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

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

Adolescent Goals and Their Reports of What They do to Achieve Those Goals

Description: Twenty-five adolescents' ranking of a set of equally highly valued goals on a Paired-comparisons Survey was compared with what adolescents say they are doing to achieve those goals. Results of the Paired-comparisons Survey showed that adolescents ranked career, interpersonal, and educational goals rather high and reputation and self-presentation goals rather low. Results analyzed with a contingency coefficient and biserial correlation indicated that not all number one ranked goals had the same value for a particular adolescent, and that number one ranked goals were correlated with verbal reports of concrete actions directed at achieving those goals.
Date: May 2000
Creator: Lucky, Derek

An Analysis of Sample Duration in a Parent Training Program.

Description: Although several guidelines are available for designing observational procedures in both basic and applied settings, few researchers have experimentally examined and compared different direct observation methods. Such methods may have a direct impact on practitioners' ability to effectively assess strengths and challenges, set treatment goals, adjust intervention procedures, and monitor progress. The current study compared 1 and 5 min observations to 10 min observations throughout baseline and intervention phases of a parent training program for toddlers with autism. Results showed similarities with regards to variability, level, and trend in the 5 and 10 min data samples; however, clear differences were seen in the 1 min data sample, which typically showed very low occurrences of responding and displayed steady and flat trends. The findings have implications for the development of time-efficient direct observation procedures utilized in parent training programs for children with autism.
Date: May 2007
Creator: Laino, Kathleen S.

Analyzing the Effects of a Performance Pay Plan on Manager Performance in an Accounting Firm

Description: This study examined the effect of a score card¬-based performance pay plan in a professional services firm. The plan was implemented in response to a decreasing trend in productivity and a desire for a formal incentive compensation plan. Performance of manager and senior manager accountants were analyzed across two departments over a five year period. A definitive account of the effects of the intervention is limited by the case-¬study design, but the data does suggest that the performance pay plans used did not adversely affect performances. Design limitations of the plan and future research are also discussed.
Date: May 2007
Creator: McDaniel, Sarah Curran

Assessing Optimal Sibling Training Conditions: An Empirical Approach.

Description: The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of play materials on the interactions between a child with autism and her sibling. Three conditions were assessed: open choice, materials chosen by the child with autism, and materials chosen by the typically developing sibling. Within each activity, measures of social interactions were assessed. Results of the assessment showed that more interactions occurred with a material chosen by the child with autism. After sibling training (targeting specific teaching skills), social interactions remained highest in the condition with materials chosen by the child with autism. The results are discussed in terms of a material assessment to optimize sibling training conditions and the importance of sibling relationships.
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Date: August 2005
Creator: Merker, Stephanie K.

Assessing Play Interests in Toddlers.

Description: Play is a significant part of childhood. Typically developing children exhibit a wide range of interests within their play behavior, but children with autism do not. The purpose of this study was to design and implement an assessment tool that will capture the constellation of behaviors indicating play interests in young children. The Early Play Interests Assessment (EPIA) includes categories of play behavior and their components behaviors. Additionally, measures of child affect were built into the EPIA. All behaviors were observed under various environmental conditions. The results show that the EPIA was useful in observing toddlers' play behavior within behavioral categories and components and in assessing the interactions among these measures of play interests. The results are discussed in relation to the importance of creating observational systems to quantify play interests in typical and atypical children and for establishing a link between the information gathered in assessment and the planning and implementation of autism interventions.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Kodaka, Mitsuru

Assessing the Stimulus Control of Observers.

Description: The science of behavior analysis relies heavily on direct observation. Human observers are typically used to measure behavior in applied settings. Although the use of human observers is beneficial in many regards, it also presents challenges. Of primary concern is the extent to which the data generated by observers actually corresponds to the behavioral events of interest, and the implications this may have in terms of replication. This study assessed the effects that labels, definitions, and examples and non-examples of two different modalities had on observer accuracy, consistency, and agreement. Results showed that current practices in observer training may require refinement to ensure high observer accuracy, consistency, and agreement. Suggestions for how to improve the desired stimulus control of observers are provided.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Kuhn, Robin Merritt

Assessment of Resident and Staff Activity in a State Residential Setting

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

An Attempt to Dissociate Effects of Response Requirements and Sample Duration in Conditional Discrimination Learning with Pigeons.

