UNT Theses and Dissertations - Browse

Acceptability of Behavioral Interventions for Autism
Caregivers' evaluation of evidence-based behavioral interventions may differ dependent upon the type of language used to describe the intervention. We administered a survey to 24 parents of children with autism to assess social validity measures of behavioral interventions described in one of three communication styles: technical, conversational, and conversational with intended outcome. Participants were presented with a description of two behavior-reduction and two behavior-acquisition interventions. Overall, interventions described in conversational with intended outcome style received the highest social validity ratings, while interventions described in the technical style received the lowest ratings. Moreover, behavior-acquisition interventions were rated significantly higher than behavior-reduction interventions when described in either conversational or conversational with intended outcome style. The current study supports the requirements of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board's Compliance Code that behavior analysts should inform the client/consumer of the treatment/interventions in an understandable language. Findings are also discussed in terms of verbal communities.
An Analysis of Interrater Agreement Between the Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS), Questions About Behavioral Function (QABF), and Analog Assessment Outcomes
An analysis of interrater agreement across multiple respondents on anecdotal assessments was compared with experimental functional analysis outcomes for correspondence. Experiment 1 evaluated the agreement of multiple respondents on the function of problem behavior for 22 individuals across 42 target behaviors using the Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS) and the Questions About Behavioral Function (QABF). Results showed agreement on the primary maintaining consequence for 4 or 5 of the 5 respondents in 52% (22/42) of the individual's target behaviors with the MAS and 57% (24/42) with the QABF. Experiment 2 examined whether correspondence occurred between the anecdotal assessment results and experimental functional analysis (EFA) results for 7 individuals selected from Experiment 1. Correspondence between the QABF assessment and the EFA was found for 6 of 7 participants, and 4 of the 7 showed correspondence between the EFA and the MAS. This study showed that the QABF had higher correspondence with analog assessments than the MAS thus, supporting the previous findings of Paclawskyj et al. (2001).
An Analysis of the Value-altering Effect of Motivating Operations
Motivating operations (MOs) may affect behavior in two ways; A) an MO momentarily alters the frequency of behavior for which a particular consequence has served as reinforcement (evocative-effect) and B) an MO momentarily alters the behavioral effects of the relevant consequence (value-altering effect). Many studies have empirically demonstrated the evocative function of MOs, however, few if any studies have attempted to systematically manipulate and measure the value-altering effect. The focus of this study was to investigate the value-altering effect by measuring choice and response allocation across two alternative tasks. Participants were two female girls diagnosed with autism. During conditioning sessions, experimenters created a history for the children in which clicking on a moving square on a computer monitor produced a small piece of edible. Prior to some conditions, the participants were allowed 5 min of free-access to the edibles, and in other sessions, access to edibles prior to session was restricted. During these sessions, the square was either red or blue depending on the condition type (pre-access or restricted-access). During probe sessions, both colored squares were concurrently available and participants were allowed to allocate their responding to whichever square they chose. One participant preferred the square associated with restricted-access, which may support the notion of the value-altering effect. Difficulties during conditioning sessions interfered with the ability to run sufficient probes with the other participant to evaluate a value-altering effect. Results suggest that the use of these procedures may be useful to differentiate evocative and function-altering effects of MOs.
Analyzing Contingencies of Behavioral and Cultural Selection
A choice paradigm was used to evaluate allocation of interlocking behavior of two groups of two participants between responses having operant consequences only and responses having cultural consequences. In a discrete trial BABABAB design, each participant could select one of three options, which delivered either 3 or 5 points. In B (cultural consequence) conditions, two of the options had additional effects: the 3-point option also added 3 points to the other participant's earnings, and one of the 5-point options also subtracted 5 points from the other participant's earnings. The third option was unchanged in both conditions and delivered 5 points to the participant who selected it. Results indicated that participants in both groups initially frequently produced response combinations that earned 8 points for one or the other individual (and 0 or 3 points for the other), but allocation of responding increasingly changed to combinations that produced 6 points for each individual. This shift in performances away from maximum individual reinforcement towards maximum group reinforcement indicates cultural contingencies did not act in concert with operant contingencies, suggesting they are different mechanisms of selection.
