UNT Theses and Dissertations - 290 Matching Results

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Teaching Observational Learning to Children with Autism: An In-vivo and Video-Model Assessment

Description: Observational learning (OL) occurs when an individual contacts reinforcement as a direct result of discriminating the observed consequences of other individuals' responses. Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may have deficits in observational learning and previous research has demonstrated that teaching a series of prerequisite skills (i.e., attending, imitation, delayed imitation, and consequence discrimination) can result in observational learning. We sequentially taught these prerequisite skills for three young children with ASD across three play-based tasks. We assessed the direct and indirect effects of training by assessing OL before and after instruction across tasks and task variations (for two participants) during both in-vivo and video-model probes using a concurrent multiple-probe design. All participants acquired the prerequisite skills and demonstrated observational learning during probes of directly-trained tasks. Generalization results varied across participants. Observational learning generalized to one untrained task for one participant. For the other two participants, observational learning generalized to variations of the trained tasks but not to untrained tasks. Generalization additionally occurred during the in-vivo probes for both participants for whom we assessed this response. Implications of these findings, as well as directions for future research, are discussed.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Sansing, Elizabeth M
Partner: UNT Libraries

Using Concurrent Schedules of Reinforcement to Decrease Behavior

Description: We manipulated delay and magnitude of reinforcers in two concurrent schedules of reinforcement to decrease a prevalent behavior while increasing another behavior already in the participant's repertoire. The first experiment manipulated delay, implementing a five second delay between the behavior and delivery of reinforcement for a behavior targeted for decrease while no delay was implemented after the behavior targeted for increase. The second experiment manipulated magnitude, providing one piece of food for the behavior targeted for decrease while two pieces of food were provided for the behavior targeted for increase. The experiments used an ABAB reversal design. Results suggest that behavior can be decreased without the use of extinction when contingencies favor the desirable behavior.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Palmer, Ashlyn
Partner: UNT Libraries

Evaluation of a Behavior Skills Package to Teach Caregivers to Manage Disruptive Behavior during Medical and Dental Appointments

Description: Adults with developmental disabilities that live in large residential settings experience complications due to problem behavior when attending routine medical/dental appointments. This may result in sedation for clients for even the most routine medical/dental appointments. The purpose of this project was to develop a comprehensive staff training program that incorporated best practices to teach direct-support professionals behavior management techniques and best practices for transporting clients to and from routine medical/dental appointments. 4 direct-support professionals at a large residential care facility participated in this project. Multiple probes were conducted utilizing standard role-play exercises to evaluate caregiver acquisition of 16 specific skills related to client information, best practices for client transport, and behavior management. The results indicated that behavior skills training (BST) resulted in caregiver acquisition of all 16 skills during role-play exercises.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Kinser, Joshua Andrew
Partner: UNT Libraries

When to Say It: Establishing a Verbal Cue

Description: Dog trainers sometimes teach verbal cues by saying the cue as the dog is performing the desired behavior. However, there is disagreement about when to say the cue. In this study, a pet dog was trained to go to three different apparatus, the cue for each of which was given at a different time, in a multi-element design. The cue "hoop" was given just as the dog began to move to the hoop apparatus. The cue "carrier" was given as the dog was stepping into the carrier apparatus. The cue "platform" was given after the dog was sitting on the platform apparatus. To test if the dog had learned the cues, the trainer had the dog sit and gave the cue. During testing, if only the correct apparatus was present, the dog responded to all three cues. However, when all three apparatus were present, the dog only responded correctly to the "hoop" cue. This suggests that giving the cue just as the learner is beginning to perform the desired behavior is the most effective teaching method.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Rulla, Emily
Partner: UNT Libraries

Musical Training through Operant Selection

Description: Language is a cultural construct, and the relationship between words is taught. Priming research has long investigated the relationship between related and unrelated words. Similar research has been seen in music relationships, but most of these investigate harmonic relations despite the melodic relationship being the one listeners are mostly likely to describe. Further, these studies typically measure existing relationships and do not attempt to teach a new relationship, nothing that most adults are experienced musical listeners. This study seeks to establish a new melodic relationship (the enigmatic Scale) in addition to a familiar one (the major Scale) while measuring response time to the musical sequences. A baseline was conducted in which participants listened to a musical sequence and selected via response box if the final note is consonant (major Scale) or dissonant (enigmatic Scale). Following baseline a training section occurred in which participants heard sequences ranging from 2-7 notes and were provided feedback for correct and incorrect responses. Following completion of the training participants completed a post-test identical to baseline. Behavioral results are discussed in relation to Palmer's (2009) concept of the repertoire.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Vail, Kimberly Gail
Partner: UNT Libraries

