Results of a functional analysis indicated that the self-injurious behavior (SIB) of an adult female with profound mental retardation occurred primarily in the alone and demand conditions. Graphs of the separate topographies (head slaps and head bangs) showed that head banging occurred in the alone condition and that both head banging and head slapping occurred in the demand condition. A data analysis procedure to identify within-session trends across sessions and fluctuations in rates of SIB by topography revealed that most of the demands escaped were escaped by head slaps and that over 80% of all head slaps were associated with escape, compared to less than 1%of all head bangs, indicating that head banging and head slapping were members of separate functional response classes. Treatment consisted of noncontingent availability of preferred leisure materials, and produced substantial decreases of both head banging and head slapping. Interpretation of the results are discussed, as well as some implications and limitations of the study.
The object mouthing of a developmentally delayed 8-year-old girl was assessed and treated in a classroom setting. Two pretreatment assessments were conducted: A functional analysis indicated that object mouthing occurred across test conditions and persisted in the absence of social contingencies, and assessment of stimulus preference identified reinforcers to be used during treatments. Based on assessment outcomes, two treatments were implemented. Noncontingent sensory reinforcement was implemented during free-time and group activities, resulting in a 74.3% decrease in object mouthing across three settings. During one-on-one educational activities, presentation of academic task-trials at a high rate decreased object mouthing by 85.7%, relative to a condition in which tasks were presented at a slower rate.
Research shows that human operant behavior typically differs from non-human operant behavior on schedules of reinforcement. These differences in performance may be related to differences between the experimental preparations used to study human and non-human operant behavior. One such difference is the type of reinforcer used. This experiment analyzed the differential effects of points alone, points backed up by money, and sounds on schedule performance of human subjects. Results show that sounds generated moderate rates of responding, capable of change in either direction. When points backed up with money were the reinforcers, however, high rates of behavior were generated, disrupting the previously established baseline performance. This suggests that while points may be effective in generating high rates of behavior, they may be ineffective in producing sensitive baselines needed to study human operant behavior on schedules of reinforcement.
This study evaluated whether therapist terminations of social interactions would decrease social terminations and increase social initiations during play activities with a child with autism. The assessment took place in two conditions. The first condition, instructed involved social interactions with instructions delivered, and the second, uninstructed, involved social interactions without instructions delivered. These conditions were analyzed with a multiple baseline across-conditions design. Interaction duration, initiations, instructions, and child terminations were recorded. This study showed that the therapist-removal procedure resulted in a complete decrease in child terminations, and an increase in the number of initiations and the duration of the child-therapist interactions during the uninstructed condition. Similar effects were seen in the instructed condition, but to a lesser degree.
This study was a follow up to P. C. Dams' (1996) unpublished University of North Texas masters thesis, The effect of defect probability during training on inspection accuracy in a quality control simulation. Graphics of computer circuit boards were presented in dyads with an error free sample on the left and a comparison on the right. Comparisons had either a rotation or transposition defect, or were error free. Subjects had 10-s to accept or reject the comparison as identical to the sample. They were trained using two different stimulus fading procedures (using descending defect probabilities) and immediate feedback. Defect probabilities for the Tens were 0.60, 0.50, 0.40, and 0.30 and for the Twenties were 1.00, 0.80, 0.60, and 0.40. The last 4 pretraining and posttraining sessions were compared and the posttraining performance of the Twenties, as compared to the Tens, demonstrated greater improvement over pretraining performance. No firm conclusions could be drawn as to the effectiveness of either training procedure. The significance of the current investigation and suggestions for future research are discussed.
A 4-year old child with autism was taught to make a social initiation statement following a remote-controlled tactile prompt (RCT). The RCT prompt was taught by using a time-delay procedure with written script cards containing initiation statements. Training trials occurred in 6 different play locations in the child's room. Restricted Trial training consisted of allowing the child to play independently, activating the RCT prompt and playing with the child based on any initiation until a warning to end was given. In Free Play training, the warning to end the activity was removed. The child's initiation statements increased from 0 in baseline, to spontaneous initiations in 100% of the trials in all training and generalization phases. The number of words in an initiation statement increased from 3 to 25 per trial. Spontaneous initiations in the No RCT phase generalized to the child's mother without training.
In the present experiment, a remote control tactile prompting device (RCT) was utilized to prompt a child with autism to recruit teacher models and play suggestions. A multiple baseline and reversal was used to assess the effects of the RCT across three play contexts. The results showed increases in the number of requests for models and suggestions as well as increases in the duration of interactive play between the child and therapist, the number of contextual statements emitted by the child, and the topography and contexts of the play behaviors emitted by the child. Findings are discussed in terms of the effectiveness and generality of the RCT and the issue of teaching a child to recruit versus teaching a child activity-specific behaviors.