Assessment and Treatment of Multiple Topographies of Self-injury Maintained by Separate Reinforcement Contingencies
Functional analysis procedures were used to assess and treat multiple topographies of self-injurious behavior exhibited by an individual. An experimental functional analysis indicated that one topography, hand biting, appeared to be maintained by social positive reinforcement in the form of delivery of tangible items. The analysis also provided evidence that a second form of self-injury, skin picking, was automatically reinforced. To treat positively reinforced hand biting, access to a preferred tangible was arranged contingent on the omission of biting for a prespecified time interval. Hand biting was nearly eliminated, and low rates were maintained as the schedule of reinforcement was thinned to 10 min. Competing stimulus assessments identified that magazines effectively suppressed all occurrences of skin picking; therefore, noncontingent access to magazines was implemented. Using a combination of multielement and multiple baseline designs, we were able to demonstrate that the two topographies of self-injury were maintained by independent reinforcement contingencies and that interventions corresponding to each topography and function effectively treated both behaviors.
The Behavioral Economics of Effort
Although response effort is considered a dimension of the cost to obtain reinforcement, little research has examined the economic impact of effort on demand for food. The goal of the present study was to explore the relationship between effort and demand. Three Sprague Dawley rats were trained to press a force transducer under a series of fixed-ratio schedules (1, 10, 18, 32, 56, 100, 180, 320, and 560) under different force requirements (5.6 g and 56 g). Thus, nominal unit price (responses / food) remained constant while minimal response force requirements varied. Using a force transducer allowed the measurement of responses failing to meet the minimal force requirement (i.e. “subcriterion responses”), an advantage over prior approaches using weighted levers to manipulate effort. Consistent with prior research, increasing the unit price decreased food consumption, and raising minimum force requirements further reduced demand for food. Additionally, increasing the force requirement produced subcriterion responses. Analysis indicated that subcriterion responses did not create incidental changes in unit price. Obtained force data revealed that including obtained forces in unit price calculations provided better predictions of consumption when compared to using criterion force requirements.
A Behaviorally Planned Community of Practice: A Description and Evaluation of one Area of Staff Development
Staff training packages combining instructions, modeling, practice, and feedback have been shown to be effective in demonstrating skills to work in early intensive behavioral intervention, but maintenance and generalization of the skills trained are often not addressed. Establishing a community of practice, in which staff members continue to learn and develop new skill sets from one another through shared experiences and information, may lead to the endurance and maintenance of desired staff behavior over time. The purpose of the current study is to evaluate the effects of a behaviorally designed community of practice on staff use of socially embedded consequences. The effects of the training procedure were evaluated using a concurrent multiple baseline design across two sites (7 staff members). The results suggest that the behaviorally planned community of practice was effective in reinforcing and maintaining staff use of socially embedded consequences for at least 5 to 9 weeks. Additionally, the number of learning opportunities provided by the staff and social engagement between staff and child increased.
Breaking Accidental Behavior Chains.
Accidental behavior chains are a common problem in dog training. Many handlers inadvertently reinforce undesirable behaviors. The behavior analytic literature already contains articles describing methods of breaking chains; however, those methods either are not used in dog training for practical purposes or are ineffective in dog training. This experiment investigated two ways to break a behavior chain, including extending the chain and introducing a delay into the chain. The results of extending the chain showed that it is possible to decrease the target behavior using this method, but it was not eliminated in this study. Adding a delay into the behavior chain resulted in a quick elimination of the target behavior.
Caffeine’s Effects on Pausing During Alternating Work Requirements
There is a significant body of literature stating that caffeine is the most widely consumed drug in the world, yet its effects on operant behavior are little understood. Some of the current research on caffeine suggests that it may play a role in altering motivational states related to transitions between previous and upcoming work requirements. The purpose of the current study was to examine the effects of caffeine on postreinforcement pausing during transitions between small and large fixed ratio rudiments. Eight rats were exposed to five doses of caffeine and and a two-component multiple schedule. We found that caffeine does systematically alter the length of pausing during transitions between fixed ratio requirements, however the magnitude of the effect may be dependent on the baseline rate of responding.
Can Observing Behavior Predict Performance in Conditional Discriminations?
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.
Can Positive Reinforcement Overcome Fear? An Investigation of Competing Contingencies
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.