Description: Attempts to control various aspects of response requirements and sample viewing durations of sample stimuli show that an increase in both facilitates acquisition of conditional discriminations. Despite these attempts, few empirical data exist that demonstrate the relative contributions of both response- and time-dependent schedules. In addition, viewing opportunities of sample stimuli are present outside of the researchers' control, allowing for 'unauthorized sample viewing.' This study employed a titrating delay matching-to-sample procedure to systematically control various aspects of response requirements and sample viewing durations to independently assess their relative contributions towards conditional discrimination performance. Four pigeons worked on a titrating delay matching-to-sample procedure in which the delay between sample offset and comparison onset continuously adjusted as a function of the accuracy of the pigeons' choices. Results show sample viewing durations contribute most toward conditional discrimination performance. The data show 'unauthorized sample viewing' improved acquisition of conditional discriminations and should be a consideration in design of future research.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Levine, Joshua

A Behavioral Economic Analysis of Different Reinforcers: Sound-Clips Versus Points Exchangeable for Money

Description: Human operant studies frequently use points exchangeable for money as reinforcers. Some studies employ more immediately consumable reinforcers to emulate properties of food reinforcers. This study examined demand for points/money and for sound-clips to compare their economic characteristics. Across four participants, demand was often higher and less elastic for points/money than for sounds. During subsequent exposures at each response requirement, demand for sounds often decreased to a greater degree than demand for points/money. Thus, sound-clips seem less durable than points/money across prices and across repeated exposure to the same price. Response rates for points/money were often higher than for sounds, suggesting that reinforcers that generate higher response rates may be less elastic than reinforcers that generate lower response rates.
Date: December 2000
Creator: Alvey, Debi A.

A Behavioral Economic Analysis of the Demand for Money in Humans

Description: This study investigated the effects of unit price structure, unit price descriptions, and unit price sequence on the demand for money in humans. Six groups of 3 participants solved multiplication problems in exchange for money under various unit prices. Consumption of money decreased as the unit price increased across all conditions. However, the data also showed that: (a) fixed price structures produced slightly more elastic demand than did variable price structures, (b) price descriptions produced more elastic demand under variable price structures but had little or no effect under fixed price structures, and (c) the alternate sequence used with fixed price structures produced slightly more elastic demand.
Date: December 2000
Creator: Reyes, Jorge R.

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

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

Can Analyzing Infant Imitation in the Natural Environment Inform Interventions in Autism?

Description: A longitudinal study of infants and their mothers was conducted to explore the development of imitation and approximations to imitation. During a 10-minute unstructured play session, researchers observed two mother-infant dyads once per week for twelve weeks, while they played at home. The data presented represents infants between the ages 5 and 34 weeks. The methodology employed was based on the methods described by Hart and Rilsey (1999). Observations were coded based on the topography of the mother's and infant's behavior and included vocalizations, facial movements, motor movements, and object manipulation. The data are analyzed and discussed in terms of its relevance to autism intervention.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Waltenburg, Carley

Can Longitudinal Observations of Infant Joint Attention Inform Infant Interventions in Autism Spectrum Disorders?

Description: Infants 5-34 weeks of age were observed in their homes playing with their mothers as part of a longitudinal study. Two mother-infant dyads were observed once per week for twelve weeks, during a ten-minute play session. The purpose of the observation system is to describe contingencies leading to the development of attention-seeking behaviors in typically developing infants. Observations were coded using a type-based format (person engagement, object engagement, supported joint engagement, coordinated joint engagement, and unengaged). Child eye gaze, reaching, and grabbing were coded as well as all child and adult vocalizations. It is suggested that the data from the observation system will help inform and assess the effectiveness of infant and toddler social interventions in autism spectrum disorders and advance our understanding of attention seeking behaviors.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Suchomel, Nicole G.

