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 #478
CE Offered: BACB
Evaluation of Dimensions of the Token Economy With Children With Autism
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
Columbus Hall EF, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: AUT/PRA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jeanine R Tanz (The Scott Center for Autism Treatment at Florida I)
CE Instructor: Jeanine R Tanz, M.S.

There are several variables that can influence the effectiveness of token economies. The purpose of the studies in this symposium was to evaluate and compare different variables that may influence the effectiveness of token economies when implementing economies with individuals with autism. One study evaluated the effects of token within distributed and accumulated schedules of reinforcement. Another compared different token arrangements including token earn, token loss and a combination condition to treat disruptive behavior. The third study evaluated the extent to which allowing the learner to manipulate the tokens directly influenced the rate of responding and preference for the procedure.

Keyword(s): autism, token economy, token reinforcement
Further Evaluation of the Efficacy of and Preference for Accumulated and Distributed Reinforcement: The Influence of Tokens
JESSE ALLGOOD (Florida Institute of Technology), Alison M. Betz (Florida Institute of Technology), Thuong Ho (Florida Institute of Technology/The Scott Center for Autism Treatment), Sandra Beatriz Castellon (Florida Institute of Technology), Chelsea Moore (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: We sought to further evaluate the efficacy of and preference for accumulated (delayed, but uninterrupted) and distributed (immediate, but brief) access to reinforcers by controlling for the influence of tokens, and the handling cost (i.e., interrupting an activity, and reorienting a participant back to the task) associated with distributed arrangements. Phase 1 employed an ABAB design with a multi-element comparison to assess rates of responding on a free-operant task when access to an activity was either accumulated or distributed. Response rates were greater for 2 out of 3 participants under the distributed arrangement, and the influence of handling cost was negligible across all 3 participants. Phase 2 employed a concurrent-chains schedule within an ABA design to evaluate preference for either arrangement when tokens were present or absent. Preference varied across participants, and again the influence of handling cost was negligible. Although results of Phase 2 varied, preferences of 2 of 3 participants were consistent with results of Phase 1. Combined, these results suggest efficacy may be influenced by tokens, but additional interpretations and limitations are presented.

The Effects of and Preference for Different Token Arrangements When Treatment Disruptive Behavior in Children With Autism

TONI LAMONICA (The Scott Center for Autism Treatment at Florida Institute of Technology), Alison M. Betz (Florida Institute of Technology), Allison Radomski (Florida Institute of Technology/The Scott Center for Autism Treatment), Catalina Rey (Florida Institute of Technology)

The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate how various token arrangements affected disruptive behavior within a Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior (DRO) procedure. We employed 3 participants diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who exhibited disruptive behavior. The effects of these different token arrangements on disruptive behavior were demonstrated empirically in an ABABC or ABCB reversal design with an embedded multi-element design in the B phase. Preference for the different token arrangements was assessed in the C phase of this design. Results showed that for all 3 participants, disruptive behaviors reduced relative to baseline following implementation of the token arrangements. However, for one participant, the token combination condition proved most effective at reducing disruptive behavior, while for the other two participants, there were no differences in terms of the effectiveness of the token arrangements. The choice phase proved to be idiosyncratic across participants, as one participant chose combination, one participant chose loss, and one participant had no preference among the conditions.


Evaluating the Effects of Manipulation of Tokens on Response Rates and Preference During a Token Economy With Children With Autism

ANDRESSA SLEIMAN (Florida Institute of Technology ), Alison M. Betz (Florida Institute of Technology), Catalina Rey (Florida Institute of Technology)

Token economies have been successfully shown to be effective as a behavior-management and motivational tool across populations and setting. There are many different ways that a token economy can be implemented (i.e., check marcs, apps, chips) and clinicians implement the one that is the most convenient for them. This study evaluates the effectiveness of using manipulable and non-manipulable token boards. Rate of task completion is the main dependent variable that is being assed. Secondly, it evaluates if there are any preferences between the two token boards. Preliminary data of participant 1 will be discussed. He is 8 years old years old and he has been previously diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. No difference between task completions was observed and a preference for the manipulable token board occurred. Limitations and future directions are discussed.




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