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 #201
DDA Poster Session 2
Sunday, May 30, 2010
12:00 PM–1:30 PM
Exhibit Hall A (CC)
66. Analysis of Response Class Hierarchies for Aberrant Behavior Maintained by Access to Tangibles
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
KAITLIN CORYAT (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Heather K. Jennett (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Barbara Tomlian (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Paul A. Niesen (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Melissa L. Gonzalez (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Behavioral responses of varying topographies that produce the same effect on the environment are described as being part of the same response class (Catania, 2007). If one behavior in the response class has a greater probability of occurring, a hierarchy is formed (Lalli, Mace, Wohn, & Livezey, 1995). Such hierarchies may pose a challenge during functional assessment if only the more frequently occurring topography is displayed. Previous research has demonstrated that manipulating reinforcement schedules may change the order of the response hierarchy (Lalli et al., 1995). The purpose of this assessment was to determine whether aberrant behavior was maintained by access to tangible items. Results of the analysis indicate that disruptive behavior, inappropriate verbal behavior, and aggression displayed by an individual were maintained by access to tangible items. In addition, results further demonstrated that the behaviors form a hierarchy of responses. Disruptive behavior was most likely to occur; however, when this behavior no longer resulted in access to tangibles, inappropriate verbal behavior emerged. Finally, when both disruptive behavior and inappropriate verbal behavior no longer resulted in access to tangibles, aggression was observed. These findings provide a demonstration of an analysis to identify a response class hierarchy.
67. Further Evaluation of Functional and Alternative Reinforcers Under Progressive Schedule Requirements
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
KASEY STEPHENSON (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Henry S. Roane (SUNY, Upstate Medical University), Alison M. Betz (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Abstract: An effective treatment for destructive behavior is to deliver a functional reinforcer contingent upon an alternative response. Providing contingent access to highly preferred alternative reinforcers (i.e., those that do not maintain problem behavior) also has been demonstrated to be effective at decreasing destructive behavior. Recent research has suggested that preference assessments may not be optimal for identifying stimuli to be incorporated into interventions, particularly when the response requirements of the intervention vary. In the current study, a functional analysis was used to identify the reinforcer that maintained one participant’s aggressive behavior and a preference assessment was used to identify an alternative reinforcer. Next, the reinforcing effects of the functional and alternative reinforcers were assessed under progressive ratio (PR) schedules. Finally, a treatment was developed in which the participant accessed either reinforcer following the omission of aggressive behavior for a specific interval. The reinforcer associated with less responding under PR schedules was associated with lower levels of aggressive behavior during treatment, which was contrary to previous research. Thus, additional analyses were conducted to further examine this effect. Results are discussed in terms of using PR schedules to evaluate functional and alternative reinforcers for use in behavioral interventions.
68. Concurrent Schedules of Reinforcement and Adjusting Demand Requirements: Year Four Summary Results
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
SHAWN PATRICK QUIGLEY (Western Michigan University), Stephanie M. Peterson (Western Michigan University), Carrie M. Brower Breitwieser (Idaho State University), Jessica E. Frieder (Armstrong Atlantic State University), Elizabeth Dayton (Utah State University), Stuart M. Mullins (Star Valley School District)
Abstract: A summary of results from the first, second, third, and fourth year of a 4-year Federal grant project funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, Serious Behavior Disorders-Special Education Research Grants Program will be presented. Project participants included students with a variety of disabilities, all presenting severe escape-motivated problem behavior, ages 5 to 12 years, and grades K-6 in five school districts across the states of Idaho and Michigan. Summary results of initial analyses and choice-making interventions that pitted compliance, break requests, and problem behavior against each other will be presented. Summary data will be presented for at least one participant. Social validity data will be highlighted, as will follow-up data to demonstrate the participant’s progress over time.
69. The Prerequisites of Choice and Chosing to Choose
Area: DDA; Domain: Experimental Analysis
GIOVANA ESCOBAL (Universidade Federal de São Carlos), A. Celso Goyos (Universidade Federal de São Carlos)
Abstract: Four mentally retarded adults learned a work task with and without environmental work support that consisted of assembling notebook covers. The environmental support displayed containers to place its different components and was designed to provide immediate feedback, to increase or maintain the rate of work response and to prevent errors during the task routine. Work performance was assessed as a function of conditions chosen. Following initial training the subjects worked individually either under multiple schedules or under concurrent-chain schedules according to a multiple-element design. When the multiple schedules condition was on, the components were either presence or absence of environment support, quasi-randomly distributed. In the concurrent-chain schedules condition it was used a FR-1, on the first link, and either one of the presence-absence of environmental support condition, on the second link. The results showed that when choice opportunities were given, the work support condition and choice condition were chosen more often and time spent to task completion and average number of errors performing the task decreased. The results also suggested that the environmental work support yielded greater control over work and the opportunity to make choices engendered more motivation and work independence on the participants. Key Words: choice, preference, concurrent chain schedules, vocational training, mentally retarded adults.
