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 #491
Translational Research in Behavioral Momentum Theory
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
W176c (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Christopher A. Podlesnik (The University of Auckland)
Discussant: Iser Guillermo DeLeon (Kennedy Krieger Institute)

The purpose of this symposium is to highlight translational research from the framework of behavioral momentum theory. Behavioral momentum theory provides a theoretical framework for understanding how reinforcement controls fundamental aspects of operant behavior-response rate and persistence. According to behavioral momentum theory, the operant relation between responding and reinforcement impacts response rates. Furthermore, the Pavlovian relation between a discriminative-stimulus context and the rate of reinforcement obtained in the presence of that context determines the persistence, or resistance to change, of operant behavior. This symposium includes four presentations representing a range along the continuum of translational research. Two presentations assess basic questions involving differential reinforcement using animal models (Podlesnik, Craig), one extends the purview of behavioral momentum to relapse in applied settings (Mace), and the final presentation assesses the role of mand preference in determining persistence when using functional communication training (Wacker). All four presentations have a common focus toward highlighting the relevance of behavioral momentum theory to understanding how reinforcement processes influence outcomes of behavioral treatments.

Keyword(s): behavioral momentum, reinstatement, resurgence, translational research
Stimulus Generalization and Resistance to Extinction in Combined Stimulus Contexts
CHRISTOPHER A. PODLESNIK (The University of Auckland), Jonas Chan (The University of Auckland), Vikki J. Bland (The University of Auckland)
Abstract: Behavioural treatments often reduce problem behaviour by reinforcing an appropriate behavior. Studies of behavioral momentum theory reveal that reinforcing alternative and target behavior concurrently within the same stimulus context reduce the rate but enhance the persistence of target responding. Therefore, such findings suggest that behavioural treatments could enhance the persistence of problem behaviour. Recent findings reveal that reinforcing alternative and target behavior in separate stimulus contexts before combining only disrupts target behavior, providing a potential solution to the persistence-enhancing effects of behavioural treatments. The present study assessed the extent to which the alternative stimulus context itself influenced the disruption of target behavior. We assessed a range of alternative stimuli that systematically deviated from the alternative training stimulus when combining with the target stimulus in extinction. Combining the original alternative stimulus with the target stimulus produced the greatest disruption of target behavior, with the disruptive effect of alternative stimuli decreasing as they deviated from the original alternative training stimulus. These findings suggest that deviations from the original alternative stimulus context (e.g., a different therapist) will reduce the effectiveness of treatments employing stimulus combinations.
Effects of Alternative-Reinforcement Rate on Extinction and Relapse of Behavior Maintained by Food and Analog Sensory Consequences
ANDREW R. CRAIG (Utah State University), Mary Margaret Sweeney (Utah State University), Timothy A. Shahan (Utah State University), John A. Nevin (University of New Hampshire)
Abstract: The present study examined the effect of alternative-reinforcement rate on extinction and relapse of behavior maintained by both food and analog sensory consequences in pigeons. In Phase 1, pecks to a target-response key produced 3-s hopper presentations (RT) according to a variable-interval (VI) 120-s schedule and 1-s flashing key lights (sensory rT) according to a VI 30-s schedule in each component of a three-component multiple schedule. Sensory consequences (rT) continued throughout the study. In Phase 2, RT was suspended for the target response in two treatment components, but Phase 1 contingencies continued in the no-treatment component. Pecking an alternative key in one treatment component produced RT according to a VI 30-s [high-rate differential-reinforcement-of-alternative-behavior (DRA)] schedule and according to a VI 120-s (low-rate DRA) schedule in the other. Across all components, RT was suspended in Phase 3. Phase 4 tested for reinstatement using response-independent RT deliveries. High-rate DRA produced quicker response elimination than low-rate DRA during Phase 2. In Phase 3, resurgence of target responding did not differ between treatment components. Reinstatement (Phase 4) did not differ as a function of prior DRA rate. These results will be discussed in terms of behavioral momentum theory and implications for practice.

Clinical Translation of Animal Models of Treatment Relapse

Duncan Pritchard (Aran Hall School), Marguerite L. Hoerger (Bangor University), F. CHARLES MACE (Nova Southeastern University), Heather Penney (Aran Hall School), Brian Harris (Aran Hall School)

Behavioral Momentum Theory (BMT) has inspired animal models of treatment relapse. We translated the models of reinstatement and resurgence into clinical procedures to test whether relapse tests would replicate behavior pattern found in basic research. Following multiple schedule baseline reinforcement of a 16 year-old male’s problem behavior at equal rates by two therapists, treatment was introduced using a variable-interval, variable-time (VI VT) schedule arrangement with therapists delivering reinforcers at different rates. Despite the differing rates of VI VT reinforcers, the treatment produced comparable reductions in problem behavior. Following successful treatment, the two therapists discontinued treatment and resumed reinforcement of problem behavior at equal rates that constituted a reinstatement of baseline conditions. As predicted by BMT, reinstatement resulted in an immediate return of high rates of problem behavior but was 2.6 times higher for the therapist using the higher rate VI VT treatment. A second treatment phase was implemented followed by a test of resurgence in a single extended extinction session conducted separately for each therapist. The unequal VI VT treatment rates by therapists resulted in 2.1 times greater responding in the resurgence test for the therapist who implemented the higher rate VI VT procedure.


Relations Between Mand Preference and the Persistence of Manding

Patrick Romani (The University of Iowa), DAVID P. WACKER (The University of Iowa), Wendy K. Berg (The University of Iowa), Alyssa N. Seuss (The University of Iowa), Stephen E. Ryan (The University of Iowa), Joel Eric Ringdahl (Southern Illinois University)

The purpose of this 5 phase investigation was to evaluate the effects of mand preference on the persistence of manding. We present data from one participant (Evan) enrolled in the current investigation. Evan used signing (please) and a PODD book for expressive manding. Interobserver agreement (IOA) was calculated on at least 30% of each condition and averaged 98%. A functional analysis of problem behavior was first conducted within a multiple schedules design, and showed that Evan engaged in problem behavior maintained by access to tangible items. A mands proficiency assessment was next conducted within a multiple schedules design and showed that Evan was equally independent in signing and use of the PODD. A mands preference assessment was conducted next within a concurrent schedules design and showed Evans preference for signing over the PODD. Functional communication training for tangible items was next conducted within a multiple schedules design to establish similar reinforcement histories for signing and PODD use. Extinction was then implemented to measure the persistence of manding. Results showed that signing persisted more than PODD use, suggesting that preference for mands may interact with rate of reinforcement to increase persistence.




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