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A Comparison of Transfer of Stimulus Control Or Multiple Control on the Acquisition of Verbal Operants in Young Children with Autism: an Extension

Description: 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.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Pasat, Irina V.

A Comparison of Vocabulary Banks and Scripts on Native English-speaking Students’ Acquisition of Italian

Description: 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.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Dean, Brittany L.

Does Family Quality of Life Change? Evaluation of a Group Parent-coaching Package

Description: 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.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Wiles, Amber Marie

The Effects of a Group Parent-coaching Package on the Behavior of Children with Autism and Their Parents

Description: 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.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Vaughn, Brittany M. L.

The Effects of Increasing Rates of Reinforcement Through an Alternative Fluent Behavior on the Acquisition and Extinction of Behavior in Dogs

Description: 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.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Coulter, Laura E.

The Effects of Price and Durability on Individual Discounting Functions When Purchasing Hypothetical Goods in a Simulated Internet Store

Description: 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.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Gesick, Jeffrey Glen

The Effects of Textual Fluency on the Rate of Acquisition and Application of Intraverbal Relations

Description: Intraverbal behavior governs core elements of academic and intellectual behavior. These intraverbal relations can be explicitly taught when an individual is prompted to provide an appropriate response with pictures, text, or other stimuli following a verbal stimulus. It is possible that a focus on fluency of the target repertoires may lead to more conclusive data. the current study assessed the effects of precision teaching based instruction for component textual repertoires on the acquisition of intraverbal relations. Specifically, this study compared the effectiveness of two textual prompting procedures (with and without fluency-based instruction) on the acquisition and application of intraverbal relations using time-delay and a carefully controlled set of intraverbal stimuli. Results indicate that the use of textual prompts and an errorless time-delay transfer of stimulus control procedure were effective strategies for teaching intraverbal responses regardless of the inclusion of fluency-based instruction.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Shrontz, Rachael E.

Evaluating the Effects of Video Modeling on the Frequency of Staff Use of Socially Embedded Consequences

Description: Previous research reports that individuals working with children with autism can positively affect social behavior through the use of socially embedded consequences. There is no research on training teachers to use socially embedded consequences. The current study had three purposes: to evaluate the effects of video modeling on teachers' embedded consequences, to evaluate the addition of feedback to increase effectiveness, and to evaluate the effects of the teacher's use of socially embedded consequences on other teacher behaviors. Results indicate that video modeling alone was not sufficient in changing teacher behavior and that the addition of feedback was necessary for meaningful teacher behavior change. Additionally, the increased used of socially embedded consequences had positive effects on teacher social engagement and indices of interest. A discussion of the results and suggestions for future research is also provided.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Yauger, Amy Elizabeth

Fearful to Friendly (F2F): a Constructional Fear Treatment for Domestic Cats Using a Negative Reinforcement Shaping Procedure in a Home Setting

Description: Feral and fearful cats and kittens in animal shelters are not likely to be adopted as companion animals because they emit fearful or aggressive behaviors in the presence of humans. The purpose of the fearful to friendly (F2F) research was to investigate a shaping procedure to increase friendly behaviors of feral and fearful domestic cats and kittens with the goal of achieving animal shelters’ adoptability criteria. The results showed the F2F procedure was a safe and very effective procedure to quickly tame feral kittens deemed unadoptable. The day after implementing F2F, three out of four kittens approached me and accepted petting and holding without any additional training.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Rentfro, Angela Drake

Monitoring and Increasing Goal Related Instruction and Engagement in Groups of Children with Autism

Description: A high rate of instructional engagement is important to maximize progress in early intensive behavioral interventions (EIBI). Teachers responsible for eliciting instructional engagement may need additional support to maintain high rates of engagement. Literature suggests that goal setting and feedback is effective in increasing performance. the purpose of this study was to evaluate whether goal setting and group feedback would increase engagement in instructional activities related to the children’s goals. Results indicate that goal setting and group feedback was successful in increasing engagement in instructional activities. the results are discussed in the context of engagement, staff performance, group contingencies and performance feedback.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Rossi, Kathleen Anne

