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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Poster Session #93
AAB Poster Session 1
Saturday, May 29, 2010
6:00 PM–7:30 PM
Exhibit Hall A (CC)
1. Reducing Relapse Through Massive Extinction in Multiple Contexts
Area: AAB; Domain: Experimental Analysis
BRIDGET L. MCCONNELL (Binghamton University, State University of New York), Mario A. Laborda (Binghamton University, State University of New York), Ralph R. Miller (Binghamton University, State University of New York)
Abstract: This set of experiments demonstrates an animal model of clinical relapse from exposure therapy and how it can be strongly attenuated. In two fear conditioning experiments with rats, we showed that combining two recovery-attenuating treatments reduced recovery of extinguished conditioned responses more than either treatment alone. In Experiment 1, renewal and spontaneous recovery manipulations were combined to demonstrate that the two recovery-from-extinction effects summate and produce larger recovery of extinguished conditioned responses than either manipulation alone. This type of recovery more realistically models relapse in therapeutic settings. We used this relapse model in Experiment 2 and showed that the combination of massive extinction and extinction in multiple contexts greatly attenuated recovery from extinction more than either recovery-attenuating treatment alone. The results are discussed in terms of their applied value in preventing relapse, particularly return of fear. These results also add support to similar observations by Rosas and Bouton (1998) and Thomas, Vurbic, and Kovac (2009). The take-home message is that relapse can be radically reduced if exposure therapy is made more durable by continuing treatment after the point in which fear ceases to be observed and conducting therapy in multiple contexts to increase generalization of the treatment.
2. Using Your iPhone/iPod Touch to Make Data Collection Easy
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
KIMBERLY G. FRY (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Data collection is integral to behavior analysis, yet the process itself is often challenging. Understanding when current methods of data collection fail and succeed allows these techniques to be refined, thus resulting in more versatile and useful information. This presentation will demonstrate how the touch interface of the iPhone/iPod Touch permits the observer to focus on the behavior of interest, rather than the process of data collection. It will also show how other design features can be used to give immediate feedback (both with graphs and raw data), minimize data entry errors, and reduce response cost. Integrating existing behavior analytic knowledge with new technology can increase the frequency of the data collection, as well as save time that can be used to analyze, rather than input, data.
3. Shaping Targeting and Retrieval Behaviors in Wallaroos
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
KATHLEEN ROSSI (University of North Texas), Rachael E. Shrontz (University of North Texas), Jeffrey Gesick (University of North Texas), Laura Coulter (University of North Texas), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)
Abstract: The behavior of captive animals is noticeably different from the behavior of animals in their natural environments. In order to compensate for this difference animals in captivity are provided with an environment similar to their natural environment and are provided with additional activities or play objects; however, the animals still may not produce species like behavior important for exercise and enrichment. The purpose of this project was to teach wallaroos a set of behaviors that not only engaged them in exercise and enrichment, but also benefitted the Heard Museum, where they live, by engaging the attention of community visitors. A shaping program was used to teach the wallaroos to retrieve a ball. The behavior was chosen because keepers and the public can safely play ball with the wallaroos. This poster will describe the shaping program and present data on every step of the shaping process and the maintenance of the target behavior by the keepers and the visitors. Results pending.
4. The Effects of Verbal Bridging Stimulus or Mechanical Bridging Stimulus in Positive Reinforcement Training of Sea Otters
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
INDYA N. WATTS (Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Traci M. Cihon (University of North Texas), Tracy L. Kettering (The Ohio State University), Kenneth T. Ramirez (John G. Shedd Aquarium), John W. Eshleman (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract: The use of mechanical marking stimuli has spread to many areas of training. Mechanical markers, such as clickers, have been used extensively with humans and non-humans to shape desired behavior. However, empirical data evaluating the effectiveness of the clicker in relevant practical application areas such as acquisition time and response maintenance is very limited, and what has been produced is conflicting: one study indicates that mechanical markers decrease acquisition time when compared to other marker modalities, and another indicates that use of mechanical markers does not facilitate acquisition. The purpose of this study is to assess the acquisition and maintenance of responding with two female Alaskan sea otters when the novel responses were shaped and maintained using a verbal bridge, “good,” or the sound of a clicker. A multiple baseline across participants with replication across target behaviors was employed to evaluate the dependent measures of acquisition, response accuracy and the ratio of correct to incorrect responses. Data will be discussed in terms of the implications for trainers, including benefits or drawbacks of use of the two marking stimuli.
