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 Degree Discipline: Behavior Analysis
Identification of environmental determinants of behavior  disorders through functional analysis of precursor behaviors

Identification of environmental determinants of behavior disorders through functional analysis of precursor behaviors

Date: May 2001
Creator: Churchill, Robert
Description: Methods for the determining the functional properties of problem behaviors are necessary for the design of successful treatments. Many of the currently utilized methodologies are chosen based on their speed, ease of application or for the perceived risk-reduction they afford. However, when thoroughly analyzed many of these methods fall short of their intended purpose. The current study attempted to assess dangerous problem behavior through a functional assessment of functionally related precursor behaviors during analog sessions. Results indicate that for three participants, placing the reinforcing contingencies on these related precursor behaviors produced differentiated outcomes during the assessment. These outcomes matched the outcomes of assessments of the more dangerous problem behaviors.
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Improving Appointment Keeping at an Eye Care Clinic Using a Revised Process Package

Improving Appointment Keeping at an Eye Care Clinic Using a Revised Process Package

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Date: May 2001
Creator: Hodge, Victoria L.
Description: Missed appointments by patients are a major problem for health care professionals. To combat this issue, some optometrists use a pre-appointing system in which patients are scheduled for an annual exam a year after their initial visit. Prior to that subsequent appointment, clinic staff often try to contact the patient to confirm the appointment. This study examined baseline levels of appointment keeping, analyzed existing processes for pre-appointing patients, and introduced a revised process package to improve appointment keeping at an eye care clinic. This package included training, mailed postcard reminders and two phone call reminders. Results indicate appointment keeping by pre-appointed patients increased over baseline. The intervention was also shown to be cost-beneficial.
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The Effects of Graduated Exposure, Modeling, and Contingent Social Attention on Tolerance to Skin Care Products with Children Who Have Autism.

The Effects of Graduated Exposure, Modeling, and Contingent Social Attention on Tolerance to Skin Care Products with Children Who Have Autism.

Date: December 2001
Creator: South, Ellyn M.
Description: The effects of graduated exposure, modeling and contingent social attention on tolerance to skincare products were evaluated with two boys with autism who displayed tactile defensiveness. Upon each presentation step of skincare products the number of positive and negative responses and successful step completion were measured. Procedures included modeling, presenting graduated opportunities, and providing social attention for step completion. Step advancement occurred if a child engaged in a step independently, without excessive refusals. A changing criterion design and a multiple baseline were employed to evaluate effects of this treatment package. Children demonstrated more positive and fewer negative responses as they completed the graduated steps. Effects maintained in follow-up observations.
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The Effects of Restricting the Response Space and Self-evaluation on Letter Quality in Beginning and Experienced Handwriters.

The Effects of Restricting the Response Space and Self-evaluation on Letter Quality in Beginning and Experienced Handwriters.

Date: December 2001
Creator: LePage, Julia
Description: This study analyzed the effects of restricting the response space and selfevaluation on students' handwriting quality in two beginning handwriters and two experienced handwriters. Students executed letters with and without using a transparent overlay, in a multiple-baseline-across-letters design. The use of the transparent overlay included drawing letters in a space restricted by the transparency; overlaying a model letter on top of the written letter and; evaluating if the two letters matched. Letter quality immediately improved when overlays were used, and handwriting quality maintained when the writing response was not restricted by the overlay transparency. Prompting and feedback were delivered contingent on on-task behavior. Analysis was based on three different measurement systems.
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Immediate and subsequent effects of fixed-time food presentations on automatically maintained mouthing.

Immediate and subsequent effects of fixed-time food presentations on automatically maintained mouthing.