The purpose of this study was to analyze the effects of (1) training the accurate completion of an assignment form, (2) providing feedback on accurate reporting of homework completion, and (3) consequences for completion or non-completion of homework. All students exhibited highly accurate recording of information on assignment forms and reports of what homework had been completed or not completed. Delivering consequences for completion or non-completion of assignments had a modest effect on homework completion. This package increased the proportion of homework assignments completed on time for all students in at least one, or as many as three, academic subjects. This package can be an efficient tool for teachers to monitor homework completion.
Teachers providing treatment to children with autism are responsible for implementing numerous procedures. Teacher training has not been addressed extensively in the literature. This study employed a multiple baseline design to evaluate the effects of a training package incorporating modeling, roleplaying and feedback on teacher performance. Results indicated that the teacher implemented correct teaching episodes following training. Changes in teacher performance were only observed when the training package was applied to each setting and skill area. As a result of changes in teacher behavior, the child demonstrated an increase in the number of desired responses. Results are discussed in the context of generalization, training package components, cost-benefit of single-subject designs, and limitations of the study.
This study examined effects of two response acquisition procedures on topography of responding using the revealed operant technique and compared results to previous experiments on this topic. Subjects emitted 100 repetitions each of 4 response patterns on a continuous schedule of reinforcement. A 30-min extinction condition followed acquisition. One group of subjects learned the first response through a series of shaping steps designed to reduce acquisition variability. Another group of subjects was instructed in the correct response topography and was told there was no penalty for attempting other sequences. The first group of subjects produced high variability during extinction despite reduced variability in acquisition. The second group of subjects responded with moderate to high variability during extinction and little variability during acquisition. Most extinction responses for the first group were variations of the last pattern reinforced. Most extinction responses for the second group were repetitions of the last pattern reinforced.
Behavioral economics is the integration of concepts from micro-economics into behavior analysis. Most of the research in behavioral economics has been done with non-human subjects and with drugs as reinforcers. This study represents an extension of previous research to assess money as a reinforcer with humans as subjects. The participants in this study solved math problems to earn money at various unit prices. Results indicate that demand of money adhered to the law of demand in that consumption decreased as unit prices increased. An underlying assumption is that consumption should be equivalent at different compositions of unit price. Replications of either the same or different compositions of unit price indicated that there were some discrepancies in consumption in this study.
Using the "revealed operant" technique, variability during acquisition and extinction was examined with measures of response rate and a detailed analysis of response topography. During acquisition, subjects learned to emit four response patterns. A continuous schedule of reinforcement (CRF) for 100 repetitions was used for each pattern and a 30 min extinction phase immediately followed. One group of subjects learned the response patterns via a "trial-and-error" method. This resulted in a wide range of variability during acquisition and extinction. Only one subject emitted a substantial amount of resurgent behavior. A second group of subjects was given instructions on what keys to press to earn reinforcers. This group had less variability in acquisition and extinction and resurgent responding was prevalent.
Outcomes of experimental analyses during which protective equipment (PE) was placed on three participants were compared to those during which PE was not provided to them. Experimental analysis conditions were presented using a multielement format, and the effects of PE were evaluated using a withdrawal design. Results of experimental analysis without PE suggested that self-injurious behavior (SIB) was maintained by negative reinforcement for two participants and nonsocial mechanisms for the third participant. However, SIB was eliminated either immediately or eventually for all participants when PE was provided during experimental analysis. Thus, outcomes of assessments with PE did not match those without PE, and no conclusion about variables associated with SIB could be drawn from experimental analyses with PE alone. Therefore, the present findings do not support the use of PE as an alternative to standard methods for conducting experimental analysis (i.e., without PE).
The main and side effects of extinction were evaluated in a multiple baseline design across the problem behaviors of two elementary school boys. For each subject, functional analysis procedures resulted in the occurrence and assessment of only one of several problem behaviors reported by teachers. Extinction treatment based on functional analysis outcomes was then applied to the assessed topography and resulted in the emergence of other inappropriate response forms. Each successive behavior was exposed to extinction and changes in previous and subsequent response forms were observed. Both main effects and indirect effects of extinction were examined. Findings are discussed regarding the covariation of responses and implications for the treatment of behavior disorders in applied settings.