Teaching Behavior Professionals to Use the Interview-Informed Synthesized Contingency Analysis (IISCA): A Preliminary Investigation

Description: We assessed the implementation accuracy and fidelity of two board certified behavior analysts (BCBAs) using the open-ended interview from Hanley. Participants interviewed a confederate using the open-ended interview, and were then asked to use information gathered from the interview to create operational definitions of target behaviors as well as test and control condition procedures for a subsequent matched test-control functional analysis as is characteristic of the interview-informed synthesized contingency analysis (IISCA) strategy. Brief behavioral skills training (BST) was then implemented with all participants to increase the accuracy of constructing both target behavior definitions and functional analysis procedures. Preliminary results show moderate rates of accuracy of target behavior definitions and functional analysis procedures prior to BST, and high rates of accuracy following BST. The results also suggest high implementation fidelity on the open-ended interview may not be necessary to achieve high accuracy when constructing target behavior definitions and functional analysis procedures.
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Date: August 2017
Creator: Metras, Rachel
Partner: UNT Libraries

Increasing Problem Solving in a Special Education Class by Teaching Talk Aloud Problem Solving (TAPS)

Description: Although there is extensive research demonstrating the benefits of teaching problem solving repertoires to typically developing individuals, there is little research on the effectiveness of these kinds of procedures with individuals with special needs. In this study, a group of special education students in a public school were taught problem solving skills using a curriculum called Talk Aloud Problem Solving (TAPS), which was developed by Robbins (2014). TAPS teaches students five problem solving skills and five active listening skills. This study utilized a multiple baseline design to examine whether training in TAPS would change the way that students solve problems and increase their accuracy when solving problems. In addition, a reversal design was used for each participant, consisting of the presence and the removal of the active listener during different stages of the study. After TAPS training and guided practice sessions, all students demonstrated new problem solving repertoires and their accuracy improved. For some students, having an audience (an active listener) was necessary to maintain their behavior. Further research is needed to determine how to teach students to be their own active listener.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Will, Sean
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Preliminary Evaluation of an Indirect Assessment of Sensitivity to Aversive Stimulation

Description: Aversive tasks and activities are commonly encountered in the everyday routines of most individuals. For individuals with intellectual disabilities, a means to assess individual sensitivities to aversive stimulation could allow caregivers to avoid unnecessary contact with aversive events, teach appropriate ways to avoid or escape aversive situations, and condition tolerance to unavoidable aversive tasks and activities. The current study, conducted at a large, state-operated residential facility for adults with intellectual disabilities, used an anecdotal assessment, the Sensitivities to Aversive Stimulation Survey (SASS), to evaluate the relative aversiveness of an array of commonly encountered tasks and activities for each participant. Five caregivers complete the 25-question assessment, using Likert-type scales to rate individual participants' affect, compliance or tolerance, and severity of problem behavior related to each item. The mean scores of the raters were used to estimate the aversiveness of each task, condition, or activity. The outcomes from the SASS were then compared with outcomes of an experimental analysis in which participants could emit responses to escape situations that were ranked either high or low using the SASS. Relative aversiveness was evaluated by comparing the percentage of trials with escape behavior and duration of exposure for each stimulus. Preliminary results indicate that the SASS may be useful in identifying aversive tasks and stimuli.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Hope, Mariah L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Engagement Bout Analysis of the Effects of Effort

Description: Operant response rate can be viewed as bouts, periods of alternating engagement and disengagement with ongoing schedules of reinforcement. Relatively few studies have examined the role of force and effort on engagement bouts. Moreover, those examining effort have used switch closure devices to define the response. Switch closures tend to overestimate the effect of effort because increasing the force requirement excludes low-force responses that previously activated the switch. In the present study, we examined the effects of effort using a force transducer, which allows us to record criterion responses that meet the force requirement and subcriterion responses that do not. The current study was conducted using four male Sprague Dawley rats. Each rat was run through a series of four conditions, each with a different combination of variable interval schedules (VI 30s, VI 120s) and force requirements (5.6g, 32g). Log survivor analyses of bout structure showed that increased force requirements decreased the rate of bout initiations. Additionally, when log-survivor functions were computed using only criterion responses, shifts in the function were less extreme than when all measured responses were used; the latter finding suggests exclusion of "subcriterion" responses in prior work has overestimated the effects of force on bout structure
Date: August 2017
Creator: Moore, Alyssa Nicole
Partner: UNT Libraries