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Date: December 2001
Creator: Simmons, Jason N.
Description: Several studies have demonstrated that fixed-time (FT) schedules of stimulus delivery can function to reduce a variety of behaviors. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the immediate and subsequent effects of FT food deliveries on mouthing. In Phase 1, a preference assessment showed that caramel popcorn, chocolate cookies and pretzels were highly preferred food items. Thus, providing the basis for use of food items during treatment. In Phase 2, a functional analysis showed that mouthing was a nonsocially maintained problem behavior. Phase 3 demonstrated the use of FT schedules of food deliveries as treatment for nonsocially maintained mouthing. Results indicated that FT schedules of food significantly reduced mouthing. In addition, levels of mouthing observed during post-FT observations were reliably lower than pre-FT observations. Treatment effects, operative mechanisms responsible for the treatment effects and the experimental arrangement used to investigate varying FT schedules are discussed.
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A Behavioral Economic Analysis of the Effects of Unit Price Sequence on Demand for Money in Humans.

A Behavioral Economic Analysis of the Effects of Unit Price Sequence on Demand for Money in Humans.

Date: May 2002
Creator: Williams, Jack Keith
Description: Three groups of participants were exposed to different unit price sequences. Unit prices for all groups ranged from unit price 1 to 21. Analyses of demand curves, response rates, session duration, and elasticity coefficients suggest that the sequence of exposure to unit prices can affect the elasticity of demand. In addition, the size of unit price contrast, direction of unit price change, and proximity to experimental milestones also may affect the consumption of monetary reinforcers.
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The Effects of Non-differential Reinforcement and Differential Reinforcement on Problem Behaviors and Accuracy of Responding of Autistic Children.

The Effects of Non-differential Reinforcement and Differential Reinforcement on Problem Behaviors and Accuracy of Responding of Autistic Children.

Date: May 2002
Creator: Ingvarsson, Einar Thor
Description: The effects of non-differential reinforcement and differential reinforcement on problem behaviors and accuracy of responding of autistic children was examined. In experiment 1, one child with autism participated, and in experiment 2, two children with autism participated. In the non-differential reinforcement condition both prompted and unprompted responses were reinforced. In the differential reinforcement condition only unprompted responses were reinforced. Overall, problem behaviors were more frequent in the non-differential reinforcement condition. In experiment 1, accuracy was higher in the differential reinforcement condition, while experiment 2 showed inconclusive results with regards to accuracy. It is concluded that non-differential reinforcement can decrease problem behaviors in teaching situations, but may not be sufficient to ensure acquisition of target tasks.
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A Measurement System for Monitoring Play in Typically Developing Children and Children with Autism

A Measurement System for Monitoring Play in Typically Developing Children and Children with Autism

Date: May 2002
Creator: Gudmundsdottir, Kristin
Description: A comprehensive measurement system was developed to monitor play in children with autism and typically developing children. The study was conducted in a preschool operated in conjunction with a center-based program for children with autism. The development of the measurement system was based on observations of four children with autism and three typically developing children during social and play activites. Data were collected on material use and several dimensions of play: Simple Manipulation, Functional Manipulation, Symbolic Toy Play, Symbolic Role Play and Play Themes. The results indicated that the measurement system consistently measured a wide range of play behaviors across children and materials. Significance of the information gathered from the measurement system in assessing play and designing interventions is discussed.
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The Effects of Priming and Contingent Attention on Novel Play Episodes in a Child with Autism

The Effects of Priming and Contingent Attention on Novel Play Episodes in a Child with Autism

Date: August 2002
Creator: Josendale, Julianne R.
Description: This study evaluated the effects of priming and contingent attention procedures on play variability in a child with autism. During baseline, numbers of novel play episodes, different play episodes, and actions occurred at low rates. Priming procedures did not produce desired change. When contingent attention was implemented, significant increases occurred in novel play episodes, different actions, and different play episodes. These results show that attention contingent on variable play episodes can increase the number of novel responses to play materials. The results are discussed within the context of treatment and future research.
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A Comparison of Auditory and Visual Stimuli in a Delayed Matching to Sample Procedure with Adult Humans.

A Comparison of Auditory and Visual Stimuli in a Delayed Matching to Sample Procedure with Adult Humans.