5. Using Differential Reinforcement to Shape Appropriate Equine Responding During Common Handling Procedures
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
CHARLOTTE SLATER (Swansea University), Simon Dymond (Swansea University)
Abstract: Inappropriate behaviour during common handling procedures with horses, such as lorry loading, is often subject to aversive treatment. The present study replicated and extended previous findings using differential conditioned reinforcement to shape appropriate loading behaviour in four horses. In Study One, a multiple baseline across subjects design was used to determine the effects of first shaping target-touch responses and then successive approximations of full lorry loading under continuous and intermittent reinforcement. Full loading responses were shaped and maintained in all four horses and occurrences of inappropriate behaviours reduced to zero. Generalization was also evident. In Study Two, the audible click stimulus was used in a changing criterion design to increase the duration of leg holding with one horse. The horse’s responding reached the terminal duration criterion of one minute and showed generalization and one-week maintenance. Overall, the results support the use of applied equine training systems that are based on positive reinforcement, for increasing appropriate behaviour during common handling procedures.
6. An Analysis of the Effects of Combining Conditioned Reinforcers on the Behavior of Dogs.
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
KATHRYN L KALAFUT (Brown University), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Previous research suggests that the different ways of establishing a conditioned reinforcer alters the effects they have on behavior (Kalafut, Feuerbacher, Rosales-Ruiz, 2007). In a previous experiment a conditioned reinforcer was created by the traditional method of pairing. The sound of the clicker was immediately followed with the delivery of food. This method of pairing creates a dual function of conditioned reinforcer and discriminative stimulus for approaching the feeder (Kalafut, Feuerbacher, Rosales-Ruiz, 2007). A second way of creating a conditioned reinforcer is by pairing the word “bien” with the sound of the click, followed by food presentation. Results show that the addition of the second conditioned reinforcer “bien” caused an increase in the rate of a target-touching task, compared to behavior that was consequated with the sound of the click alone. However, it is unclear if the reinforcing properties of the “bien” come from how it was conditioned or from the social reinforcement that has been paired with verbal stimuli in the subjects past. The following experiment used novel stimuli to test for the source of the combined conditioned-reinforcer effect. The subjects of this experiment were dogs. Results pending.
7. The Effects of Extrinsically Increasing Rates of Reinforcement on the Acquisition of Behavior of Dogs
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
LAURA COULTER (University of North Texas), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)
Abstract: It is well known that high rates of reinforcement are important for learning new behaviors. One way of achieving higher rates of reinforcement is to divide the target behavior into small movements and shape the behavior in very small steps. This method is an intrinsic way of increasing rates of reinforcement and has been shown to increase the rate of learning new behaviors.. However, there comes a point when the behavior has been divided into so many approximations that it cannot be divided any further. At this point, are there other methods of achieving higher rates of reinforcement? This experiment explored the use of extrinsic behaviors as a technique for increasing rates of reinforcement. Two behaviors were chosen to represent equally difficult novel behaviors. Using a multiple-element design, one behavior was trained following the usual shaping schedule and the other was trained similarly but at various intervals an easy behavior was interspersed during shaping to further increase the rate of reinforcement. The subject of the experiment was a one-year-old male dog. Results pending.
8. When Practice Is Not Enough: Separating Perfect and Imperfect Behavior through Stimulus Control
Area: AAB; Domain: Experimental Analysis
KATHRYN LYNN TUCKER (University of North Texas), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)
Abstract: When training new behaviors, mistakes and irregularities in performance can accidentally be reinforced during the shaping process and be maintained as part of the final performance. Extinction of these behaviors may not be a viable solution because of the difficulty in applying extinction or reinforcement to some links without inadvertently applying it to the others. Another solution would be to change cues, ensuring that only perfect behavior is reinforced in their presence. Both of these solutions were investigated in this experiment. A domestic dog (Canis familiaris) was trained to leave the trainer on a cue (the training cue) and sit on a mat approximately 8 feet away. The training cue was presented, and reinforcers were delivered each time the dog sat on the mat, regardless of irregular topographies in earlier links of the chain. Once the behavior was established, a different cue (“performance cue”) was presented for the same behavior and reinforcers were delivered only on perfect trials. After imperfect trials, the dog was recalled. A reversal design was employed, alternating between the two cues. Last, an extinction procedure was implemented to reduce the number of imperfect trials in the presence of the training cue. Results pending.
9. Using Stimulus Control to Reduce Play Mouthing Behavior in a Large Breed Puppy
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
MATTHEW A DAVISON (University of North Texas), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Mouthing may seem just a minor annoyance in the play behavior of puppies, but this can lead to other behaviors, such as biting, and may also lead to accidental skin lacerations. Although there is no systematic way to address mouthing in dogs, there exist in the popular literature plenty of tips to reduce it. The present experiment investigates an intriguing technique to reduce behavior suggested by Karen Pryor (1984). She reports that by putting the target behavior under stimulus control the behavior tends to extinguish in the absence of the discriminative stimulus. However, there is no systematic research about the use of this technique to reduce behavior. This experiment investigates the use of this stimulus control technique to reduce the mouthing behavior in dogs. Once the cue is established and maintained, the use of the verbal cue is reduced in frequency and the rate of unprompted mouthing behavior is recorded. Data for this experiment is still pending. If this technique is successful, the stimulus control of behavior would be another available procedure for eliminating problem behavior.



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