Development and Validation of Measures of Generalization of a Behavior Management Package

Description: In order for the benefits of a behavior management skills training program to reach clients, caregivers must use the behavior management skills in the natural environment. The current study took place at a large residential facility for adults with disabilities, in which caregivers had received prior training in which they demonstrated behavior management skills and maintained those skills in contrived role plays. The current study represents a preliminary analysis of generalization of these skills in the natural environment; thus, a measurement system for when caregivers should demonstrate the tools was developed. The specific purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate a program to establish stimulus control over observers' measurement of appropriate behaviors. Researchers systematically developed and validated a measurement system of "good behaviors" that could be used across clients. The process of development and refinement of the measurement system is described. When the system was finalized, three observers' accuracy in using the system was assessed by comparing measured values to that of the code writer. Following feedback on individual instances of behavior, all observers scored the three target behaviors accurately. Ecological validity was assessed by surveying professionals at the facility and ecological validity results suggested a valid measurement system was developed.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Speckin, Lauren Marie
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Conjugate Arrangement for Measuring Commercial Viewing

Description: Commercial viewing was measured by a conjugate arrangement for 1 female and 3 male participants. Reinforcing qualities were evaluated according to screen variations and ratings. Subjects changed the screen clarity via knob pressing either making the screen more or less transparent, translucent or opaque based on commercial interest. Results were conducive to participant attentiveness or indifference to commercial viewing. Experimenter was able to identify the commercials that grasped and maintained the participants' viewing behavior. Conceptually this conjugate arrangement could enhance eye tracking technology to improve marketing and advertising strategies. This experiment yield results that suggest a more concrete analysis of consumer response to visual stimuli that maintains attending.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Morgan, Amber
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Decision-Making Model for Safe and Effective Use of Functional Analysis Procedures

Description: While functional analysis provides the standard methodology for the assessment of problem behavior, procedures still pose potential risk when assessing severe problem behavior. Previous studies have examined several strategies to improve the efficiency of and reduce risks related to the functional analysis process. The purpose of the present series of studies was to replicate and extend previous research on the assessment and treatment of severe problem behavior for one participant diagnosed with an intellectual disability. By incorporating strategies within a systematic decision-making framework, functional analysis procedures were implemented to conduct the assessment of precursors, determine maintaining contingencies for severe problem behavior, and evaluate the effects of a treatment based on the results of a functional analysis.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Vega, Gabrielle M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Reinforcing Variability Produces Stereotypic Behavior

Description: Behaving in novel ways is essential to the development of the types of complex performances described by the term creativity, problem solving, and perseverance. Some research suggests that response variability is an operant and a critical component of novel behavior. However, other account of novel behavior may be more parsimonious. Topographical variability has rarely been examined, nor has operant variability with organisms with baselines featuring stereotypic responding. This study examined the effects of a variability-specifying contingency on the cumulative novel responses of undergraduate students. Using the PORTL apparatus, participants interacted with a ball with a single hand. When the variability-specifying contingency was in effect, novel topographies were reinforced. When a reinforce every response condition was implemented, the participants did not emit any novel responses. When variability-specifying contingencies were in effect, novel responses were rarely followed by subsequent novel responses. They were mostly followed by repeated emission of the same topography, or by other previously emitted topographies. Novel responding did not persist long, although the variability-specifying contingency remained in effect and the potential for novel responding was great. The variability-specifying contingency often resulted in stereotypic response chains. Each of these findings call into the question the assertion that variability is an operant and suggests other possible explanations for the observed novelty.
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Date: May 2017
Creator: Kieta, Andrew
Partner: UNT Libraries

Improving Staff Tutoring in a Special Education Class Through Active Listening Skills

