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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Degree Discipline: Behavior Analysis
Can Positive Reinforcement Overcome Fear? An Investigation of Competing Contingencies

Can Positive Reinforcement Overcome Fear? An Investigation of Competing Contingencies

Date: August 2011
Creator: Kunkel, Rebecca Ann
Description: Escape maintained behavior in dogs is generally displayed by one of two behaviors-fleeing or aggression. Once aggression is negatively reinforced by the removal of the aversive stimulus, it is very difficult to eliminate from the organism's repertoire. Counterconditioning is the process of pairing a positive reinforcer with an aversive stimulus in the attempts that an organism will no longer exhibit fear responses in its presence. This process must be done gradually with small approximations. Many organisms have been trained to tolerate the presence of aversive stimuli via counterconditioning. However, this process can be time consuming and has inconsistent results. The purpose of this experiment was to monitor the effects of counter conditioning around an aversive stimulus while simultaneously training an identical behavior in the presence of a neutral stimulus. The results demonstrated that even though counterconditioning produced approach to the aversive stimulus the subject still exhibited numerous fear responses when results were compared to the control condition.
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The Effects of Capturing and Searching on the Acquisition of a Simple Arm Position

The Effects of Capturing and Searching on the Acquisition of a Simple Arm Position

Date: August 2011
Creator: Heth, Travis R.
Description: The present experiment compared two methods of training a simple arm position using auditory feedback: capture and search. The participants were four right-handed female college students. During capture, auditory feedback was delivered by the experimenter after the participant moved along a single axis into the target position. During search, auditory feedback was produced by the computer after the participant left clicked a mouse inside the target location. The results of a multi-element design showed that participants performed more accurately during capture training than search training. Pre-training and post-training probes, during which no auditory feedback was provided, showed similar fluctuations in accuracy across probe types. A retention check, performed seven days after the final training session, showed higher accuracy scores for search than capture, across all four participants. These findings suggest that TAGteach should incorporate an approach similar to search training to improve training outcomes.
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Effects of Conditional Discrimination Training on Symmetry and Semantic Priming

Effects of Conditional Discrimination Training on Symmetry and Semantic Priming

Date: August 2011
Creator: Hudgins, Caleb D.
Description: Psychologists interested in the study of language find that people are faster at making decisions about words that are related than they are at making decisions about words that are not related – an effect called semantic priming. This phenomenon has largely only been document in laboratory settings using natural languages as contest and real words as stimuli. The current study explores the relation between the semantic priming effect and a laboratory procedure designed to give rise to performances that can be described as linguistic. Six adult participants learned to partition a collection of eight stimuli into two sets of four stimuli. Following this, the subjects showed the semantic priming effect within a set of stimuli but not across sets. These data suggest that it may be possible to study linguistic phenomenon in laboratory-based procedures allowing better control and the ability to ask very precise questions about linguistic functioning.
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The Effects of Fines on Cooperation in a Four-Person Prisoner’s Dilemma Game

The Effects of Fines on Cooperation in a Four-Person Prisoner’s Dilemma Game

Date: August 2011
Creator: Morford, Zachary H.
Description: Cooperation is an important area of investigation for behavior analysis. The prisoner’s dilemma game (PDG) provides a useful scenario for studying cooperation in a behavior analytic paradigm. The PDG can be coupled with the concept of the metacontingency to investigate how various contingency arrangements support and promote cooperation in a group. Players in this experiment participated in a PDG and, in some conditions, were given the ability to fine other players but could not talk. The goal of this experiment was to investigate how players’ ability to fine one another affected the players’ patterns of cooperation, and whether fining itself was affected by the addition of a shared group consequence. The data show that participants cooperated in some conditions, but the fines did not seem to affect players’ rates of cooperation.
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Evaluating the Effects of Public Postings on Energy Conservation Behavior at a Public University

Evaluating the Effects of Public Postings on Energy Conservation Behavior at a Public University

Date: August 2011
Creator: Canisz, Eleni
Description: This study evaluated the effects of public postings on energy conservation behavior at a public university, using a multiple baseline design across three settings; bathrooms break rooms, and conference rooms. The behavior of building occupants was recorded to assess the frequency at which those individuals would turn lights off upon exiting an unoccupied room. The independent variables implemented by experimenters (light-switch plate stickers and laminated signs) had little to no effects on cumulative instances of lights turned off however, the installation of motion sensor lights produced better results. Across all conditions, lights were turned off most frequently in conference rooms (65% of observations) followed by break rooms (9% of observations), and bathrooms (3% of observations).
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Induced “motivation”

Induced “motivation”

Date: August 2011
Creator: Becker, April Melissa
Description: In the avian training community, a procedure has been utilized to maintain food reinforcer efficacy at high body weights. Elements of this procedure include limited holds and closed economies. To test this procedure, a baseline performance of keypecking on an FR 15 schedule at 80% ad lib weight for two pigeons was established. By imposing limited holds and a closed economy, rates of responding were increased compared to baseline, even while the pigeons were over 90% of their ad-lib body weights.
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A Stimulus Control Analysis of Imprinting in a Human-Reared Pigeon

A Stimulus Control Analysis of Imprinting in a Human-Reared Pigeon

Date: August 2011
Creator: Varnon, Christopher A.
Description: Events that occur early in the life of birds greatly influence social and sexual preferences throughout the course of life. Traditionally, this is explained by a learning process known as imprinting. Young birds are thought to imprint to early stimuli, causing the development of permanent preferences for those stimuli. In the present study, imprinting is examined with respect to behaviors of an adult human-reared pigeon in several conditions. The subject was either presented with no stimulus, a conspecific stimulus, a novel stimulus, a human stimulus, or the human and novel stimuli simultaneously. Several phases within these conditions were employed to pinpoint the variables that produced the most social and sexual behavior. The results showed that while some conditions produced unclear behavior, other conditions produced very clear indications of sexual preference for humans and fear of conspecifics. The results suggest that the concept of imprinting may not be needed to explain the sexual preference of the subject, and that operant contingencies may play a large role in sexual behavior.
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An Exploration of the Titrating-Delay Match-to-Sample Procedure with Pigeons

An Exploration of the Titrating-Delay Match-to-Sample Procedure with Pigeons

Date: December 2011
Creator: Friedel, Jonathan E.
Description: The delayed matching‐to‐sample (DMTS) procedure involves the insertion of a delay between the offset of a sample stimulus and the onset of an array of comparison stimuli; one of which is designated as the “correct” match for the sample on each trial. The procedure has served as the base preparation in which the effects of environmental variables on short‐term remembering and is, in many ways, responsible for a refined understanding of the phenomenon. Despite its utility, however, there are a few problems with the DMTS procedure – first, the procedure doesn’t adjust for individual differences and second, the conventional dependent measure, percent of correct trials, is not as sensitive as one might like. The titrating-delay matching to sample (TDMTS) procedure is a variant of the DMTS procedure in which the delays between sample and comparison are adjusted as a function of the subject’s performance. Stable measures of adjusted delay are not only sensitive measures of the performance of interest but they are also automatically tuned to differences across individuals. The study reported here continues our efforts to understand the dynamics of the TDMTS procedure so that it can be used to ask important questions related to short‐term remembering.
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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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The Effects of Textual Fluency on the Rate of Acquisition and Application of Intraverbal Relations

The Effects of Textual Fluency on the Rate of Acquisition and Application of Intraverbal Relations

Date: May 2012
Creator: Shrontz, Rachael E.
Description: Intraverbal behavior governs core elements of academic and intellectual behavior. These intraverbal relations can be explicitly taught when an individual is prompted to provide an appropriate response with pictures, text, or other stimuli following a verbal stimulus. It is possible that a focus on fluency of the target repertoires may lead to more conclusive data. the current study assessed the effects of precision teaching based instruction for component textual repertoires on the acquisition of intraverbal relations. Specifically, this study compared the effectiveness of two textual prompting procedures (with and without fluency-based instruction) on the acquisition and application of intraverbal relations using time-delay and a carefully controlled set of intraverbal stimuli. Results indicate that the use of textual prompts and an errorless time-delay transfer of stimulus control procedure were effective strategies for teaching intraverbal responses regardless of the inclusion of fluency-based instruction.
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