A Clinical Case Study of Rumination and Emesis in an Adult Male with Intellectual Disability
An evaluation of a series of interventions was conducted for an individual who engaged in life-threatening rumination and emesis. There is substantial research indicating that the delivery of peanut butter (Barton & Barton, 1985; Greene, Johnston, Rossi, Racal, Winston, & Barron, 1991) and/or chopped bread following meals (Thibadeau, Blew, Reedy, & Luiselli, 1999), chewing gum (Rhine & Tarbox, 2009), and satiation procedures (Dudley, Johnston, & Barnes, 2002; Lyons, Rue, Luiselli, & DiGennario, 2007; Rast, Johnston, Drum, & Conrin, 1981) can be effective treatments for rumination. In the current case, each of these interventions was found to be either ineffective or contraindicated based on the participant's fragile health status. Previous literature has shown that liquid delivery can affect rates of rumination in some clients (Barton & Barton, 1985,; Heering, Wilder, & Ladd, 2003). We examined how liquid affected the rate of rumination during and after meals. Based on the individual's medical condition, oral nutrition and fluids were discontinued indefinitely and a gastronomy-jejunostomy tube was used for nutrition. All rumination ceased when fluids and nutrition were delivered via the jejunostomy tube. Finally, a fluid analysis procedure was implemented in which the participant received small amounts of fluid while NPO. Color and flavor were manipulated systematically, and results suggested that flavor impacted the rate of rumination.
Comparing Indices of Happiness during Teaching Interactions
The measurement of happiness has received increasing attention in behavior analytic literature. Happiness in individuals with developmental disabilities has been assessed by 1) counting a specific behavior, or 2) sampling constellations of behaviors. The purpose of this study was to examine the two approaches while observing nine child and teacher dyads at an autism treatment center. Results showed that, overall, a constellation of behaviors can yield similar patterns when compared to a specific behavior count. However, the affect of one person did not predict the affect of the other and similar instructional conditions did not predict affect either. The implications of these results and future directions are discussed.
Comparing Response Frequency and Response Effort in Reinforcer Assessments with Children with Autism
Reinforcer assessments have largely relied on the use of progressive ratio (PR) schedules to identify stimuli that function as reinforcers. PR schedules evaluate the reinforcing efficacy of a stimulus by measuring the number of responses produced in order to access a stimulus as the number of required responses increases. The current evaluation extends the literature on reinforcer assessments by measuring responding under a progressive force (PF) schedule, in addition to progressive ratio requirements. We compared responding under PR and PF schedules with two children with autism using a multielement design embedded within a reversal experimental design. Results were mixed and implications for further development of reinforcer assessment methods (particularly PF schedules) are discussed.
A Comparison of Picture to Word Training and Word to Word Training on Native English Speaking College Students’ Acquisition of Italian Vocabulary
The current study assessed the effects of two teaching stimulus presentations, i.e. picture to word and word to word, used to teach second language vocabulary to college students. It also evaluated the emergence of untaught relations when picture to word and word to word were used separately as a teaching strategy. The findings showed picture to word training resulted in more untaught relations. Several aspects such time allotted for online quizzes, experimental and teaching arrangements and vocabulary complexity were suggested for future research.
A Comparison of Transfer of Stimulus Control Or Multiple Control on the Acquisition of Verbal Operants in Young Children with Autism: an Extension
One language intervention approach for individuals with autism involves teaching one response topography under multiple sources of control and then establishing that response under individual controlling variable. Another approach involves establishing one response topography under singular control and then using that response to establish the response topography under different controlling variables. The study sought to extend previous research by investigating the impact of each approach on the acquisition of verbal responses. Three of the eight participants acquired all target responses for at least one response topography. The results of previous research were not replicated directly and the findings were discussed in terms of preexperimental verbal repertoires and restricted interests.
A Comparison of Vocabulary Banks and Scripts on Native English-speaking Students’ Acquisition of Italian
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.
Constructional Fear Treatment for Dogs in Shelters
Of the approximately 3.9 million dogs that enter US animal shelters each year, many exhibit behaviors related to fear, which can affect their likelihood of adoption. Current dog training procedures to treat fear include counterconditioning and desensitization, which can often take months or years to show any behavior change and do not teach specific behaviors aimed to increase the dog's chance of being adopted. The current study used a negative reinforcement shaping procedure to teach fearful dogs to approach and and interact with people. The results showed that constructional fear treatment increased the amount of time the dog spent at the front of the kennel, and increased sniffing, tail wagging, and accepting petting for all 3 participants.
