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 #226
CE Offered: BACB
Translational Research: Evaluating the Generality of Behavioral Principles in Laboratory and Clinical Contexts
Sunday, May 30, 2010
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
217A (CC)
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Henry S. Roane (SUNY, Upstate Medical University)
Discussant: James E. Carr (Auburn University)
CE Instructor: Louis Hagopian, Ph.D.
Abstract: Translational research examines the generality of laboratory-based principles, which may be useful in the development of novel clinical applications. The research presented in this symposium progresses from the laboratory with typical humans to the clinical treatment of destructive behavior displayed by children with disabilities. The first investigation involved a laboratory analysis of response class formation with college students as participants and mouse clicks as the target response. These results illustrate how response class formation may be influenced by the maintaining reinforcement contingency, which could have significance for evaluating the occurrence of clinically significant problem behavior. The second study compared preferences for social and non-social stimuli across typically developing and developmentally disabled children. These results showed that the groups did not differ in terms of preference for social and non-social activities, suggesting that motivational variables related to stimulus preference may be similar across these children. The final study examined applications of compound reinforcement schedules to thin reinforcer delivery within the treatment of destructive behavior. Multiple, mixed, and chained schedules were effective at maintaining low levels of destructive behavior and moderated levels of communication for children with disabilities. The translational link among these investigations and suggestions for future research will be discussed.
Development and Modification of a Response Class via Positive and Negative Reinforcement: A Translational Approach
AMBER E. MENDRES (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), John C. Borrero (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
Abstract: When responses function to produce the same reinforcer a response class exists. Researchers have examined response classes in applied settings, however little research has been conducted to study the development of an analog response class (i.e., one that is developed in a laboratory). Further, little research has examined a laboratory model of response classes that are strengthened by negative reinforcement. The current investigation was designed to develop a laboratory model of a response class through positive reinforcement (i.e., points exchangeable for money) and through negative reinforcement (i.e., the avoidance of scheduled point losses), with 11 college students as participants and mouse clicks as the operant. Generally, results of the positive reinforcement condition showed that behavior was allocated optimally (produced the most points for the least effort). Results of the negative reinforcement evaluation showed that an analog response class could be developed (participants selected the least effortful response) but did not avoid all possible point losses when multiple responses were required to avoid point loss.
Examining the Relative Strength of Social and Nonsocial Reinforcers for Children With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorders
MICHELLE A. FRANK (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Melissa Goldberg (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Iser Guillermo DeLeon (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Louis P. Hagopian (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Mandy M Triggs (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Abbey Carreau (Kennedy Krieger Institutue), Melissa J. Allman (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Autism is characterized by, among other things, impairments in reciprocal social interaction. The current study sought to investigate whether such deficits translate into devaluation of activity reinforcers embedded in a social context. Seventeen children diagnosed with autism, aged 8 to 10, and 18 typically developing same-aged peers participated. Three paired-stimulus preference assessments were conducted with each child: one consisting of 12 social stimuli, a second consisting of 12 nonsocial stimuli, and a third consisting of the top and bottom 3 social and nonsocial stimuli identified in the first two assessments. Progressive-ratio (PR) schedule analyses were then conducted with the 12 stimuli included in the combined preference assessment to index the strength of these stimuli as reinforcers. Results indicated that preference rankings and PR break points for social and nonsocial stimuli did not differ dramatically across groups. These results are discussed in terms of their implications for the selection of use of reinforcers in teaching and treatment programs for children with autism.
Further Evaluations of Reinforcement Thinning Using Compound Schedules of Reinforcement
TERRY S. FALCOMATA (University of Texas at Austin), Henry S. Roane (SUNY, Upstate Medical University), Alison M. Betz (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Kasey Stephenson (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Abstract: The use of compound schedules of reinforcement has gained increased attention in the literature pertaining to the treatment of destructive behavior, particularly within the context of thinning reinforcer delivery during differential reinforcement programs. In this presentation we will present the results of several evaluations of thinning reinforcer delivery using compound schedules of reinforcement within the treatment of destructive behavior exhibited by children with autism. First, we present data which replicates previous results by using a multiple schedule to thin differential reinforcement delivery. Next, we will present preliminary data in which the discriminative stimuli associated with a multiple schedule of reinforcement were removed such that the arrangement approximated a mixed schedule. In the third case example, we evaluated the use of an activity fading procedure within a chain schedule of reinforcement in the treatment of destructive behavior that was maintained by termination of interruptions of ongoing activities. Results of each study suggested that the respective procedures were effective within the context of compound schedules of reinforcement during the treatment of destructive behaviors. Interobserver agreement was obtained during at least 20% of sessions for each evaluation and averaged above 90%.



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