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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #188
CE Offered: BACB
The Effects of Motivating Operations on the Assessment and Treatment of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
Sunday, May 25, 2014
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
W187ab (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Tonya Nichole Davis (Baylor University)
CE Instructor: Tonya Nichole Davis, Ph.D.

The manipulation of motivating operations can be an effective intervention component. In this symposium we present research regarding the application of motivating operations in assessment and treatment of individuals with developmental disabilities. The first paper investigates the use of mand training immediately prior to children being exposed to natural environments in which the reinforcer is visible, but not available. Results indicate that participants have lower levels of challenging behavior in the natural environment after mand training. The second paper investigates functional analysis results of behaviors that persist when motivating operations are not present (i.e., free access, no demands). Although this pattern is consistent with automatic reinforcement, in some individuals over-arousal may occur after a social function session that leads to behavior shifting to a pattern consistent with automatic reinforcement. Methods for detecting over-arousal are identified. The third paper evaluates the effects of systematically-identified durations of reinforcer access prior to intervention. Durations of reinforcer access were identified based on a percentage of the mean latency of satiation. Results indicate that this method can be utilized to identify a precise duration of reinforcer access to influence an evocative effect. Collectively, studies present innovative uses of the manipulation of motivating operations.

Keyword(s): functional analysis, motivating operation

Mand Training Satiation Procedures to Reduce Challenging Behavior in Instructional Environments for Children with ASD

LAURA ROJESKI (The University of Texas at Austin), Mark O'Reilly (The University of Texas at Austin), Cindy Gevarter (The University of Texas), Heather Gonzales (The University of Texas at Austin), Nicolette Sammarco (The University of Texas at Austin), Michelle Kuhn (The University of Texas at Austin), Laci Watkins (The University of Texas at Austin), Mandana Kajian (Building Blocs)

Manipulating motivating operations can be an effective antecedent strategy for reducing or avoiding challenging behavior for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The current study included two children with ASD in a home setting and two in a school setting who exhibited challenging behavior in order to access tangible items. To replicate and expand previous research in this area, the current study used a mand training procedure to satiate participants on tangible items. Mand training provided a more naturalistic and educational means of satiating participants. Functional analyses were conducted with all participants to verify behavioral function, and then participants went through 10 minutes of mand training prior to returning to natural instructional environments where tangible items were visible but not available. A multielement design was used to evaluate intervention effectiveness, and generalization probes were conducted for participants. Results showed that participants had lower levels of challenging behavior and higher levels of academic engagement following the mand training satiation intervention. The outcome of this study provides educators with an effective and applicable intervention to enhance student learning in various natural environments, and demonstrates that therapy and instruction can be arranged in order to prevent challenging behavior while teaching new skills.


An Evaluation of the Use of Within Session Analyses to Clarify Functional Analysis Results Influenced by Over-arousal

LAUREN ALISON PEPA (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers University), Robert LaRue (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers University), Kimberly Sloman (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers University), Shawna Ueyama (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers University), Erica Dashow (Douglass Develomental Disabilities Center, Rutgers University), Ethan Eisdorfer (Rutgers University)

Functional analyses represent the most sophisticated procedure for determining the function of challenging behavior. In conducting functional analyses, the rates of problem behavior from experimental conditions (e.g., attention, demand) are compared to a control condition in which the motivating operation (MO) is absent. In the event of socially-mediated problem behavior, target behavior presumably occurs more frequently when the MO is present (while access restricted, when demands presented) and less frequently when the MO is absent (free access, no demands). In some cases, problem behavior may occur while the MO is absent. This pattern is generally consistent with automatic reinforcement. However, there are some patterns of responding during the MO absent phase that may suggest alternative explanations. One such explanation is over-arousal. Over-arousal can be described as when problem behavior has a social function in the initial phase of a session (problem behavior occurs primarily when the MO is present), but shifts to a pattern consistent with automatic reinforcement after a period of sustained arousal (occurring MO present and MO absent). In current investigation, we used within session analyses to detect over-arousal patterns and used the findings to inform treatment strategies (the type of attention provided).

Identification of Systematic Durations of Reinforcer Access Prior to Intervention
TAMARA ZOCH (Baylor University), Tonya Nichole Davis (Baylor University), Rachel Scalzo (Baylor University), Sarah Turchan (Baylor University), Tara Wagner (Baylor University), Kally Amos (Baylor University), Kelsey Henry (Baylor University), Alicia Kobylecky (Baylor University)
Abstract: The manipulation of reinforcer access prior to intervention has been effective at reducing challenging behavior and increasing task engagement. The current study investigates an approach to systematically select a precise duration of reinforcer access that maximizes challenging behavior reduction and increased task engagement while minimizing time away from instruction or the natural environment for reinforcer access. The current study included four children with developmental disabilities. Participants were given access to reinforcers to determine a mean latency to satiation. Systematic durations of reinforcer access were determined based on percentages of individual mean latency to satiation. A multielement design was implemented to evaluate the effects of three individualized durations of prior access to a reinforcer on challenging behavior and task engagement during typical instructional activities. Results indicate that individualized durations of reinforcer access can be systematically identified to maximize the effects of motivating operations. The outcome of this study provides practitioners with efficient and effective methods for manipulating motivation operations.



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