Correspondence between Multiple-Respondent Anecdotal Assessments and Functional Analysis: Analyses of Rank-Order, Magnitude-of-Difference, and Overall Outcomes
We administered the Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS) and the Questions About Behavioral Function (QABF) to five raters and compared the results with functional analysis outcomes for 12 cases in which agreement was obtained for at least four out of five raters on either anecdotal assessment. The scores for functional categories on the MAS and QABF were ranked by averaging the scores for the raters who agreed on the primary maintaining variable. Functional analysis results were ranked by examining average responding across all conditions. A comparison showed correspondence between the highest category and the highest functional analysis condition for 10 out of 11 cases for the MAS and all 10 cases for the QABF. Correspondence for the category and condition ranked second was found for 2 out of 11 cases for the MAS and 2 out of 10 cases for the QABF. The magnitude of difference between categories on the MAS/QABF did not appear to predict the amount of difference in responding in the corresponding functional analyses.
Creating a Verbal Community for Describing Emotional Responses within a Contingency Lens: The Effects of a Brief Training Workshop
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.
Dance: a Training Package Utilizing Videotaped Self-observation to Teach Parents to Enhance Social Interactions with Children At-risk for a Developmental Delay
Previous research has demonstrated the effectiveness of programs that include a videotaped self-observation component. The self-observation protocols, however, have not been clearly specified within programs that teach and report parents’ use of general teaching strategies. The current study investigates the effects of a training package with a self-observation component to teach parents to improve teaching interactions with their children at-risk for a developmental delay using an AB design replicated across participants. Data were collected across play interactions to assess the number of parent teaching episodes, child target responses, and various parent and child relationship qualities. Relationship quality measures included parent and child affect and engagement, parent directives, parent confidence and stress, and parent and child interest. The results of this study suggest that the training package was effective in that parents engaged in higher rates of teaching, their children engaged in more desired responding, and certain aspects of the parent-child interaction were enhanced. These results are discussed in terms of the effects on the parent-child teaching interaction and implications for future use of parent self-observation techniques.
A Descriptive Analysis of the Use and Effect of a Self-management Project in an Undergraduate Course in Behavior Analysis
Undergraduate male and female students enrolled in an introductory behavior analysis course with minimal instruction on self-management were given modified exploratory logs to use in a self-management project. Students self-monitored behavior via the log, constructed their own interventions, and reported changes in behavior and extent of success in a write up at course end. Changes in self-reported descriptions in the logs as well as the written results of a pre and post survey of emotional responses were counted. Successful self-management project interventions were reported by most students. Correspondence between planned and actual events increased. Negative reinforcement procedures characterized most students' intervention. Correspondence between events at pre and post and actual log reports was highest at post.
Determining the Relation Between the Moments of Acquisition of Baseline Conditional Discriminations and the Emergence of Equivalence Relations
The experiment was an attempt to gain a more precise understanding of the temporal relation between the development of analytic units and equivalence relations. Two prompting procedures were used during training to pinpoint when eight subjects learned the conditional discriminations. Near simultaneous presentation of probe and training trials allowed for examination of the temporal relation between conditional discrimination acquisition and derived performances on stimulus equivalence probes. The data show that, for seven of eight subjects, a decreased reliance on prompts was coincident with the development of equivalence-consistent choices on either all or some probe trials, which suggests that the development of analytic units is sufficient to give rise to equivalence relations among stimuli.
Development and Evaluation of a Large-scale Pyramidal Staff Training Program for Behavior Management
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 the performances of trainees.
