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 Degree Discipline: Behavior Analysis
A Comparison of Vocabulary Banks and Scripts on Native English-speaking Students’ Acquisition of Italian

A Comparison of Vocabulary Banks and Scripts on Native English-speaking Students’ Acquisition of Italian

Date: May 2012
Creator: Dean, Brittany L.
Description: The study applied behavior analytic principles to foreign language instruction in a college classroom. Two study methods, vocabulary banks and scripts, were compared by assessing the effects on Italian language acquisition, retention, and generalization. Results indicate that students without prior exposure to Italian engaged in more exchanges and emitted more words in script tests compared to vocabulary bank tests. Participants with at least two classes in Italian prior to the study engaged in more exchanges and emitted more words during vocabulary bank tests. Data suggest that different teaching strategies may work for different learners. More research is needed to determine efficient teaching methods and how to ascertain which approaches work best for learners with different histories.
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Conditional discrimination and stimulus equivalence: Effects of suppressing derived symmetrical responses on the emergence of transitivity.

Conditional discrimination and stimulus equivalence: Effects of suppressing derived symmetrical responses on the emergence of transitivity.

Date: May 2007
Creator: Jones, Aaron A.
Description: Symmetry suppression was conducted for five subjects who demonstrated a tendency to derive equivalence relations based on conditional discrimination training in a match-to-sample procedure. Symmetry suppression was applied in three consecutive sessions in which symmetrical responses were suppressed for one stimulus class in the first condition, two stimulus classes in the second condition, and all three stimulus classes in the final condition. Symmetry suppression slowed the emergence of transitivity for two subjects and prevented it for the other three. Results indicated that unplanned features of stimulus configurations emerged as discriminative variables that controlled selection responses and altered the function of consequent stimuli. Disruption of cognitive development by conflicting contingencies in natural learning environments is discussed.
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A constructional canine aggression treatment: Using a negative reinforcement shaping procedure with dogs in home and community settings.

A constructional canine aggression treatment: Using a negative reinforcement shaping procedure with dogs in home and community settings.

Date: December 2007
Creator: Snider, Kellie Sisson
Description: Aggression in dogs is a significant public health concern with 7.2 mortality cases per 100 million inhabitants and approximately 4.7 million dog bites annually. Canine aggression is typically viewed as a genetic trait and treated as pathology through the use of medical or respondent behavioral procedures. In this study the effects of the differential negative reinforcement of safe, alternative behaviors to aggression using distancing as the reinforcer were evaluated. The results demonstrated that even when the aggression was in evidence throughout most of the dog's lifetime, it responded quickly to changes in reinforcement contingencies.
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Correspondence between verbal behavior about reinforcers and performance under schedules of reinforcement.

Correspondence between verbal behavior about reinforcers and performance under schedules of reinforcement.

Date: August 2006
Creator: Bekker-Pace, Ruthie
Description: Important advancements have been made in the identification of reinforcers over the past decade. The use of preference assessments has become a systematic way to identify preferred events that may function as reinforcers for an individual's behavior. Typically, preference assessments require participants to select stimuli through verbal surveys or engagement with stimuli as preferred or non-preferred. Not all studies go on to directly test the effects of the preferred stimuli, and even fewer studies directly test for the effects of the non- preferred stimuli. The present study systematically identified preferred and non-preferred stimuli in adult human subjects by verbal report and then proceeded to test the effects of both verbally reported preferred and non preferred events on single and concurrent schedules of reinforcement. The results are discussed in terms of contemporary concerns regarding preference and reinforcer assessments.
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A Descriptive Analysis of the Use and Effect of a Self-management Project in an Undergraduate Course in Behavior Analysis

A Descriptive Analysis of the Use and Effect of a Self-management Project in an Undergraduate Course in Behavior Analysis

Date: May 2013
Creator: Lamancusa, Michelle
Description: Undergraduate male and female students enrolled in an introductory behavior analysis course with minimal instruction on self-management were given modified exploratory logs to use in a self-management project. Students self-monitored behavior via the log, constructed their own interventions, and reported changes in behavior and extent of success in a write up at course end. Changes in self-reported descriptions in the logs as well as the written results of a pre and post survey of emotional responses were counted. Successful self-management project interventions were reported by most students. Correspondence between planned and actual events increased. Negative reinforcement procedures characterized most students' intervention. Correspondence between events at pre and post and actual log reports was highest at post.
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Determining the Relation Between the Moments of Acquisition of Baseline Conditional Discriminations and the Emergence of Equivalence Relations

Determining the Relation Between the Moments of Acquisition of Baseline Conditional Discriminations and the Emergence of Equivalence Relations

Date: August 2010
Creator: Swisher, Melissa J.
Description: The experiment was an attempt to gain a more precise understanding of the temporal relation between the development of analytic units and equivalence relations. Two prompting procedures were used during training to pinpoint when eight subjects learned the conditional discriminations. Near simultaneous presentation of probe and training trials allowed for examination of the temporal relation between conditional discrimination acquisition and derived performances on stimulus equivalence probes. The data show that, for seven of eight subjects, a decreased reliance on prompts was coincident with the development of equivalence-consistent choices on either all or some probe trials, which suggests that the development of analytic units is sufficient to give rise to equivalence relations among stimuli.
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Developing a function-based treatment for problem behavior using a structured descriptive assessment.

Developing a function-based treatment for problem behavior using a structured descriptive assessment.

Date: August 2007
Creator: Harris, Curtis Joe
Description: This study evaluated the utility of structured descriptive assessment (SDA) to generate a hypothesis regarding the operant function of problem behavior when the analogue functional analysis (FA) failed to evoke problem behavior for an adult with developmental disabilities. The effectiveness of interventions based on that hypothesis was evaluated in the natural environment. The SDA succeeded in producing a relatively controlled baseline of problem behavior where the FA and direct observation could not. However, the extent to which treatment procedures affected problem behavior could not be determined due to confounding variables outside the control of the experimenter. The results provide cautionary evidence highlighting both the potential utility of SDA and challenges that may be encountered when conducting SDA and evaluating treatments in natural environments.
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Do shared S-minus functions among stimuli lead to equivalence?

Do shared S-minus functions among stimuli lead to equivalence?

Date: August 2005
Creator: Kassif-Weiss, Sivan O.
Description: We examined the claim that equivalence classes contain all positive elements in a reinforcement contingency by asking whether negative stimuli in a reinforcement contingency will also form an equivalence class, based on their shared function as S-minus stimuli. In Experiment 1, 5 subjects were tested for equivalence for positive and negative stimuli. Testing of positive stimuli preceded testing of negative stimuli. Two of five subjects demonstrated equivalence for positive stimuli, and three subjects demonstrated equivalence for negative stimuli. In Experiment 2, order of testing was reversed. Four of six subjects demonstrated equivalence for positive stimuli, and none demonstrated equivalence for negative stimuli. In Experiment 3, positive and negative stimuli were tested together. Only one of five subject demonstrated equivalence for positive and negative stimuli. These data suggest that negative stimuli may enter an equivalence class, and so Sidman paradigm should be expanded. Order of testing was found as a meaningful variable.
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Does Family Quality of Life Change? Evaluation of a Group Parent-coaching Package

Does Family Quality of Life Change? Evaluation of a Group Parent-coaching Package

Date: December 2012
Creator: Wiles, Amber Marie
Description: Improving family quality of life is an important goal when working with families of children with autism. Researchers have attempted to measure changes by developing indices of quality such as affect, stress, and confidence. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a group parent-coaching program on measures aimed at addressing quality: a) parent confidence, stress and affect ratings; b) child affect ratings; c) the frequency of coordinated joint attention (CJA); and d) parent report of satisfaction and efficacy. Over the course of four weeks, the coaching program involved group presentations, discussions, video sharing, and problem solving, and individual in-vivo coaching sessions regarding specific child skill development. Results from the five parent-child dyads suggested increases in areas associated with quality of life. Results are discussed in the context of quality themes and mixed methods research.
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Does stimulus complexity affect acquisition of conditional discriminations and the emergence of derived relations?

Does stimulus complexity affect acquisition of conditional discriminations and the emergence of derived relations?

Date: December 2009
Creator: Martin, Tiffani L.
Description: Despite the central importance of conditional discriminations to the derivation of equivalence relations, there is little research relating the dynamics of conditional discrimination learning to the derivation of equivalence relations. Prior research has shown that conditional discriminations with simple sample and comparison stimuli are acquired faster than conditional discriminations with complex sample and comparison stimuli. This study attempted to replicate these earlier results and extend them by attempting to relate conditional discrimination learning to equivalence relations. Each of four adult humans learned four, four-choice conditional discriminations (simple-simple, simple-complex, complex-simple, and complex-complex) and were tested to see if equivalence relations had developed. The results confirm earlier findings showing acquisition to be facilitated with simple stimuli and retarded with complex stimuli. There was no difference in outcomes on equivalence tests, however. The results are in implicit agreement with Sidman's theory of stimulus equivalence.
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