70. A Program of Translational Research in Maladaptive Behavior: Significance of Postreinforcement Pause on Aberrant Behavior
Area: DDA; Domain: Experimental Analysis
MAMBU S. SHERMAN (University of Kansas), Adam T. Brewer (University of Kansas), Shannon L. Tierney (University of Kansas), Claudia L. Dozier (University of Kansas), Yusuke Hayashi (University of Kansas), Michael Perone (West Virginia University), Dean C. Williams (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Previous research has illustrated disruptive effects of discriminable transitions from relatively rich to relatively lean schedule components as measured by the duration of pauses. Translationally, these pauses in the laboratory setting may be functionally similar to maladaptive behavior in more naturalistic settings. Along these lines, this research presents the program of translational research that we have conducted in both laboratory and naturalistic settings. In all experiments, subjects were exposed to a two-component multiple schedule in which each component ended with reinforcer delivery. The components differed in terms of the richness of the reinforcement condition (e.g., reinforcer value, ratio requirement, and/or response efforts). In each session, components were arranged semi-randomly such that four types of transitions (rich-to-rich, rich-to-lean, lean-to-rich, and lean-to-lean,) occurred equally across sessions. Comparisons across subject types and settings in multiple experiments showed that the duration of pauses was the longest and maladaptive behavior occurred most frequently during the rich-to-lean transitions. This provides further evidence that pausing and maladaptive behavior are controlled by the same variables. The findings move towards the establishment of a laboratory model and a potential treatment of maladaptive behavior generated by transitions between activities.
71. Assessment and Treatment of Problem Behavior Maintained by Attention and Escape From Social Interaction
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
YANERYS LEON (Kennedy Krieger Institute), SungWoo Kahng (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Nicole Lynn Hausman (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Denise Dieter (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Results of a pairwise functional analysis suggested that a participant’s self-injurious behavior (SIB) and aggression were maintained by attention. Within session data illustrated a sequential pattern in which SIB would occur before attention delivery while aggression would occur during attention delivery. An attention analysis was conducted to isolate the evoking or reinforcing effects of attention on the participant’s problem behavior. Three conditions were evaluated: (1) a contingent attention condition in which problem behavior resulted in 30 s of attention in the form of a reprimand, (2) a contingent escape condition in which neutral attention was delivered continuously and problem behavior resulted in 30 s escape from social interaction, and (3) an ignore condition in which the therapist did not interact with the participant and all problem behavior was ignored. The ignore condition served as the control. Within each phase, only one topography of problem behavior received consequences. Results suggested that the participant’s SIB was sensitive to attention while his aggression was sensitive to escape from social interaction. A treatment evaluation consisting of functional communication for attention and escape from social interaction was successful in reducing the participant’s problem behavior by 80%.
72. Functional Assessment of Multiply Maintained Disruptive Behavior
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Kristin Anne Kiel (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Katherine Campbell (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Barbara Tomlian (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Melissa L. Gonzalez (Kennedy Krieger Institute), ASHLEY HOGAN (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: It is not uncommon for problem behavior to be maintained by multiple sources of reinforcement (Smith, Iwata, Vollmer, Zarcone, 1993; Borrero & Vollmer, 2006). In such cases, the results of initial functional analysis may not adequately reveal all variables maintaining the problem behavior, and further investigation may be warranted. In the current investigation, results of the initial functional analysis indicated that the individual’s disruptive behavior was maintained by escape from demands, yet when disruptive behavior no longer resulted in escape disruptions persisted. Subsequent analyses revealed that the disruptive behavior occurred independent of antecedent and consequence manipulations involving both demands and attention, and persisted in the absence of social consequences. Further analysis revealed that disruptive behavior also occurred to gain access to tangible items. These results indicate that this individual’s disruptive behavior was maintained by sensory reinforcement and social reinforcement in the form of access to tangible items. These results demonstrate an example of behavior maintained by multiple variables. Initial findings from functional analysis were not sufficient and may have lead to false positive findings; subsequent analyses were necessary to identify what variables maintained the individual’s disruptive behavior.