Description: According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 2015, Texas special education programs were rated among the lowest in the nation. School districts in the state have a substantial need for effective and efficient staff training. In this study, researchers implemented TAPS: A Talk Aloud Problem Solving Approach Packet to teach active listener qualities to staff members in a life skills special education classroom. A multiple baseline across staff members was used to evaluate the effects of the TAPS training on the presence and absence of the staff members' active listener qualities during a pre-test, a post-test, and probes. The staff members that underwent TAPS training acquired all of the active listener qualities as a function of the TAPS training, and the effects of the training maintained during probe sessions. Additionally, TAPS training appeared to improve staff members' scores on the Whimbey Analytical Skills Inventory (WASI) Test and anecdotally improved the quality of staff and student tutoring interactions. Several areas of potential research and improvement are discussed.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Neri-Hernandez, Lucero
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Comparative Evaluation of Matrix Training Arrangements

Description: A common goal of instructional techniques is to teach skills effectively and efficiently. Matrix training techniques are both effective and efficient as they allow for the emergence of untrained responding to novel stimulus arrangements, a phenomenon known as recombinative generalization. However, it is unclear which type of matrix arrangement best promotes 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. We conducted a replication evaluation of a Wilshire and Toussaint study, and taught two typically-developing preschoolers compound object-action labels in Spanish and used either an OV or NOV matrix training design. Results from both studies demonstrated the participant trained with an OV design produced recombinative generalization and participants trained with a NOV design produced significantly low levels of emergence or none at all. These results suggest that an OV matrix design facilitates recombinative generalization more effectively than a NOV design. Implications for instructional arrangements are discussed.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Cliett, Terra N
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Constructional Approach to Establishing and Maintaining Calm Canine Behavior

Description: Very few behavior-change programs with canines produce effects that persist beyond the training condition. The present study is an experimental demonstration of a constructional program that established calm patterns of behavior as alternatives to hyperactive ones. Three dogs that exhibited hyperactive patterns were chosen as subjects. Seven conditions common to canine-caretaker relationships were used to determine which factors resulted in the hyperactive patterns. Then, sitting and lying down were taught as beginning points using touch as a reinforcer. The final behavior, maintained by naturally occurring reinforcers, was established errorlessly. The study used a control-analysis strategy of behavior change with a changing-criterion design. The intervention resulted in an immediate reduction in hyperactivity and an increase in sitting and lying down for all dogs.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Owens, Chase
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Evaluation of Interactive Computer Training to Teach Discrete Trial and Naturalistic Instruction to Novice Therapists

Description: Effective and efficient training strategies are needed to provide training to novel therapists whom provide early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) services to young children with autism. We evaluated the effects of interactive computer-based training (ICT) on novice therapists' implementation of two, common EIBI instructional techniques: discrete-trial instruction (DTI) and naturalistic instruction. Results demonstrated that ICT improved trainees' instructional fidelity during role-plays with a confederate for DTI instruction and also with a child with autism for both DTI and naturalistic instruction. As a result, the requirement for supervisor feedback on performance was minimized. In addition, results suggest that child language improved as a result of improved therapist performance.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Nielsen, Olivia
Partner: UNT Libraries

Evaluation of Agreement among Respondents to Anecdotal Assessments and Correspondence between Anecdotal and Experimental Analysis Outcomes

Description: Study 1 evaluated agreement among five respondents using the Functional Analysis Screening Tool (FAST), the Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS) and Questions About Behavioral Function (QABF). Respondents provided ratings for 20 target behaviors exhibited by 10 individuals. At least 4/5 raters agreed on the primary maintaining variable in 80% of cases with the FAST, 70% of cases with the MAS, and 55% of cases with the QABF. Study 2 evaluated correspondence between results of anecdotal assessments and experimental functional analysis for 10 target behaviors selected from Study 1. Correspondence between the experimental functional analyses was 60% with the FAST and the MAS, 50% with the QABF.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Frusha, Caroline J.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Creating a Verbal Community for Describing Emotional Responses within a Contingency Lens: The Effects of a Brief Training Workshop

Description: Observing emotional responses is recognized as a valuable clinical skill in a variety of professions, including applied behavior analysis. Emotional responses can flag possible contingencies thereby guiding a behavior analyst to better select valid measures, goals, and procedures. Additionally, emotional responses can be goals in and of themselves. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effects of a workshop on the observation and description of emotional responses by behavior analysts-in-training. The procedures included instructions, modeling, practice, discussion and feedback. The workshop included a blend of trainer presentation and interteaching strategies. The effects of the workshop were evaluated using a single-subject A-B design with multiple probe measures across four students. During probe assessments participants watched short video clips of family interactions and wrote a descriptive narrative in response to several questions. This created a permanent record for quantitative evaluation and analysis. The study resulted in an increase in the number of descriptions of emotional responses among all participants. The participants also increased responses tying the emotional response to external environmental events more often in the post-workshop assessment than the pre-workshop assessment. Results are discussed within the context of training applied behavior analysts, the analysis of verbal behavior, and the role of emotions in clinical practice.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Garden, Regan E.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effects of Feedback Timing when Teaching a New Task to Children with Autism

