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 Department: Department of Behavior Analysis
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
The Behavioral Economics of Effort

The Behavioral Economics of Effort

Date: December 2014
Creator: Nord, Christina M
Description: Although response effort is considered a dimension of the cost to obtain reinforcement, little research has examined the economic impact of effort on demand for food. The goal of the present study was to explore the relationship between effort and demand. Three Sprague Dawley rats were trained to press a force transducer under a series of fixed-ratio schedules (1, 10, 18, 32, 56, 100, 180, 320, and 560) under different force requirements (5.6 g and 56 g). Thus, nominal unit price (responses / food) remained constant while minimal response force requirements varied. Using a force transducer allowed the measurement of responses failing to meet the minimal force requirement (i.e. “subcriterion responses”), an advantage over prior approaches using weighted levers to manipulate effort. Consistent with prior research, increasing the unit price decreased food consumption, and raising minimum force requirements further reduced demand for food. Additionally, increasing the force requirement produced subcriterion responses. Analysis indicated that subcriterion responses did not create incidental changes in unit price. Obtained force data revealed that including obtained forces in unit price calculations provided better predictions of consumption when compared to using criterion force requirements.
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The Effects of Model Prompts on Joint Attention Initiations in Children with Autism

The Effects of Model Prompts on Joint Attention Initiations in Children with Autism

Date: December 2014
Creator: James-Kelly, Kimberly L
Description: The general purpose of the current study was to evaluate the effects of minimally intrusive prompting procedures and preferred stimuli on protodeclarative joint attention initiations in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Two boys and one girl diagnosed with ASD participated. The experimenter provided attention and social interaction following protodeclarative initiations throughout all phases of the study. During intervention, a model prompt was delivered every 30 s if the participant failed to initiate a bid for joint attention. Results for the first participant show that a model prompt was sufficient to increase the rate of protodeclarative initiations across stimulus sets. Generalization was seen across sets, but not across environments. Subsequently, the model prompt was sufficient to increase the rate of protodeclarative initiations across sets in a second setting (classroom). Results for the second participant are inconclusive. Data collected during the initial baseline condition show that she engaged in an incompatible verbal response across sets. When pictorial stimuli depicting highinterest items and activities were introduced, the rate of protodeclarative initiations increased over time. We then returned to original baseline condition and saw an initial decrease, followed by a steady increase in the rate of protodeclarative initiations. The third participant withdrew ...
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Evaluation of Ethanol’s Effects on the Biophysical Characteristics of Licking

Evaluation of Ethanol’s Effects on the Biophysical Characteristics of Licking

Date: December 2014
Creator: Stewart, Daryl Ellen
Description: Alcohol use disorders are a public health issue related to adverse effects for individuals and society. A low level of response, or decreased sensitivity, to alcohol has been identified as a heritable risk factor for development of alcohol use disorders. One method for researching level of response to alcohol is through the use of rodent models, which are developed to mimic human conditions while eliminating barriers to conducting research with people. Current rodent models used to evaluate effects of ethanol on motor performance have been criticized for not being well matched to human tasks that measure level of change in body sway after alcohol consumption. This study looks at oromotor behavior as a potential alternative to gross motor performance in hopes of increasing correspondence between human and rodent measures of intoxication. To evaluate rodent oromotor performance a force transducer lickometer is used to measure several dimensions of licking behavior after administration of different concentrations of ethanol solution via gavage. Results show that force of licking is not sensitive to dose of ethanol. The total number of licks per session show dose related decreases and licking rhythm, evaluated by the length and distribution of interlick intervals, either increased or decreased for ...
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An Evaluation of Negative Reinforcement During Error Correction Procedures

An Evaluation of Negative Reinforcement During Error Correction Procedures

Date: December 2014
Creator: Maillard, Gloria Nicole
Description: This study evaluated the effects of error correction procedures on sight word acquisition. Participants were four typically developing children in kindergarten and first grade. We used an adapted alternating treatment design embedded within a multiple baseline design to evaluate instructional efficacy of two error correction procedures; one with preferred items plus error correction and one with error correction only, and a concurrent chain schedule to evaluate participant preference for instructional procedure. The results show that there was no difference in acquisition rates between the procedures. The evaluation also showed children prefer procedures that include a positive reinforcement component.
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The Evaluation of Task Preference on Reinforcer Efficacy

The Evaluation of Task Preference on Reinforcer Efficacy

Date: December 2014
Creator: Lowery, Wesley J
Description: Stimulus preference assessments have determined high and low preferred items that increase the rate of frequency of responding for various skills. Within applied settings, high preferred items may not attain the same reinforcing value across tasks which might decrease responding. The preference of the task might have an effect on reinforcer efficacy that is being presented. The purpose of the current study is to evaluate changes in reinforcer efficacy as a function of preference for the task. Three children diagnosed with ASD participated in the study. HP/LP items and HP/LP tasks were identified through paired-choice assessments, and each item was presented as a consequence for each task in a counterbalanced multi-element format. Results indicated that preference for the task had little effect of the rate of responding across items.
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The Measurement and Enhancement of Rapport Between Behavioral Therapists and Children with Autism

The Measurement and Enhancement of Rapport Between Behavioral Therapists and Children with Autism