73. Effects of Using a Multi-Reinforcer Picture Card in the Treatment of Multiply-Maintained Severe Problem Behavior
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
MARIANA I. CASTILLO IRAZABAL (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Lynn G. Bowman (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Samantha Hardesty (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Functional communication training is among the most common and effective interventions for individuals with severe behavior problems (Hagopian et al., 1998; Kurtz et al., 2003). Selecting a communicative response is often difficult, since individuals are differently adept at acquiring alternative appropriate responding (e.g., picture exchange, sign language). Selection-based systems, which require the individual to scan an array of stimuli and discriminate between them, may be challenging for individuals with disabilities (Wraikat et al., 1991). Discrimination training may be time consuming and despite training efforts, some individuals may fail to discriminate. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the use of a multi-reinforcer card for a 13-year-old boy admitted to an inpatient facility. He was non-verbal, diagnosed with autistic disorder, and FA results suggested that his problem behaviors were maintained by access to food, attention, and escape. After failing to discriminate between a picture card and a blank card, he was taught to use a multi-reinforcer card in differing contexts. Results suggest that functional communication (via multi-reinforcer card) with an interruption procedure was an effective treatment. Interobserver agreement was collected for approximately one-third of sessions and averaged above 80%.
74. Mand Denial as an Evocative Stimulus for Problem Behavior Maintained by Access to Edibles
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
JESSICA BECRAFT (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Eric Boelter (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Denise Dieter (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Kristin Anne Kiel (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: A functional analysis (FA) of problem behavior, as describe by Iwata and colleagues (1994), is a commonly used tool in assessing environmental variables that maintain problem behavior. However, some behaviors have idiosyncratic functions that are not always captured in the standard FA (Vollmer, Borrero, Lalli, & Daniel, 1999; Tiger, Fisher, Toussaint, Kodak, 2009). This study investigates manipulations to the FA with a 12-year-old boy with autism and mental retardation. The initial FA included toy play, demand, attention, ignore, tangible (edible), and tangible (toy) conditions, and was inconclusive. In particular, rates of problem behavior in the tangible (edible) were low (M = 0.10 RPM). During these sessions, when the participant manded for the edible, the mand was ignored. Anecdotally, outside of these sessions he would engage in bursts of behavior when told food was not available. Therefore, a modified analysis of the tangible (edible) condition was assessed in which the therapist verbally denied all mands for the item. Rates of problem behavior were significantly higher (M = 1.04 RPM) with this manipulation. Results suggest that manipulations to the standard FA conditions may need to be made in order to identify the function of a given problem behavior.
75. Functional Analysis of Problem Behavior Exhibited by Identical Twins
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
CAROLINA F. REYES (Kennedy Krieger Institute), SungWoo Kahng (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Nicole Lynn Hausman (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Terri Parsons (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Functional analyses are designed to identify the antecedents and consequences that may occasion or maintain problem behavior (Iwata et. al., 1982/1994). In the current study, we evaluated the effects of the presence or absence of a sibling during a functional analysis. Two, 8-year-old identical twins diagnosed with mental retardation were included in this assessment. A functional analysis was initially conducted with each child individually and was followed by a joint functional analysis in which both siblings were present and received consequences for problem behavior. Results indicate that for one of the participants, Brennan, the functional analysis suggested his problem behavior was sensitive to escape from demands and access attention in both the presence and absence of his sibling. For the other participant, Dale, results of the functional analysis in the absence of his sibling suggested that his problem behavior was sensitive to access to tangible items and attention. When his sibling was present, Dale exhibited high rates of problem behavior in the tangible condition; however, rates of problem behavior were lower in the attention condition. Results suggested that adult attention may not be as valuable when sibling’s attention was available.
76. Parent Assessments: Informing Assessment and Treatment
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
KELLIANNE M. MONTGOMERY (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Heather K. Jennett (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Melissa L. Gonzalez (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Barbara Tomlian (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Andrea Marie Goffus (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Previous research suggests there is a minimal degree of correspondence between the results of descriptive and functional analyses (Thompson & Iwata, 2007). However, information gathered during descriptive analyses may inform experimental manipulations during functional analyses. Following an inconclusive functional analysis, a parent assessment was conducted. Results of the parent assessment indicated that problem behavior was associated with demands to play with toys in a specific manner. Modifications were then made to the functional analysis to better simulate interactions between the individual and caregivers. Results of the modified functional analysis confirmed that the individual’s problem behavior was maintained by social reinforcement in the form of escape from demands. Treatment aimed at increasing the child’s compliance and decreasing problem behavior associated with demands as well as training caregivers to refrain from presenting demands during leisure periods. The behavioral intervention, which incorporated signaled availability of leisure and demands periods, noncontingent reinforcement, demand fading, extinction, and differential reinforcement of alternative and other behavior, resulted in an 85% reduction in problem behavior from baseline. These results demonstrate the utility of conducting parent assessments to inform empirical analyses and treatment programming.