Do contingency-conflicting elements drop out of equivalence classes? Re-testing Sidman's (2000) theory
Sidman's (2000) theory of stimulus equivalence states that all positive elements in a reinforcement contingency enter an equivalence class. The theory also states that if an element from an equivalence class conflicts with a programmed reinforcement contingency, the conflicting element will drop out of the equivalence class. Minster et al. (2006) found evidence suggesting that a conflicting element does not drop out of an equivalence class. In an effort to explain maintained accuracy on programmed reinforcement contingencies, the authors seem to suggest that participants will behave in accordance with a particular partitioning of the equivalence class which continues to include the conflicting element. This hypothesis seems to explain their data well, but their particular procedures are not a good test of the notion of "dropping out" due to the pre-establishment of equivalence classes before the conflicting member entered the class. The current experiment first developed unpartitioned equivalence classes and only later exposed participants to reinforcement contingencies that conflicted with pre-established equivalence classes. The results are consistent with the notion that a partition developed such that the conflicting element had dropped out of certain subclasses of the original equivalence class. The notion of a partitioning of an equivalence class seems to provide a fuller description of the phenomenon Sidman (1994, 2000) described as "dropping out" of an equivalence class.
Does Family Quality of Life Change? Evaluation of a Group Parent-coaching Package
Improving family quality of life is an important goal when working with families of children with autism. Researchers have attempted to measure changes by developing indices of quality such as affect, stress, and confidence. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a group parent-coaching program on measures aimed at addressing quality: a) parent confidence, stress and affect ratings; b) child affect ratings; c) the frequency of coordinated joint attention (CJA); and d) parent report of satisfaction and efficacy. Over the course of four weeks, the coaching program involved group presentations, discussions, video sharing, and problem solving, and individual in-vivo coaching sessions regarding specific child skill development. Results from the five parent-child dyads suggested increases in areas associated with quality of life. Results are discussed in the context of quality themes and mixed methods research.
Easter Seals North Texas Autism Treatment Program Evaluation: Child Progress
This study reports and evaluates child outcome measures at a non-profit autism treatment program providing applied behavior analysis (ABA) based services to children age 3 to 8. To accomplish this, a review was conducted of available outcome data for a 1 year period. Several categories of outcome measures have been reported in the autism treatment literature (post-intervention educational placement, cognitive status, developmental and achievement status and/or progress, autism symptom reduction, and diagnostic reclassification). This study found that the program relied on 2 sources of data to evaluate child outcome: Hawaii Early Learning Profile® and program goal mastery. Children are making progress as indicated by these measures. The findings are discussed in relation to broader outcome recommendations.
The Effect of High-Probability Request Sequences on Latency to Comply with Instructions to Transition in a Child With Severe Mental Retardation
This study investigated the effect of implementing high-probability request sequences prior to the delivery of instructions to transition in a child with severe mental retardation. Data were collected on latency to comply with a low-probability request to transition and a modified version of the low-probability request. Implementation of high-probability request sequences resulted in shortened latencies to comply with the modified low-probability request instructing the child to engage in a preferred activity located at the endpoint of the transition.
Effect of Resource Availability on Dyadic Fitness
College students participating in dyads played a game designed as an analog of early hunters whose survival, as a dyad and ultimately individually, depend on rabbits they hunt. Dyadic fitness was defined as both participants being able to hunt and it was measured by the proportion of trials in a condition that both participants hunted. The effects of scarcity (alternating rich and poor conditions) on dyadic fitness were examined in two experiments. First experiment results did not show a difference in dyadic fitness as a function of the independent variable. The second experiment increased the number of hunting seasons and also the discrepancy between scarcity in rich and poor seasons. Second experiment results show that dyads start fit in rich seasons and become increasingly fit in poor seasons. External variables could not be ruled out; therefore, additional experiments still need to be carried out to clarify results.
The Effects of a Communication Training Workshop on the Verbal Behavior of Caregivers
This study evaluated the effectiveness of a workshop designed to train adults to use supportive verbal behavior during distressful situations. Participants were trained to provide descriptive, empathetic and hopeful statements using instructions, rationales, modeling, role-play, feedback, and rehearsal. A pre-post design was used to analyze the effects of the training on verbal and non-verbal behaviors of four females during simulation scenarios. Results indicate all four participants provided maximum support statements above pre-training levels during post-training simulation and written assessments.