Copying prompts with subsequent unprompted practice produced better learning of simple discriminations than feedback only of a correct response without subsequent practice. The Copy condition promoted faster acquisition of accurate performance for all subjects, and shorter response latencies and durations for 3 of 4 subjects. The data support the findings of Barbetta, Heron, and Heward, 1993 as well as Drevno, Kimball, Possi, Heward, Garner III, and Barbetta, 1994. The author proposes that response repertoires are most valuable if easily reacquired at times after original learning. Thus, reacquisition performance data are emphasized. The data suggest that discriminations acquired by copying prompts may result in useful repertoires if a practice procedure is used which facilitates transfer of stimulus control from a formal prompt to a naturally occurring stimulus.
Electrodermal responding (EDR) and heart rate (HR) were assessed for seven subjects participating in a reaction time task consequated with monetary bonuses (250, 100, and 10), monetary penalties (250,100, and 10), and a monetary neutral value (00). Unlike previous research employing group designs and a tonic measure (i.e., mean over long periods of time), this study utilized a single-subject design and a phasic measure (i.e., mean over 2-s intervals). Heart rate data was too variable for meaningful analysis. EDR data showed that the peak levels of EDR were higher for penalties than for the corresponding values of bonuses (e.g., -250 vs. +250) for most subjects. Similarly, peak levels of EDR were generally higher during sessions in which consequences were presented than in sessions during which consequences were absent.
A 5-year-old child with autism was taught to: (a) ask "What is that?" in the presence of unknown objects and (b) name the objects he did know. Generalization in the presence of the experimenter was probed across four new tasks. The child's performance generalized to the first 3 tasks without additional training. The fourth task required programming of common stimuli before generalization occurred.
The role of point loss for symmetrical relations introduced simultaneously with probe trials in the absence of original relations on all probe trial performances was evaluated. Training was completed after six conditional discriminations were established in two contexts. Point loss was introduced simultaneously with probe trials in the absence of original relations in the first context. Probe trials with no point loss in the absence of original relations were introduced in the second context. The simultaneous introduction of probe trials and the point loss contingency may in some cases prevent the emergence of an equivalence class in the context that contained the point loss as well as in the context where no point loss occurred.
Fluent component performances may be more readily available for recombination into more complex repertoires. This experiment considered the stimulus equivalence preparation as a laboratory analog for the co-adduction said to occur in generative instruction. Seven adults received minimum training on 18 conditional discriminations, components of 9 potential stimulus equivalence classes. Training was interrupted periodically with tests to determine whether fluency of original relations predicted emergence of derived relations. Fluency predicted emergence in 2 of 17 instances of emergent derived relations for 4 subjects. One subject demonstrated fluency without derived relations. Training accuracies as low as 58% preceded emergence for 3 subjects. Fluency appears to be neither necessary nor sufficient for derived relations. Fluency's role may be in retention and complex application tasks rather than acquisition of behavioral relations.
The conditional control of equivalence has received much attention in the analysis of verbal behavior. While previous research identified conditional control of relational responding and conditional control of equivalence class formation, this study investigated the possibility of conditional control of members of an equivalence class. Following baseline conditional discrimination training and equivalence testing, subjects were taught to select a particular member in the presence of a Green background screen and another member in the presence of a Red background screen.
The purpose of this study was to determine the optimal form and timing of feedback to establish a "new" behavior. It examined the relative effectiveness of delivering a corrective feedback immediately before the learner responds to a previously incorrect trial as compared to delivering a corrective feedback immediately after the incorrect response is made. Corrective feedback delivered immediately before the next opportunity to respond produced better learning than corrective feedback delivered immediately after a response. The Feedback Before condition decreased errors during training and increased acquisition rates. Results also indicated an interaction between time of feedback delivery and the complexity of the task. As the task complexity increased, the results were more dramatic in favor of the Feedback Before condition.
Four college student subjects were trained to match graphic figures (A stimuli) to other figures (B stimuli), and then to match the B figures to numerals (C stimuli). Then in a test of application subjects answered simple math problems, presented as novel sample stimuli, by selecting one of the A figures, presented as comparisons. The application test was an analog for the academic task of answering math problems with newly learned Spanish number names. Three subjects performed accurately in the application test, which required the emergence of CA equivalence. All subjects demonstrated equivalence in test sessions after the application test. The study examined whether accuracy, fluency (rate of correct responding), practice, or stability of original relations performance corresponded to test accuracy. Accuracy, fluency, practice and stability corresponded to test accuracy for two subjects. Fluency corresponded to test accuracy for one subject, and stability corresponded to test accuracy for another subject.