77. Using Functional and Contingency Space Analyses to Design a Function Based Treatment
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
AARON D. LESSER (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Jennifer Dawn Magnuson (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: A wealth of behavior analytic research has focused on the development of function-based treatment for problem behavior. Of the various methods for identifying the maintaining variables of problem behavior two include functional analyses (FA) and contingency space analyses (CSA). In the current investigation, a CSA was conducted during free play periods to identify relations between the participant’s tantrums and a caregiver’s subsequent response (e.g., escape from demands, delivery of tangible items, access to social attention). Results suggest that social positive reinforcement (i.e. attention and tangible delivery) occurs frequently in the presence and absence of tantrums. A typical FA was also conducted indicating that tantrums are sensitive to social positive reinforcement in the form of tangible delivery and negative reinforcement in the form of escape from demands. Functional Communication Training (FCT) with a micro-switch was implemented during free play and high demand situations (e.g., speech/language sessions) to increase independent requests for a tangible item and decrease tantrums during high demand situations. During treatment, a decrease in tantrums and an increase of independent mands for the tangible item was observed.
78. Further Analysis of the Modified Visual Inspection Criteria for Evaluating Functional Analysis Data
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
KELLY J. BOUXSEIN (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Henry S. Roane (State University of New York, Upstate Medical University), Wayne Fisher (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Joanna Lomas (The Marcus Autism Center)
Abstract: Functional analysis methods have permitted for the identification of the reinforcers maintaining an individual’s aberrant behavior. In the current study, single-subject analyses were conducted to identify the reinforcing functions of the destructive behavior (for 186 functional analysis data sets). These data were evaluated using modified visual inspection criteria based on Hagopian and colleagues (1997) for use with functional analyses of varying lengths. Of the original sample, the functional analyses based on the test conditions described by Iwata et al. (1982/1994) yielded differentiated outcomes for 66% of the data sets. The remaining 34% of data sets included modified functional analyses designed to evaluate specific idiosyncratic response-reinforcer relations (e.g., social escape). Using the same visual inspection criteria differentiated results were obtained for 96% of data sets. In addition, validity of the structured criteria was evaluated by comparing expert visual inspection results with and without the revised criteria. Reliability data were assessed by comparing the expert panel’s results for 100% of data sets and averaged over 99% for agreement.
79. The Use of a Function-Based Level System to Improve Medical Compliance and Food Intake
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
ELIZABETH SPEARES (Hillside Children's Center), Deborah A. Napolitano (University of Rochester)
Abstract: Level systems are often used to treat the problem behavior of persons who display challenging behavior. They, however, often are not function-based. The participant in this study was a 14 year-old-girl with TBI, living in a residential Intensive Support Unit. She was admitted for aggression and non-compliance with medication, medical procedures, and food intake. Based on previous functional analyses (conducted in prior settings) and observational data, the function of the participant’s problem behavior appeared to be control. A function-based level system was implemented that provided the participant control over many aspects of her treatment contingent on compliance with targeted areas and the absence of aggression (Level III). Two additional more restrictive levels were implemented contingent on engaging in problem behavior or non-compliance with targeted behaviors. Using a changing criterion design, increases in compliance and a significant reduction in aggression was observed. Medical compliance increased from 67% to 99%; whereas verbal aggression decreased from 21% daily to less than 1%. Additionally, improvements in compliance generalized to other, untargeted behaviors, including school participation and peer interactions. This study indicates that a function-based level system can be successful in reducing problem behavior and increasing compliance.
