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 #254
Applied Evaluations of Basic Behavioral Phenomena: Resistance to Change and Resurgence
Sunday, May 30, 2010
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
217D (CC)
Area: DDA/EAB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Joel Eric Ringdahl (University of Iowa)
Discussant: John A. Nevin (University of New Hampshire)
Abstract: Behavioral resistance to change (i.e., persistence) and resurgence are two areas that have been widely investigated in the basic behavioral literature. However, these areas have been less widely investigated in the applied literature. In the current symposium, we present three studies focused on either resistance to extinction (Ringdahl et al.), resurgence (Wacker et al.), or both (Mace et al.) as they related to the assessment and treatment of destructive behavior exhibited by individuals with developmental disabilities. Specifically, Joel Ringdahl will discuss the effect of obtained rate of reinforcement and probability of reinforcement during pre-treatment functional analysis on the resistance to change of problem behavior during subsequent treatment. Bud Mace will discuss the effects of high- and low-rate FCT treatment programs on the resurgence of problem behavior and the resistance to change of appropriate communication. Finally, Dave Wacker will discuss the resurgence of problem behavior during long-term FCT implementation and evaluation. Tony Nevin will serve as Discussant for the symposium.
Resistance to Change Following Functional Analyses of Problem Behavior: Effects of Rate and Probability of Reinforcement
JOEL ERIC RINGDAHL (University of Iowa), Kelly M. Vinquist (University of Iowa)
Abstract: Variables affecting behavioral resistance to change have been evaluated in the basic literature (e.g., Cohen, 1998; Grace & Nevin, 2000; Grimes & Shull, 2001). However, evaluations of resistance to change are less common in the applied literature. One applied area that may be of particular interest is the impact conducting a pre-treatment functional analysis has on the resistance to change of problem behavior. Functional analysis has emerged over the past 25 years as best-practices with respect to identifying and developing treatment strategies to address severe problem behavior such as self-injurious behavior (SIB), aggression, and property destruction. Functional analyses of problem behavior often incorporate an FR 1 schedule of reinforcement for problem behavior. However, the programmed schedule of reinforcement and the obtained schedule may not be equivalent, particularly if the individual engages in high rate problem behavior. This discrepancy could result in de facto intermittent schedules that increase a behavior’s resistance to change. Similarly, a high rate of reinforcement may also result in increased resistance to change, as predicted by behavioral momentum theory. In the current study, we compared probability of reinforcement and rate of reinforcement achieved during functional analysis baselines with the change observed when the baseline schedule or reinforcement was disrupted via treatment (typically, extinction and reinforcement of an alternative response).
Resurgence of Problem Behavior Following Its Elimination With DRA
F. CHARLES MACE (University of Southern Maine), Duncan Pritchard (Aran Hall School), Maggie Hoerger (University of Wales), Annette J Ikin (Aran Hall School), Lisa Kovacs (ProCare Wales), Karen Thomas (College Internship Program)
Abstract: There is a body of research that indicates that adding reinforcement to a context in which challenging behaviour occurs (as is the case with FCT) can both reduce the frequency of challenging behaviour and increase its persistence. Thus, when there are lapses in treatment integrity, challenging behaviour is likely to reoccur at high rates. We tested the resurgence paradigm with an individual whose problem behavior was maintained by escape from demands. Following a functional analysis, a multiple schedule high-rate and low-rate FCT training reduced problem behavior to near zero rates. Following this, both communication and problem behavior were placed on EXT. Resurgence tests then examined whether lapses in FCT treatment integrity would result in the re-emergence of problem behavior despite it remaining on extinction.
Evaluating Resurgence of Problem Behavior During Long-Term Functional Communication Training
DAVID P. WACKER (University of Iowa), Jay W. Harding (University of Iowa), Wendy K. Berg (University of Iowa), John F. Lee (University of Iowa), Kelly M. Schieltz (University of Iowa), Yaniz C. Padilla Dalmau (University of Iowa)
Abstract: We conducted long-term functional communication training with 3 young children who had developmental disabilities and displayed destructive behavior. A functional analysis showed that destructive behavior was maintained by negative reinforcement. Prior to training and intermittently throughout training, extinction baseline probes were conducted within a reversal design to evaluate the persistence of adaptive behavior (manding and task completion) and the resurgence of destructive behavior. During training, the children were trained to touch a word card to mand for a brief break. The extinction probes were conducted with mand card present and mand card absent to determine if the resurgence of destructive behavior and the persistence of adaptive behavior were influenced by the presence of the mand cards. All sessions were videotaped and later scored using a 6-s partial-interval recording system. IOA was conducted on approximately 30% of the sessions and was over 90%. The results showed that both the persistence of adaptive behavior and the resurgence of destructive behavior were related to extinction and not to the presence of the mand card.



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