE VASQUEZ (Florida Institute of Technology)

Supplementary, contingent pay arrangements can result in improved employee productivity and may lead to the development of more efficient performance improvement plans in organizational settings. In Experiment 1, we examined the effects of various stimulus delivery arrangements on performance in a computer-based task in a simulated work context. Participants entered hypothetical client data onto a Microsoft Excel invoice and earned gift-cards for task completion according to the following four conditions: (a) fixed-ratio/high-preference stimuli (FR/HiP), (b) variable-ratio/high-preference stimuli (VR/HiP), (c) fixed-ratio/varied stimuli (FR/Var), and (d) variable-ratio/varied stimuli (VR/Var). For both participants, constant access to their highest preferred stimulus delivered under a fixed-ratio schedule produced the greatest increases in performance relative to baseline. In a second experiment, we evaluated participant preference to perform under the four stimulus delivery arrangements using a concurrent-chains schedule. Results of the preference assessment indicated that one of the participants' preference did not correspond with the stimulus condition that resulted in the highest levels of task completion or reinforcers earned during the performance evaluation.

Effects of Probabilistic Arrangements of Incentives and Disincentives on Work Task Performance in an Analogue Setting
JASON M. HIRST (Southern Illinois University), Florence D. DiGennaro Reed (University of Kansas)
Abstract: The current study seeks to synthesize concepts from organizational behavior management and behavioral economics through an exploratory, translational paradigm. The degree to which workplace contingencies are subject to variables common to the behavioral economic literature was assessed in three experiments. The first experiment was a hypothetical discounting task that extended the cross-commodity discounting literature by comparing monetary outcomes with access to mobile devices, a potential competing reward in organizational settings. The second experiment was a systematic replication of Experiment 1 in the context of the workplace. Both studies demonstrated that probability discounting predicted the subjective value of both monetary and nonmonetary outcomes. The third experiment examined the effects of probability on the efficacy of an incentive system in an analogue work environment. Participants were given the opportunity to complete a work task under varying probabilities of incentive availability. The results showed that incentive availabilities of less than 25% failed to maintain allocation of behavior to the work task for three of six participants. The applicability of behavioral economics, specifically discounting, for organizations are discussed.



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