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.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Symposium #188
CE Offered: BACB
Evaluating Sources of Social Reinforcement in Early Education Environments
Sunday, May 30, 2010
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
Texas Ballroom Salon D (Grand Hyatt)
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Claudia L. Dozier (University of Kansas)
CE Instructor: Sabrina Daneshvar, Ph.D.
Abstract: Many classroom behaviors are influenced by contingencies of social reinforcement. Descriptive analyses can be useful for identifying naturally occurring social events that may influence the acquisition and maintenance of child behavior both appropriate and inappropriate. Subsequently, results of these descriptive analyses might inform the arrangement of experimental analyses to determine functional relations between these social events and the behavior of interest. The purpose of this symposium is to demonstrate the use of both descriptive and functional analyses in identification of variables associated with the maintenance of appropriate and inappropriate behavior in the classroom context.
Functional Analysis and Treatment in Early Education Classrooms
BRIAN D. GREER (University of Kansas), Pamela L. Neidert (University of Kansas), Claudia L. Dozier (University of Kansas), Steven W. Payne (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Despite repeated demonstrations of the efficacy of functional analysis (FA) to identify reinforcers responsible for the maintenance of problem behavior prior to the development of treatment, some researchers have questioned the ecological validity of FA, because the majority of studies report FAs conducted under controlled conditions that may not closely resemble settings in which problem behavior typically occurs. In the current investigation, functional analyses were conducted for four young, typically developing children who displayed problem behavior (aggression and property destruction). All sessions were conducted in a classroom within the context of ongoing classroom activities. Subsequently, treatments based on the results of the FA were implemented to assess the validity of the outcomes of the functional analyses. The effect of functional analysis conditions on classroom levels of problem behavior were compared before, during, and after the assessment. Results are discussed in terms of the utility of classroom-based assessment and analysis of naturally occurring events that may compromise procedural integrity.
An Evaluation of the Effects of Adult Attention on the Occurrence of Infant Vocalizations
MEGAN HAFEN (University of Kansas), Pamela L. Neidert (University of Kansas), Claudia L. Dozier (University of Kansas)
Abstract: The results of previous studies suggest that infant vocalizations may be sensitive to social stimulation as a reinforcer (e.g., Rheingold, Gewirtz, & Ross, 1959; Poulson, 1983). The present study examined teacher-infant interactions in three early intervention settings to determine (a) the prevalence of vocalizations, (b) the temporal contiguity between infant vocalizations and adult social interaction, and (c) the nature of adult social interaction. Data were collected on the percentage of intervals in which infant vocalizations occurred and the frequency of vocal, physical, and tangible interactions delivered by the classroom teachers. Data were analyzed by calculating conditional and unconditional probabilities to identify potential contingencies. Results suggested that (a) levels of vocalizations were similar across classrooms, (b) potential neutral contingencies between social interaction and vocalizations existed in two of the three classrooms, and (c) the nature of adult social interactions varied across the classrooms. Future directions may include conducting functional analyses of infant vocalizations and using results to modify environmental arrangements to facilitate vocalizations in “natural” settings.
Assessment of Idiosyncratic Reinforcement Contingencies for Problem Behavior
STEVEN W. PAYNE (University of Kansas), Claudia L. Dozier (University of Kansas), Pamela L. Neidert (University of Kansas), Matthew Newquist (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Functional analysis methodology is an assessment tool used to identify environmental contingencies that influence problem behavior and serves as the basis for developing interventions that directly alter those contingencies. However, researchers have shown that problem behavior may occur in specific contexts or be influenced by idiosyncratic sources of reinforcement. Further assessment may be necessary to identify the specific antecedents and consequences that influence behavior when uncontrolled in an FA. In the current study, initial FA results identified a particular source(s) of reinforcement for the problem behavior of two preschool children. Function-based treatments were implemented to increase appropriate behavior and decrease problem behavior. However, treatment did not result in clinically significant reductions in problem behavior. Within-session analysis of responding during treatment sessions revealed that the majority of problem behavior occurred during periods when the establishing operation for the reinforcer identified by the FA was absent. An analysis was conducted within the context of treatment to test for additional sources of reinforcement for problem behavior. Results for both participants revealed additional idiosyncratic antecedent stimuli and reinforcers for problem behavior not identified in the original FA. Implications for the identification of idiosyncratic sources of influence on problem behavior during functional assessment are discussed.
A Descriptive Assessment on the Prevalence and Qualitative Characteristics of Peer Attention
KYLIE ROBERTS (New England Center for Children), Jessica Sassi (New England Center for Children), Carrie Lawton (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Studies have shown that in some cases, peer attention maintains some students’ problem behavior (e.g., Northup et. al., 1995). These studies tend to use confederate peers (rather than the actual peers providing attention in the natural environment) and similar topographies of attention across all participants (reprimands). Information on events that follow problem behavior in the natural environment may provide some empirical validation for the use of peer-delivered consequences during functional analyses. The current study consists of two descriptive assessments. The first descriptive assessment consists of a prevalence study on peer attention as a consequence for problem behavior in an academic classroom. The second descriptive assessment consists of a study on the topographies of peer attention provided in the natural environment. Results indicate that peer attention is a fairly common occurrence in the academic classroom, and that common topographies of peer attention vary widely, but do not appear to typically include reprimands. The results will be discussed in terms of application to further research and clinical practice.



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