Date: December 2014
Creator: Lapin, Carly I
Description: Rapport has been acknowledged as an important variable in therapeutic contexts. The current evaluation defined and assessed rapport quality between children with autism and behavioral therapists based on behavioral correlates. In addition, the author evaluated the effects of an operant discrimination training procedure to enhance rapport levels for therapists with low levels of rapport. More specifically, the current study evaluated: (a) if the discrimination training procedure would establish therapists’ social interactions as a discriminative stimulus and (b) if social interaction would function as a conditioned reinforcer for novel responses. Results suggest that the discrimination training procedure was successful in conditioning social interaction as a reinforcer for all child participants, and as a result, rapport increased.
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Development and Evaluation of a Large-scale Pyramidal Staff Training Program for Behavior Management

Development and Evaluation of a Large-scale Pyramidal Staff Training Program for Behavior Management

Date: August 2014
Creator: Shivers, Audrey H.
Description: Training and empirically evaluating caregivers’ implementation of behavior management skills is a particularly challenging task in large residential contexts. A pyramidal training approach provides an efficient and effective way to conduct large-scale competency-based behavior skills training. The purpose of this project was to develop and evaluate a large-scale pyramidal staff training program for behavior management skills. One hundred nine caregivers and 11 behavior service professionals at a large, residential care facility participated in this project. Interobserver agreement was utilized to develop and refine measurements systems to detect caregiver acquisition of skills, behavior service professionals’ ability to score caregiver performance and behavior service professionals’ ability to deliver a specified portion of the curriculum. Pre- and post-test probes were conducted utilizing standard role play scenarios and checklists to evaluate caregiver acquisition of three specific behavior management skills. The results supported the following conclusions: first, interobserver agreement measures were useful to develop a reliable measurement system, to refine some curriculum elements, and to evaluate measurement conducted by behavior service professionals. Second, behavior skills training (BST) resulted in caregiver acquisition of all three behavior management techniques. Third, the pyramidal training approach was effective to teach behavior service professionals to deliver BST and accurately measure ...
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A Stimulus Control Analysis of the Misinformation Effect

A Stimulus Control Analysis of the Misinformation Effect

Date: August 2014
Creator: Tait, Kelly M.
Description: This paper explores research on the misinformation effect and hypothesizes a new explanation for the occurrence misinformation effect. Current psychological theories states the misinformation effect occurs when memories are skewed by the presentation of new information after an initial event. This effect has been tested in a multitude of ways, including testing words lists, pictures, colors, and change blindness. Socially, the misinformation effect has been used to explain the inaccuracies of eyewitness testimony. The current judicial system relies on the fallible memory of people and has wrongfully imprisoned numerous innocents. The purpose of this research is to show the misinformation effect is not a problem with memory storage and retrieval, but rather a product of selective stimulus control.
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Dance: a Training Package Utilizing Videotaped Self-observation to Teach Parents to Enhance Social Interactions with Children At-risk for a Developmental Delay

Dance: a Training Package Utilizing Videotaped Self-observation to Teach Parents to Enhance Social Interactions with Children At-risk for a Developmental Delay

Date: May 2014
Creator: Townley-Cochran, Donna
Description: Previous research has demonstrated the effectiveness of programs that include a videotaped self-observation component. The self-observation protocols, however, have not been clearly specified within programs that teach and report parents’ use of general teaching strategies. The current study investigates the effects of a training package with a self-observation component to teach parents to improve teaching interactions with their children at-risk for a developmental delay using an AB design replicated across participants. Data were collected across play interactions to assess the number of parent teaching episodes, child target responses, and various parent and child relationship qualities. Relationship quality measures included parent and child affect and engagement, parent directives, parent confidence and stress, and parent and child interest. The results of this study suggest that the training package was effective in that parents engaged in higher rates of teaching, their children engaged in more desired responding, and certain aspects of the parent-child interaction were enhanced. These results are discussed in terms of the effects on the parent-child teaching interaction and implications for future use of parent self-observation techniques.
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The Effects of Sucrose on Ethanol Consumption in Ethanol Naïve and Non-naïve Rats

The Effects of Sucrose on Ethanol Consumption in Ethanol Naïve and Non-naïve Rats

Date: May 2014
Creator: Dove, Rachel Jolene
Description: Sucrose fading and intermittent access are two common procedures that induce alcohol consumption in rodents. Sucrose fading procedures involve exposing ethanol naïve rats to a mixture of ethanol and sucrose and gradually reducing the concentration of sugar. Intermittent access procedures involve providing rats with access to ethanol on alternating days. Given that rats will consume ethanol without sucrose, the role of sugar in the sucrose fading procedure is unclear. Rats must be ethanol naïve when they are exposed to treatment with sucrose fading, so there is no point of comparison to show that exposure to sugar in sucrose fading produces higher levels of drinking. There has yet to be any work that isolates the effects of sugar on the consumption of alcohol. The purpose of the present experiment was to examine the effects of sucrose on ethanol consumption in rats with different alcohol histories. Two groups of six rats were exposed to two successive sucrose fading procedures, 30 days apart and their drinking was measured 30 days after each one. One group was exposed to an intermittent access procedure to establish drinking prior to treatment with sucrose fading, the other was ethanol naïve. Following sucrose fading, all rats drank pharmacologically ...
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