The Captive Animal Activity Tracking System: A Systematic Method for the Continuous Evaluation of Captive Animal Welfare.

Description: Optimal animal welfare has been a long-term goal for captive animal institutions. To measure welfare a definition and identification of elements that make up welfare need to be established. Further, a method to measure welfare's elements that can be implemented into staff's daily routine is necessary to establish baseline levels and track changes in welfare. The goal of the proposed captive animal activity tracking system is to allow for the measurement of each element of welfare quickly, while providing information regarding the animal's current state of welfare and how changes to the animal's environment affect welfare. The data show that this system is effective in revealing behavioral patterns and changes in behavior that occurred in response to environmental changes.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Kalafut, Kathryn Lynn

Choices in Reinforcer Delivery

Description: The current study consisted of two experiments, both of which were comparisons of choice conditions replicated across four participants. Four typically-developing pre-school children participated in this study. Experiment 1 evaluated participants' preference for choosing consequent stimuli prior to engaging in academic tasks (pre-session choice) versus choosing consequent stimuli each time criterion for reinforcement had been met within the session (within-session choice). In Experiment 2, preference for choice-making was evaluated when outcomes for both choice and no-choice conditions were identical. For two participants, results indicated strong preference for choice-making.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Law, Sarah Ann

Clarifying Variables associated with Problem Behaviors Using Structured Descriptive Assessment

Description: This study evaluated the utility of a structured descriptive assessment (SDA) as an alternative method of functional assessment. Initially, an analogue functional analysis, conducted to assess the problem behavior of two adults with developmental disabilities, produced inconclusive results. Subsequently, SDAs was conducted in the individuals' natural environment with the direct-contact caregivers acting as therapists. This assessment manipulated antecedent variables similarly to the analogue functional analysis but allowed for consequences to occur naturally. The results from SDAs suggested that problem behaviors, for both participants, were occasioned by removal of personal items and maintained by their return. Treatments based on the results of SDAs were implemented in a reversal design and resulted in a notable reduction in the occurrences of problem behavior for both participants. These outcomes suggest that SDA procedures may be useful when results from the analogue functional analysis are inconclusive.
Date: August 2005
Creator: McAllister, Amanda Jo

Comparing a discriminative stimulus procedure to a pairing procedure: Conditioning neutral social stimuli to function as conditioned reinforcers.

Description: Social stimuli that function as reinforcers for most children generally do not function as reinforcers for children diagnosed with autism. These important social stimuli include smiles, head nods, thumb-ups, and okay signs. It should be an important goal of therapy for children with autism to condition these neutral social stimuli to function as reinforcers for children diagnosed with autism. There is empirical evidence to support both a pairing procedure (classical conditioning) and a discriminative stimulus procedure to condition neutral stimuli to function as reinforcers. However, there is no clear evidence as to the superiority of effectiveness for either procedure. Despite this most textbooks and curriculum guides for children with autism state only the pairing procedure to condition neutral stimuli to function as reinforcers. Recent studies suggest that the discriminative stimulus procedure may in fact be more effective in conditioning neutral stimuli to function as reinforcers for children diagnosed with autism. The present research is a further comparison of these two procedures. Results from one participant support recent findings that suggest the discriminative stimulus procedure is more effective in conditioning neutral stimuli to function as reinforcers. But the results from the other participant show no effects from either procedure, suggesting future research into conditions necessary to condition neutral social stimuli to function as reinforcers for children with autism.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Koelker, Rachel Lee

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

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

A Comparison of Brief Versus Extended Paired-Choice Preference Assessment Outcomes.