Date: December 2002
Creator: DeFulio, Anthony L.
Description: Five humans were exposed to a matching to sample task in which the delay (range = 0 to 32 seconds) between sample stimulus offset and comparison onset was manipulated across conditions. Auditory stimuli (1” tone) and arbitrary symbols served as sample stimuli for three (S1, S2, S3) and two (S4 and S5) subjects, respectively. Uppercase English letters (S, M, and N) served as comparison stimuli for all subjects. Results show small but systematic effects of the retention interval on accuracy and latency to selection of comparison stimuli. The results fail to show a difference between subjects exposed to auditory and visual sample stimuli. Some reasons for the failure to note a difference are discussed.
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The Effects of Reinforcing Operant Variability on Task Acquisition

The Effects of Reinforcing Operant Variability on Task Acquisition

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Date: December 2002
Creator: Seymour, Kail H.
Description: Neuringer, Deiss, and Olson (2000) was replicated and extended to determine the effect of variability contingencies on task acquisition for twelve 7-9 year old children. Subjects first learned to press a computer's shift keys with increasing response variation. Each subject was then exposed to one of three experimental conditions during which they received a point for target responses. Variability condition subjects received additional points on a variable interval schedule for nontarget responses occurring less than 3% of the time. The any condition subjects received additional points on a variable interval schedule for any nontarget response. Control subjects received points only for target responses. All variability condition and two control subjects learned the target response. All any condition subjects and two control subjects did not.
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An Evaluation of the Effects of a Pay for Performance Plan on Productivity of Employees of a Professional Services Firm

An Evaluation of the Effects of a Pay for Performance Plan on Productivity of Employees of a Professional Services Firm

Date: December 2002
Creator: Porter, Melanie
Description: This study examined the effects of a productivity-indexed pay for performance plan in a professional services firm. The new plan was implemented after productivity decreased under an existing plan. Performance of staff and senior level accountants was analyzed across three departments under a three-year baseline and a two-year intervention period. Several measures of productivity indicated that the intervention was effective in improving production, especially for employees with full annual workloads. Percentage of salaries earned in incentives was comparable for both the baseline and intervention periods. Possible explanations for trends in the data, weaknesses in the plan, and implications for future research are also discussed.
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An 8-Step Program: Shaping and Fixed-Time Food Delivery Effects on Several Approximations and Undesired Responses in Goats.

An 8-Step Program: Shaping and Fixed-Time Food Delivery Effects on Several Approximations and Undesired Responses in Goats.

Date: May 2003
Creator: Fernandez, Eduardo J.
Description: This study investigated the effects of a shaping program for halter training across 8 steps in the program and 4 trial-terminating, or "undesirable," responses. Three La Mancha goats (Capra hircus) located at the Frank Buck Zoo in Gainesville, Texas were used for the study. A fixed-time 15 s (FT-15 s) was used during the baseline conditions, to examine the effects of response contingent and response-independent food deliveries, as well as to examine what preliminary steps might not necessarily have to be shaped. All 3 goats successfully learned to allow the halter to be placed on them and to lead on the halter, although 2 of the 3 goats required an additional task analysis for the fifth step to further break down that approximation. Several of the early steps selected by the researchers were not necessary to complete the program, as determined by the baseline condition.
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The Effects of Alternative Contingencies on Instruction Following.

The Effects of Alternative Contingencies on Instruction Following.

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Date: May 2003
Creator: Patti, Nicole
Description: The purpose of this experiment was to evaluate the effects of alternative contingencies on instruction following by an ABA design. Three college students consistently pressed keys 1-5-3 and 4-8-6 in the presence of the written instruction "Press 153" or "Press 486." During condition A, the contingencies for following and not following the instruction were the same: CON FR5 FR5 and CON FR20 FR20. During condition B, the contingencies for following and not following the instruction were different: CON FR20 FR5. For one participant, the schedule of reinforcement was then changed to FR30. The results showed that subjects followed instructions when the schedule of reinforcement was the same for instruction following and not following.
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The Effects of Biofeedback and Verbal Feedback on the Training and Maintenance of Diaphragmatic Breathing

The Effects of Biofeedback and Verbal Feedback on the Training and Maintenance of Diaphragmatic Breathing

Date: May 2003
Creator: Armstrong, Earl E.
Description: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a computer program on the training and maintenance of diaphragmatic breathing. The biofeedback portion was visual computer training and the results were displayed concurrently with participants' breathing responses to monitor display. The verbal feedback portion was praise that was given and recorded when participants responded with predominantly diaphragmatic breathing at the scheduled moment and response instruction that was given when participants responded with predominantly thoracic breathing. The results of this study indicate the computer program's effectiveness needs to be increased by supplementation with verbal feedback.
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The Effects of Monitoring and Incompatible Contingencies on Say/Do Correspondence.