Effects of a Computer-based Self-instructional Training Package on Novice Instructors’ Implementation of Discrete Trial Instruction and a Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Intervention
Discrete trial instruction (DTI) and naturalistic developmental behavioral interventions (NDBIs) are often incorporated into early intensive behavioral interventions for young children with autism. Recent advances in staff training methods have demonstrated that self-instructional manuals, video models, and computer-based training are effective and efficient ways to improve staff implementation of these teaching strategies however research in this area is limited. The current evaluation assessed the effects of a computer-based training package including self-instructional manuals with embedded video models on direct-care staff’s implementation of DTI and an NDBI. All participants’ DTI teaching fidelity increased during role-plays with an adult and with a child with autism and all participants increased teaching fidelity across untrained instructional programs. In addition, moderate improvement was demonstrated following NDBI training on the use of correct prompts, environmental arrangements, and response interaction. Together, these results indicate that therapists are able to acquire a large number of skills using two teaching techniques, DTI and NDBI, following brief computer-based training.
The Effects of a Group Parent-coaching Package on the Behavior of Children with Autism and Their Parents
Support for parents is an important part of treatment programs for children diagnosed with autism. Parent training programs have generally focused on prescribed goals in one-on-one training settings with measures directly related to the goals. Of interest here are the few studies that included collaborative goals, expanded measures, and group training. Benefits of such approaches include the establishment of natural communities of reinforcement and better understanding of the breadth of effects. The purpose of this study was to determine if a group coaching approach would be effective in changing a large range of parent and child skills. This experiment involved group sessions (presentations, discussion, video sharing, and problem solving) and three individual in-vivo coaching sessions. The intervention took place over the course of four weeks. Direct measures included a parent skills checklist and child target behaviors. Results indicated an overall improvement on most measures that maintained or improved at follow-up.
The Effects of a Human Trafficking Prevention Workshop Package on Participant Written and Simulation Responses
This study evaluated the effects of a community workshop designed to teach community members about human trafficking prevention. Participants were trained to identify the critical and non-critical features of human trafficking and safe ways to respond to identified trafficking situations. A pre-post treatment design was used to assess the effects of a community workshop across written and verbal target behaviors. This included written responses as well as simulation assessments across five different trafficking scenarios. Results indicate that all participants engaged in more correct responding within the written assessment and asked specific relevant questions with greater confidence within the simulation assessment following training. However, social media and empathy responses following the workshop did not differ from baseline. This study is one of the first empirical studies aimed at formally evaluating the effects of human trafficking prevention workshops. Results are discussed in the context of instructional design, measurement of outcomes, and interdisciplinary collaboration.
The Effects of a Parent Training Program that is Responsive to Current Repertoire and Affect
Social deficits are one of the defining symptoms of autism spectrum disorder and affect a child’s ability to build relationships with others. These deficits put children with autism at a disadvantage when most of their world is focused on building connections with others – family, friendships, and community ties. Sunny Starts, a service-learning project, was created to specifically meet the needs of families with young toddlers with autism. The primary focus of Sunny Starts is to enhance the quality of the parent-child relationship by teaching parents a basic teaching interaction and to arrange the child’s environment in ways that are mutually reinforcing. The purpose of this experiment is to study the effects of the Sunny Starts DANCE training package, a responsive parent training program, on three levels of parent and child behaviors: 1) teaching episodes, 2) turn taking, social attending, vocal requests, and 3) synchronous engagement. Participants included two parent-child dyads. Parent training included 5-minute video assessments, video review, descriptions, rationales, modeling, practice, and feedback. The effects of the parent training were evaluated using a concurrent multiple baseline across participants. Results indicate parent teaching episodes and child behaviors (turn taking, social attending, and verbal requests) increased during the intervention phase. The duration of parent-child synchronous engagement maintained at high levels and slightly increased.
The Effects of a Programmed Teaching Sequence and Response Card Use with Systematic Feedback on the Acquisition of Time Telling Behavior of 3 Students with Intellectual Disability
Few studies have proposed or evaluated methods to teach telling time. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of differential reinforcement of student responding in the form of response cards to teach three middle school students with intellectual disability to tell time. Participants worked through six training phases. Results showed that correct responding increased from pre-assessment (range of 5.71-14.29% correct) to post-assessment (range of 85-100% correct). Preliminary evidence shows promise in the application of these procedures to teach telling time to middle school students with intellectual disability.
The Effects of Capturing and Searching on the Acquisition of a Simple Arm Position
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.
Effects of Conditional Discrimination Training on Symmetry and Semantic Priming
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.
The Effects of Copying Before, Copying After, and Guessing on Acquisition Rate and Retention
Computer-based instructional programs are being used more frequently in classrooms. While these programs offer many benefits from traditional teaching methods, humans still need to program them. There is inconsistency in the literature regarding the best way to design such programs. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of three training procedures in teaching individuals to type a specified three-letter response in the presence of a corresponding symbol. Results show that the training format that prompted individuals to copy the correct response before the opportunity to respond was more efficient than viewing the correct response after an error, or copying the correct response after an error. A discussion of the results as well as implications for classroom use is also provided.
The Effects of Feedback Timing when Teaching a New Task to Children with Autism
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.
The Effects of Fines on Cooperation in a Four-Person Prisoner’s Dilemma Game
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.
The Effects of Fluency-Based Instruction on the Identification of Component Reading Skills
This study examined the effects of fluency-based instruction on the identification of six component-composite relations for early reading skills. Five participants (ages 5-8) who struggled with reading participated. A multiple probe design was used to assess the effects of frequency building on prerequisite skills on the emergence of composite reading skills. The results show that the prerequisite skills taught did not have an effect on the composite skill probes but did have an effect on the assessment scores. The data expand the research pertaining to Precision Teaching, fluency-based instruction, and component-composite relations. These data suggest that additional skills may be needed to be taught in order to effects on the composite skills. In addition, these authors identify the need for the identification of the component skills necessary to teach rapid autonomic naming.
The Effects of Homework Sessions on Undergraduate Students' Homework Performance
Experimenters evaluated the effects of a homework session on undergraduate students' homework performance through an adapted alternating treatments design in two introduction to behavior analysis courses. Several participants attended homework sessions; however, homework submission and homework mastery did not vary as a function of homework session attendance or availability. Homework submission remained high throughout the experiment regardless of attendance at or availability of a homework session. Many participants responded that they were not interested in or did not need homework sessions. Participants who attended homework sessions rated them as neutral or helpful overall, with longer time and different time as the most common suggestions for improvement.
The Effects of Increasing Rates of Reinforcement Through an Alternative Fluent Behavior on the Acquisition and Extinction of Behavior in Dogs
The purpose of the present study was to experimentally investigate the effects of interspersing the opportunity to perform a fluent behavior during the acquisition of a new behavior. The experimenter trained left and right paw movements in domestic canines using a multiple treatment design. One paw movement was trained with a typical shaping procedure while the other was trained with an opportunity to perform a fluent behavior, touching the dog’s nose to a plastic disc, following each successive approximation in the shaping procedure. Two extinction phases were implemented during the experiment. The results showed that higher rates of reinforcement were achieved primarily following changes in criteria for reinforcement for the behavior in acquisition. There were no effects on rate of acquisition of the behavior, but adding an alternative fluent behavior may have slowed the differentiation between the reinforced behavior and alternative behaviors for one dog. The behavior trained with the addition of an alternative fluent behavior extinguished more quickly than in the control condition and extinguished at similar rates to the opposite leg movement. This suggests that the technique of offering an alternative fluent behavior may facilitate the chaining of the opposite behavior with the behavior targeted for reinforcement.
The Effects of Jackpots on Responding and Choice in Two Domestic Dogs
The current study investigated the impact of delivering a jackpot on response rate and response allocation in two domestic dogs. For the purpose of this research, a jackpot was defined as a one-time, within-session increase in the magnitude of reinforcement. Two experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of delivering a jackpot in both single-operant and concurrent schedule procedures. Experiment 1 investigated the impact of a one-time, within-session increase in the magnitude of reinforcement on response rate in a single-operant procedure. Results of Experiment 1 showed no clear change in response rate after the delivery of the jackpot. Experiment 2 investigated the impact of a one-time, within-session increase in the magnitude of reinforcement on response allocation in a concurrent schedule procedure. Results of Experiment 2 showed an increase in response allocation to the jackpotted contingency in both subjects. These results suggest that a jackpot, as defined here, has no effect in single-operant procedures while having an effect in concurrent schedule procedures. These effects are similar to those reported in the magnitude of reinforcement literature.
The Effects of Model Prompts on Joint Attention Initiations in Children with Autism
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 prematurely due to medical reasons. The findings of the current study show that minimally intrusive prompts and natural consequences may be sufficient to establish protodeclarative initiations in children. However, this finding may be limited to only those children for whom social interactions already function as reinforcers.