Description: Few studies have systematically evaluated whether preferences can reliably be identified using brief procedures. Typically, studies have used brief procedures to select potential reinforcers for use in intervention procedures. A total of 17 food and leisure paired-choice preference assessments were administered to 10 subjects in order to evaluate the extent to which the results of a brief (i.e., single-session) assessment correspond with those from more extended procedures (i.e., 5 sessions). Eleven out of the 17 brief and extended assessments identified the same stimulus as the most preferred (highest rank). Outcomes suggest that a brief assessment can be useful when a single, potent reinforcing stimulus is desired, and an extended assessment should be conducted when a larger number of preferred stimuli is desired.
Date: December 2005
Creator: Cason, Caroline Adelaide

Comparison of Client Attendance, Attrition, and Outcomes in 2 Class System Packages.

Description: Using the principles of systems analysis as a guide, this study compared two class schedule formats used by Behavior Management and Parenting Services (BMAPS) in order to address the following research questions: 1) What effects do 2 different class formats have on student attrition and appointment keeping? 2) What effects do 2 different class formats have on student outcomes on a pre and posttest assessment? 3) What effects do 2 different class formats have on staff procedures? BMAPS provides parent education to individuals referred by Child Protective Services. The current research included approximately 200 referred clients with an appointment or class scheduled with BMAPS between January 1, 2006 and September 22, 2007. Data was collected by reviewing client files for class attendance and performance records. Results of this study allow BMAPS to enlist the class format that is correlated with better attrition rates and client outcomes.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Berends, Valori

A Comparison of Discounting Parameters Obtained Through Two Different Adjusting Procedures: Bisection and Up-Down.

Description: The study compared delay discounting in adult humans using two different methods of adjustments. Both methods used hypothetical choices of monetary outcomes. One involved adjustments using a fixed sequence of ascending or descending amounts, the other used a bisection algorithm in which the changes in amounts varied as a function of the subjects' choices. Two magnitudes of delayed outcomes were used: $1,000 and $10,000. A within subject design was used to compare indifference curves and discounting measures across the two adjusting procedures. Twenty four subjects were divided in two groups and exposed to the procedures in opposite order, to account for sequence effects. Results from within subject comparisons showed no systematic differences between procedures.
Date: December 2007
Creator: Woelz, Thomas Anatol da Rocha

A Comparison of the Effects of Errorful and Errorless Teaching Methods on the Acquisition, Generalization, and Retention of Letter Sound Discriminations in Young Children.

Description: The present study compared the effects of an errorless stimulus shaping procedure to an errorful fluency based procedure for teaching difficult letter sound discriminations using a counterbalanced multielement experimental design. For 2 participants, letters fsteai were taught using the errorless procedure and letters bpdvou were taught using the errorful procedure. For the other 2 participants the conditions were reversed. All participants had considerably fewer errors and fewer trials to criterion with the errorless than with the errorful procedure. Tests of retention and generalization indicate that the errorful procedure generalized and was retained at a higher frequency than the errorless procedure. For 3 participants preference for the errorless procedure over the errorful procedure was demonstrated; whereas, the fourth participant demonstrated preference for the errorful procedure.
Date: May 2007
Creator: Doucette, Jessica

Conditional Dscrimination and Simulus Euivalence: Effects of Sppressing Drived Smmetrical Responses on the Emergence of Transitivity.

Description: Symmetry suppression was conducted for five subjects who demonstrated a tendency to derive equivalence relations based on conditional discrimination training in a match-to-sample procedure. Symmetry suppression was applied in three consecutive sessions in which symmetrical responses were suppressed for one stimulus class in the first condition, two stimulus classes in the second condition, and all three stimulus classes in the final condition. Symmetry suppression slowed the emergence of transitivity for two subjects and prevented it for the other three. Results indicated that unplanned features of stimulus configurations emerged as discriminative variables that controlled selection responses and altered the function of consequent stimuli. Disruption of cognitive development by conflicting contingencies in natural learning environments is discussed.
Date: May 2007
Creator: Jones, Aaron A.