The Effects of Monitoring and Incompatible Contingencies on Say/Do Correspondence.

Date: May 2003
Creator: Crye, Amy Arthur
Description: This study investigated effects of monitoring on correspondence between nonverbal responding and verbal descriptions of those contingencies, when verbal descriptions and contingencies were compatible and when incompatible. In the Nonverbal Component, the contingency for key pressing was either on a 0.8 s IRT or a 3.4 s IRT. In the Verbal Component, subjects made responses to a statement about the contingency for reinforcement in the Nonverbal Component. Shaping was used to establish targets of 0.8 s and 3.4 s in this component. Results indicated that across 7/8 opportunities subjects exhibited nonverbal and verbal behavior that was sensitive to their respective contingencies regardless of compatibility. This sensitivity to contingencies was not affected by the presence of a monitor.
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The Effects of Response Restriction on Non-Socially Maintained Self-Injury

The Effects of Response Restriction on Non-Socially Maintained Self-Injury

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Date: May 2003
Creator: Blevins, Travis
Description: This study examined the effects of response restriction (blocking and protective equipment) on subsequent durations of self-injury with two female participants with developmental disabilities. First, a functional analysis was conducted with each participant to identify potential maintaining variables of the self-injury. Second, access to the response was systematically restricted in a multiple schedule restriction paradigm. A baseline extended alone was conducted without the restriction component in place as a control condition. For one participant the results suggested that response restriction may have increased subsequent durations of responding once the restriction element was removed. For a second participant responding did not appear to be affected by the restriction component.
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A parametric analysis of the immediate and subsequent effects of response restriction on hand mouthing.

A parametric analysis of the immediate and subsequent effects of response restriction on hand mouthing.

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Date: May 2003
Creator: Soderlund, Michael J.
Description: The immediate and subsequent effects of different durations of response restriction were evaluated in a multiple schedule design. Response restriction components of 15, 30, and 60 minutes were conducted between 15 minute alone components. Levels of responding subsequent to the termination of response restriction procedures were compared to free operant levels prior to the implementation of response restriction. Responding during response restriction components reduced to near zero levels. Subsequent levels of responding were similar to or exceeded free operant baseline levels. Results are discussed in terms of potential operant mechanisms responsible for levels of responding subsequent to response restriction.
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Suppressive effects of a stimulus correlated with reprimands for automatically-maintained eye poking.

Suppressive effects of a stimulus correlated with reprimands for automatically-maintained eye poking.

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Date: May 2003
Creator: McKenzie, Scott Daniel
Description: A functional analysis, conducted to assess the variables maintaining the chronic eye poking of a female diagnosed with profound mental retardation, indicated that the behavior persisted in the absence of social contingencies. A procedure was initiated in a training environment in which a punisher (mild reprimand) was delivered contingent on eye poking in the presence, but not in the absence, of a neutral stimulus (wristbands). Using a combination of multiple baseline and multielement experimental designs, it was determined that that eye poking was suppressed in the presence of the previously neutral stimulus, even in environments in which the reprimand contingency was inoperative.
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Assessment of Resident and Staff Activity in a State Residential Setting

Assessment of Resident and Staff Activity in a State Residential Setting

Date: December 2003
Creator: Galletta, Katharine Lena
Description: Previous studies have demonstrated the use of momentary time-sampling methods for the objective measurement of naturally occurring events (Zarcone, Iwata, Rodgers & Vollmer, 1993; Shore, Lerman, Smith, Iwata & DeLeon, 1995). These studies have provided information about observed levels and characteristics of direct care services, supervision, resident activity and facility conditions. The present study evaluated the utility of these assessment procedures in a residential facility for developmentally delayed adults. The procedure was further evaluated for sensitivity to changes relative to an intervention designed to increase staff and client interaction. A multiple baseline design was used to assess a data collection procedure in the context of intervention in four residences on a state facility campus. Intervention included the use of scheduling, modeling and performance feedback. Results indicate an overall increase of staff and client interaction and demonstrate the utility of the assessment procedure for the evaluation of multiple, on-going activities as well as intervention effects.
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The Effects of a Remote Control Tactile Feedback System on Conversation Skills in Children with Autism.

The Effects of a Remote Control Tactile Feedback System on Conversation Skills in Children with Autism.

Date: December 2003
Creator: Shively, Jane M.
Description: A few studies have examined the effects of a remote control tactile device (RCT) as an unobtrusive prompting method used to promote skills such as verbal initiations and play behaviors in children with autism. To date, however, no published studies have investigated the effects of the RCT as a consequence to increase and maintain conversation skills. This study was designed to determine whether the RCT, in conjunction with common training techniques (i.e. roleplays, visual feedback, and sibling coaching), could be used as a discrete and unobtrusive feedback system to promote conversation skills in high functioning children with autism. Results found that the RCT and training packages were effective in initially increasing rates of target responses. The effects however, did not always maintain with a return to baseline. Programming "naturally" maintaining communities of reinforcement was found to be a critical factor in the maintenance of the conversational responses.
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The Effects of "Errorless" Training and Testing on the Performances of Typically Developing Children During Acquisition and Retention.

The Effects of "Errorless" Training and Testing on the Performances of Typically Developing Children During Acquisition and Retention.

Date: December 2003
Creator: Arnadottir, Iris
Description: This study examines the effects of two teaching procedures and two testing procedures (“Skip” and “Guess”) on acquisition, retention and generalization of learning. Three typically developing females between the ages of 8 and 11 learned the 24 lower case letters of the Greek alphabet. Half of the letters were taught with the “Skip” procedure and the other half with the “Guess” procedure. The “Skip” procedure produced faster and more efficient learning than the “Guess” procedure. The “Skip” procedure also resulted in better initial retention (4 weeks), but this effect disappeared in subsequent retention tests. The training conditions did not have differential effects on generalization tests across learning channels, except for the Free/Say channel.
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The Effects of Workshop Training and Coaching on the Acquisition and Generalization of Teaching Skills

The Effects of Workshop Training and Coaching on the Acquisition and Generalization of Teaching Skills

Date: December 2003
Creator: Almon, Holly C.
Description: The purpose of this study was threefold: (a) to examine the separate effects of increased accuracy on multiple-choice/rank-order written tests and coaching on the teaching performance of participants; (b) to compare generalization across tasks produced by the workshop and coaching; and (c) to assess maintenance of teaching performance. Following baseline, two adults received a lecture on discrete trial teaching procedures. A written test measured verbal performance on workshop material periodically throughout this phase. During the next phase, each adult then experienced further training via in-situ coaching. A multiple baseline design across tasks was used during the coaching phase. Results of the workshop training package revealed an inverse relationship between the strongest verbal performance and strongest teaching performance skill areas. In addition, only with the introduction of the in-situ coaching package did teacher performance improve significantly across all behaviors. Child responding remained relatively constant throughout the study, regardless of teacher performance. Some generalization of teacher behavior was observed across tasks, but was extremely variable across both workshop and coaching conditions. After the cessation of coaching, teacher performance remained stable across maintenance phases and at a 6-week follow-up.
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Teaching Children with Autism Three Different Questions

Teaching Children with Autism Three Different Questions

Date: December 2003
Creator: Cramer, Heather
Description: Children with autism often exhibit deficits in question-asking. This study replicated and extended Williams, Donley, and Keller.s (2000) training package: a modeling and reinforcement procedure to teach the use of 3 different questions about hidden objects. Two boys, aged 13 and 12, with primary diagnoses of autism, participated. A multiple baseline design across questions was used. Both children learned to ask all three questions: .What.s that?. .Can I see (item name)?. and .Can I have (item name)?. Question-asking generalized to novel locations, people, and stimulus materials with minimal additional training. These results support the efficacy of this training package as an efficient way to teach children with autism to ask questions about objects in their environment.
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