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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

Previous Page


Paper Session #98
Effects of Aversive Contingencies on Operant Behavior
Sunday, May 29, 2016
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Zurich D, Swissotel
Area: EAB
Chair: Camilo Hurtado-Parrado (Konrad Lorenz Fundación Universitaria)
A Review and Reanalysis of Quantitative Models of Punishment
Domain: Theory
BRYAN KLAPES (Emory University), Jack J. McDowell (Emory University), Nicholas Calvin (Emory University)
Abstract: The addition of a punisher, by definition, decreases the rate of a target behavior. Naturalistically, reinforcers and punishers frequently co-occur; a behavior usually has both costs and benefits associated with its performance (e.g., cost-benefit analyses in economics). Through the exploration of simultaneously presented reinforcement and punishment, two matching law-based theories of punishment have arisen. The competitive-suppression theory (Deluty, 1976) states that punishers disperse behavior away from the target to other alternatives. In contrast, the direct-suppression theory (de Villiers, 1977; Farley & Fantino, 1978) states that punishers subtract from the reinforcing value of a target behavior. Previous comparisons have generally lent support to the direct-suppression model (see Critchfield et al., 2003). In addition to a comprehensive review of the previous literature, we performed an extensive reanalysis on a subset of past data. None of the previously presented competitive- and direct-suppression models account for the data significantly better than matching law equations that do not factor in punishment rates. In response, we have developed novel versions of the models based on theoretical advances in the continuous-choice literature. Additionally, we recommend modifications to past experimental designs to inform future studies on the experimental analysis of punishment.

Studies on Aversive Control: Development of Alternative Procedures; Behavioral Patterns Produced by Aversive Contingencies; and Effects of Aversive Contingencies on Verbal-Nonverbal Interactions

Domain: Basic Research
CAMILO HURTADO-PARRADO (University of Manitoba; Konrad Lorenz Fundación Universitaria), Monica Andrea Arias Higuera (Konrad Lorenz Fundación Universitaria), Camilo Gonzalez (Konrad Lorenz Fundación Universitaria), Alejandra Hurtado (Konrad Lorenz Fundación Universitaria), Angelo Cardona (Konrad Lorenz Fundación Universitaria), Maráa Carolina Bohórquez (Konrad Lorenz Fundación Universitaria), Karen Henao (Konrad Lorenz Fundación Universitaria), Erika García (Konrad Lorenz Fundación Universitaria)

There has been a dramatic decline in aversive control research over the past decades. This is not the result of having settled all of the area's major questions; instead, other aspects, primarily ethical-related, have contributed to this situation. Regarding the lack of nonhuman research, it is largely a consequence of an over-reliance on electric-shock-based procedures which, notwithstanding their role in the success of preeminent behavior-analytic research programs in the past, have been increasingly criticized on ethical, practical, and ecological validity grounds. In the case of research with humans, the influence of the ethical debates related to nonhuman research, together with controversies on the use of aversive procedures in applied settings, seemed to have resulted in an overall "bad reputation" of the field. As a result, there is a diminished interest for the basic processes of aversive control and their interaction with other behavioral phenomena (e.g., stimulus control and verbal behavior). Three studies that aim for the establishment of a research program on aversive control, and more generally, for the revival of the field will be reviewed. Study 1 focuses on the development of alternatives to shock-based procedures, entailing experiments with rats, gerbils, and fish. Study 2 focuses on the adaptation and validation of a methodology for the study of avoidance phenomena on gerbils, and the exploration of behavioral patterning that emerge during a step-down task. Study 3 focuses on the verbal-nonverbal interactions during a computerized adaptation of the experimental task designed by Catania et al. (1982) when an aversive contingency is embedded on the nonverbal component of such task.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh