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 Degree Discipline: Behavior Analysis
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
A Multimodal Investigation of Renewal of Human Avoidance, Perceived Threat, and Emotion

A Multimodal Investigation of Renewal of Human Avoidance, Perceived Threat, and Emotion

Date: May 2015
Creator: Ludlum, Madonna L.
Description: Many people who receive exposure-based treatments for anxiety disorders exhibit a return of fear and avoidance which is often referred to as renewal or relapse. Human and nonhuman research on fear conditioning and renewal has been instrumental in helping understand relapse in anxiety disorders. The purpose of this investigation was to examine renewal of human avoidance and assess whether avoidance may aid in sustaining renewal of fear responses. We adopted a multimodal measurement approach consisting of an approach-avoidance task along with ratings of perceived threat and fear and measures of skin-conductance, a widely used physiological measure of fear. A traditional, single-subject research design was used with six healthy adults. All tasks employed a discrete trial procedure. Experimental conditions included Pavlovian fear conditioning in which increased probability of money loss was paired with a “threat” meter in Context A and later followed extinction in Context B. Fear and avoidance increased to higher threat levels in Context A but not Context B. Renewal testing involved presenting the threat meter on a return to Context A to determine if it evoked fear and avoidance (i.e., relapse). As predicted, renewal testing in Context A showed that increased threat was associated with increased avoidance, ratings ...
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An Evaluation of Matrix Training Approaches for Teaching Compound Labels to Toddlers

An Evaluation of Matrix Training Approaches for Teaching Compound Labels to Toddlers

Date: May 2015
Creator: Wilshire, Tayla C.
Description: Matrix training techniques arrange instruction for stimulus relations that facilitate emergent responding to novel stimulus arrangements, which is a phenomenon known as recombinative generalization. The current study compared two common matrix training approaches, an overlapping (OV) design and a non-overlapping (NOV) design, with respect to arranging relations targeted for training. Two, typically-developing toddlers were taught compound action-object labels in either an OV or NOV matrix training design. Results suggest that an OV matrix design facilitates recombinative generalization more effectively than a NOV design.
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An Evaluation of Reinforcement Effects of Preferred Items During Discrete-trial Instruction

An Evaluation of Reinforcement Effects of Preferred Items During Discrete-trial Instruction

Date: May 2015
Creator: Rorer, Lynette
Description: This study compared the relative reinforcing efficacy of high-preferred and low-preferred stimuli, as determined by two types of preference assessments, on acquisition rates in three children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The study also evaluated the indirect effects of preference on students’ stereotypy and problem behavior during instructional periods. Participants were presented with a task and provided high or low-preferred stimuli contingent upon correct responding. Results showed that acquisition occurred more rapidly in the highly preferred condition for some participants. Higher rates of problem behavior occurred in the low preferred condition for all participants. These results highlight the importance of utilizing preference assessment procedures to identify and deliver high-preferred items in skill acquisition procedures for individuals with ASD.
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A Training Package for Parents and their Toddlers with Autism: Observed Changes in Parent Teaching Episodes, Child Turn Taking and Social Attending, and Parent-Child Engagement

A Training Package for Parents and their Toddlers with Autism: Observed Changes in Parent Teaching Episodes, Child Turn Taking and Social Attending, and Parent-Child Engagement

Date: May 2015
Creator: Hunt, Nina Marie
Description: Research has shown that parents of children with autism report higher stress than parents of children with other developmental disabilities. It has been suggested that parent training programs, specifically naturalistic social-communication training, can reduce parental stress and enhance the quality of the parent-child relationship. Although the development of a multilevel assessment has been suggested, much of the research in this area has relied on measures of parent implementation fidelity and specific child target skills such as vocal communication, eye contact, and joint attention. Few have directly measured the parent-child interaction. The purpose of the current study is to examine the effects of an in-home parent training package for toddlers with autism on parent-child social interactions. Within this package, parents are taught to attend to contextual variables, to arrange the environment to set the occasion for child responding, to respond immediately to targeted child approximations, and to respond in ways that are mutually reinforcing, social, and fun. Data were collected during 5-min video-taped assessments, on the number of parent teaching episodes, child target skills (turn taking and social attending), engagement, and synchronous engagement. Results were evaluated in a multiple baseline design across two parent-child dyads and indicated increases in all measures. ...
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Yummy Starts: A Constructional Approach to Food Selectivity with Children with Autism

Yummy Starts: A Constructional Approach to Food Selectivity with Children with Autism

Date: May 2015
Creator: Cihon, Joseph Harvey
Description: Food selectivity exhibited by children with autism creates a myriad of barriers for families and children, ranging from social to nutritional. The typical approach to food selectivity is pathological. The pathological approach attempts to eliminate food selectivity through the use of techniques such as escape extinction. While successful in decreasing aspects of food challenges, such as food refusals, the pathological approach does not necessarily establish desired responses to foods or mealtimes (e.g., favorable affect, approach, generalized sampling, etc.). The purpose of the current study was to explore an alternative, constructional approach to food challenges presented by two children diagnosed with autism. This approach focuses on the development of favorable responses to food through the use of shaping. Furthermore, the shaping process involved a conceptual and procedural widening of the stimulus and response classes selected. The results of a non-concurrent multiple baseline experiment, suggest this approach was successful in expanding the number of food the children tasted and ate while maintaining favorable or neutral affect and child assent.
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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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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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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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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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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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