The Effects of Naturalistic Language Interventions in Children with Autism
Several evidence-based procedures based upon operant learning principles have been developed to teach language, and for young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), naturalistic interventions are commonly implemented as they are both effective and developmentally appropriate. The current investigation compared contingent responsive intervention and combined intervention on the effects of language use in four children diagnosed with ASD. Results suggest that a combined intervention procedure increases target language and requests in children with simplified language (e.g., one-word phrase) as well as complex language (e.g., simple sentences).
The Effects of Price and Durability on Individual Discounting Functions When Purchasing Hypothetical Goods in a Simulated Internet Store
Online shopping has rapidly expanded in the last decade. Online shopping necessarily imposes delays on all transactions. Behavior analysis has long studied the effects of delay on choice. Additionally, a number of researchers are beginning to study consumer behavior using a behavior-analytic approach. The current study attempted to extend research focusing on consumer behavior in online contexts. The experimenters attempted to evaluate whether goods acquire functional properties and whether these properties influence consumer choice. The researchers were specifically interested in studying acquisition costs and durability and in simulating a natural online shopping environment. Results from the current study extend the findings showing that delay and price influence choice. The data from the current study provide mixed evidence for control by item durability.
The Effects of Programmed Reinforcment and Chained Mastery Criteria on Yoga Pose Performance in Two Young Children with Autism
Community exercise can offer many benefits for children, including the opportunity to engage in physical activity and interact with peers in a social setting. Children with autism do not engage in as many community activities as their typical peers. This study examines conditions to teach young children to complete yoga poses to mastery. The effects of prompting, programmed reinforcers, and a chaining criteria were evaluated using a comparison design with two baselines and one intervention condition, replicated across two children with autism. Both children mastered performance of all four targeted yoga poses. The findings are discussed in the context of previous research on the benefits of yoga.
Effects of Reinforcer Magnitude on a Fixed Time Food Delivery Treatment of Pica
The purpose of the current study was to examine the effects of using fixed time schedules with different magnitudes of stimulus delivery as treatment for pica. A functional assessment was conducted, which indicated that pica occurred across experimental conditions and was most frequent in the absence of social stimulation or contingencies. A competing stimulus assessment was then conducted to identify stimuli that could potentially compete with pica during NCR. Subsequently, an evaluation of the effects of reinforcer magnitude on NCR as a treatment of pica was conducted. Treatment results indicated that quantity of reinforcer increased the effectiveness of leaner schedules of reinforcer delivery; however, it was not possible to fade the temporal schedule to one that would have been useful in practice. In addition, limitations and future research are outlined.
The Effects of Sucrose on Ethanol Consumption in Ethanol Naïve and Non-naïve Rats
Sucrose fading and intermittent access are two common procedures that induce alcohol consumption in rodents. Sucrose fading procedures involve exposing ethanol naïve rats to a mixture of ethanol and sucrose and gradually reducing the concentration of sugar. Intermittent access procedures involve providing rats with access to ethanol on alternating days. Given that rats will consume ethanol without sucrose, the role of sugar in the sucrose fading procedure is unclear. Rats must be ethanol naïve when they are exposed to treatment with sucrose fading, so there is no point of comparison to show that exposure to sugar in sucrose fading produces higher levels of drinking. There has yet to be any work that isolates the effects of sugar on the consumption of alcohol. The purpose of the present experiment was to examine the effects of sucrose on ethanol consumption in rats with different alcohol histories. Two groups of six rats were exposed to two successive sucrose fading procedures, 30 days apart and their drinking was measured 30 days after each one. One group was exposed to an intermittent access procedure to establish drinking prior to treatment with sucrose fading, the other was ethanol naïve. Following sucrose fading, all rats drank pharmacologically active doses of ethanol. For both groups consumption correlated with the concentration of sucrose and decreased in a step-wise manner as it was faded. For the ethanol experienced rats, consumption dropped below baseline levels as sucrose was faded and decreased further with the second exposure. In contrast, the ethanol-naïve rats did not decrease consumption from the first sucrose fading procedure to the second. Slight differences in peak force of responses were also observed.