80. The Influence of Habituation on the Effectiveness of Punishment-Based Interventions for Severe Behavior
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
NICOLE M. POWELL (Marcus Autism Center), Nathan A. Call (Marcus Autism Center), Natalie A. Parks (Marcus Autism Center)
Abstract: When reinforcement based interventions are unsuccessful at reducing problem behaviors it is sometimes necessary to utilize punishment based strategies. Research has demonstrated that stimulus avoidance assessments such as the one proposed by Fisher Piazza, Bowman, Hagopian, Langdon (1994) can be an effective method of identifying likely punishers. However, in some cases punishment procedures may lose effectiveness over time due to habituation. Conducting periodically recurring stimulus avoidance assessments may be one means to identify when habituation to punishment is occurring. Three individuals who engaged in severe problem behavior participated in the current study. For each participant several reinforcement based strategies had been unsuccessful at reducing problem behavior prior to conducting a stimulus avoidance assessment and beginning punishment based treatments. Utilizing procedures described by Fisher et al. the rate of avoidant movements, crying, and negative vocalizations were summed to create an avoidance index and identify the consequence most likely to function as a punisher. Additional stimulus avoidance assessments were also conducted every other day to assess for habituation to procedures. For all three participants, decreases were observed in the avoidance index for the item rated as most aversive, suggesting the possibility of habituation. However, corresponding treatment degradation effects were only inconsistently observed.
81. Assessment of Problem Behavior Given False-Positive Functional Analysis Results
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
ALLISON T. SCHULTZ (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Eric Boelter (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Yanerys Leon (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Denise Dieter (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Often, the results of functional analyses (FA) are inconclusive warranting additional modified analyses. In this study, the disruptive behavior of an 11-year old boy occurred in the attention and alone conditions of an FA. A pair-wise FA was conducted, results of which suggested attention-maintained disruptive behavior. However, anecdotal report suggested disruptive behavior occurred when non-contingent attention was provided. Therefore, a second FA was conducted including a series of extended alone sessions. Disruptive behavior persisted throughout the extended alone sessions suggesting behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement. A final attention assessment was conducted to determine if disruptive behavior was also sensitive to attention. Four conditions were evaluated in which the contingency placed on disruptive behavior or the level of toy preference was manipulated. Disruptive behavior only occurred when low preference toys were available, regardless of the contingency in place. Results corroborated those of the FA (i.e., automatic reinforcement). Furthermore, results suggested that disruptive behavior observed in the attention condition of the FA may have been an artifact of automatically-maintained behavior that occurs at elevated rates when high preference toys are not available. Collectively, this series of assessments suggests item preference is an important variable that should be controlled across functional analysis conditions.
82. An Alternate Method of Extended Alone Graphing
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
JENNIFER M. HODNETT (Marcus Autism Center), Nathan A. Call (Marcus Autism Center)
Abstract: Vollmer et al. (1995) have suggested that an extended series of alone or ignore test conditions can be a useful adjunct to undifferentiated FA results because results may help determine whether or not problem behavior is maintained by automatic reinforcement. However, it is not always possible to conduct a sufficient number of sessions in sequence without providing the individual a break from the sessions. There may be a higher likelihood of problem behavior re-emerging following a break than if sessions had continued uninterrupted. The resulting data can appear variable and can therefore mistakenly suggest an automatic function. The current study proposes an alternate method of graphing data from extended alone analyses for 3 participants in which the rate of problem behavior in each session was averaged across series by session order. By taking the averages of sessions across series, the data clarified whether there was a decreasing trend across the sessions (suggesting extinction and a social function) or persistence (suggesting an automatic function).
83. Systematic Replication of a Response Repetition Error Correction Procedure for Acquisition of Math Skills
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
LISA PAANANEN (St. Cloud State University), John T. Rapp (St. Cloud State University), Kendra L. Wickland (St. Cloud State University), Aaron R. Nystedt (St. Cloud State University), Gregory J. Swanson (The Bay School)
Abstract: Rodgers and Iwata (1991) identified functions of error correction procedures delivered as environmental events: (a) the development of stimulus control evoking a correct response in the presence of a given discriminative stimulus and (2) a negative reinforcement contingency where emission of the correct response results in avoidance of the aversive consequences resulting from an incorrect response. Response repetition, a negatively reinforced error correction procedure, is characterized by repeated emission (e.g., 5 times) of the correct response following an incorrect response to a trial. Previous research on response repetition examined the effectiveness of response repetition to matching and sight word readings applications (Magee & Ellis, 2006; Worsdell et al., 2005). Results showed that response repetition resulted in a shorter acquisition rate than single repetition error corrections. In this study, we extended the utility of response repetition to the learning of mathematical equations (i.e., addition, multiplication) utilizing a multiple baseline design. The results for 3 individuals showed that response repetition produced acquisition of mathematical concepts.



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