Description: The purpose of this experiment was to investigate Tosti's proposal about the timing of feedback. The study examined whether it is better to correct immediately after the error occurs or whether it is better to wait until immediately before the next opportunity to respond. In addition, it aimed to determine whether corrections delivered at different times produced different learner affects. Four children with autism were taught to label two sets of pictures under the two different conditions. Results showed that the timing of the feedback yields similar results in regards to number of correct responses and total trial count. However, in regards to time spent in teaching and learner affect, correcting errors before the next opportunity to respond showed to be the more efficient procedure and produced more favorable affect.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Cochrane, Angela
Partner: UNT Libraries

Can Observing Behavior Predict Performance in Conditional Discriminations?

Description: Prompts are implemented often in training procedures, to include conditional discriminations, and this can lead to prompt dependency. The current study extends a prior study that suggested that the effectiveness of supplementary visual stimuli displaying the sample and comparison was dependent on the timing in relation to the selection task, presented as a prompt or feedback, in a match-to-sample procedure. The current research examines if the differences in that effectiveness were due to differences in observing behavior in those two conditions. Measures of observing behavior were determined by making access to the individual visual stimuli contingent on clicking on the visual stimulus and keeping the cursor located on the stimulus. Participants viewed the sample comparison much less than the comparison stimulus in both the prompt and feedback conditions. Latency to select the comparison stimulus was much shorter for the prompt condition suggesting that the participants might have interacted differently with the selection task in the two conditions.
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Date: December 2016
Creator: Marchini, Kevin Julian
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Evaluation of the Effects of Effort on Resistance to Change

Description: Behavioral momentum theory (BMT) has become a prominent method of studying the effects of reinforcement on operant behavior. BMT represents a departure from the Skinnerian tradition in that it identifies the strength of responding with its resistance to change. Like in many other operant research paradigms, however, responses are considered to be momentary phenomena and so little attention has been paid to non-rate dimensions of responding. The current study takes up the question of whether or not the degree of effort defining a discriminated operant class has any meaningful effect on its resistance to change. Using a force transducer, rats responded on a two-component multiple VI 60-s VI 60-s schedule where each component was correlated with a different force requirement. Resistance to change was tested through prefeeding and extinction. Proportional declines in response rate were equal across components during all disruption tests. Differentiated response classes remained intact throughout. The negative result suggests several future research directions.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Foss, Erica K
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Evaluation of Correspondence between Preference and Performance under a Progressive Ration Schedule with College Students

Description: Preference assessments are used in clinical settings to identify stimuli with reinforcing potential. The progressive-ratio schedule has shown to be useful in clinical assessments in identifying stimuli with stronger reinforcer efficacy that corresponds to formalized assessments.The current study utilized a progressive-ratio schedule to compare videos of high and low preference assessed by verbal reports of preference with college students. Results indicated breakpoints were higher for high preferred videos than low preferred videos for three out of five participants, but preference was not indicative of performance.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Johnson, Jamarious
Partner: UNT Libraries

Teaching Water Safety Skills to Children with Autism Using Behavioral Skills Training

Description: Behavioral skills training (BST) and in situ training (IST) have been evaluated as methods to teach different safety skills to individuals with developmental disabilities. Research on BST has examined topics such as gun safety, abduction prevention, poison avoidance, and sexual abuse prevention. A large safety issue that is missing from the literature is drowning prevention and water safety skills. Drowning is one of the most prevalent issues facing facing children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), particularly those who elope from their homes or caregivers. The current study aimed the effectiveness of using BST+IST to teach three water safety skills to three children with ASD. The intial form of intervention was BST with total task presentation of the skill, using verbal instruction, modeling, rehearsal, and feedback. If this intervention did not result in an increase in performance, the skill was broken down into individual component presentation, in which each component of the skill was taught using the same procedures. Results from the current study showed that BST+IST was effective in teaching all skills to all participants.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Tucker, Marilyse
Partner: UNT Libraries