Reducing Undesirable Behavior with Stimulus Control

Description: The present experiment investigated the application of Green and Swets (1966) signal-detection theory to undesirable behavior as a method of reducing unwanted behaviors using reinforcement and extinction. This experiment investigated the use of this stimulus control technique to reduce undesirable behaviors using a multiple-baseline design. Once the cue for a target behavior was established and maintained, the use of the verbal cue was reduced in frequency and the rate of unprompted undesirable behavior was recorded. Generalization was tested across multiple people. Data for this experiment showed that undesirable behavior could be reduced by altering the stimulus control that maintained it.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Davison, Matthew Alan

Response Patterns in Functional Analyses: a Preliminary Analysis

Description: Functional assessment procedures have proven effective in identifying the operant contingencies that maintain problem behavior. Typically, the evaluation of responding during functional analyses is conducted at the condition level. However, some variables affecting occurrences of behavior cannot be evaluated solely through the use of a cross-session analysis. Evaluating within-session patterns of responding may provide information about variables such as extinction bursts, discriminative stimuli, and motivating operations such as deprivation and satiation. The current study was designed to identify some typical response patterns that are generated when data are displayed across and within sessions of functional analyses, discuss some variables that may cause these trends, and evaluate the utility of within-session analyses. Results revealed that several specific patterns of responding were identified for both across- and within-session analyses, which may be useful in clarifying the function of behavior.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Gibson, Christine M.

A Schoolwide Tiered Intervention for Increasing Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

Description: Childhood obesity rates in the U.S. are increasing. Increasing intake of fruits and vegetables is one method to combat obesity. The purpose of this study was to examine a tiered approach to fruit and vegetable consumption with 26 children in an inclusive preschool. The first tier included ongoing availability and opportunity to eat fruits and vegetables (exposure). The second tier included programmed consequences (a reward system). A multiple baseline across children and classrooms was used to evaluate the effect of the interventions. The tier one intervention was effective for nine children and tier two was effective for six children. Eleven children, however, did not respond to either condition. Results are discussed in the context of previous research and tertiary interventions.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Mendoza, Blanca L.

Untangling the Effects of Scheduled Exercise on Child Engagement, Stereotypy, and Challenging Behavior

Description: There is limited research pertaining to the effects of exercise on the behavior of children with autism. Previous researchers focused on exploring the dimensions of the exercise itself, leaving a functional account of the effects of exercise undetermined. There is recent evidence that exercise suppresses responses maintained by automatic reinforcement. The purpose of the present study was to better identify the relevant independent variable in such research and to assess if there were differential effects of exercise across functional response classes. The experimenter conducted a trial-based functional analysis and then implemented a sedentary or vigorous activity on alternating days to determine the impact of exercise on engagement, stereotypy, and challenging behavior. Results across functional response classes were variable as were data across individual sessions. There was a mean suppression of behavior maintained by nonsocial reinforcement during post-sedentary (4.3%) and post-exercise sessions (2.3%). A discussion of the role of matched stimulation and heart rate as a pertinent variable follows.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Currier, Thomas D. R.

The Use of Conjugate Reinforcement in Autism Treatment Programs: a Demonstration and Discussion

Description: The effect of a reinforcer on behavior is largely determined by the schedule in which it is implemented. One type of reinforcement schedule that has not been explored extensively is conjugate reinforcement. Previous researchers have used conjugate schedules to evaluate a reinforcer's effects on behavior and as an assessment tool. However, none have explored how to effectively engineer conjugate schedules in applied settings. The current study explores the effectiveness of conjugate reinforcement implemented by several interventionists across a variety of responses, reinforcers, and in a wide range of participants with autism. The results indicated that delivering social, audio/visual, and tangible stimuli in a conjugate schedule resulted in increased durations of various target responses (e.g. social skills, motor skills) and non-targeted measures (e.g., approach, social bids, speed) across participants. Considerations regarding reinforcer and response selection in implementing conjugate schedules in applied settings are provided.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Reetz, Stephany Kristina

What Are They Learning: a Study of Errors Produced During Behavior Acquisition Utilizing Two Prompting Procedures with a Cat

Description: Prompting methods are common amongst animal trainers, both novice and experts. However, there is little empirical evidence to demonstrate the strengths or weaknesses of common prompting procedures. The current study assessed the strengths and weaknesses during behavior acquisition of two prompting methods, luring and targeting. Luring placed an edible directly in front of the animal which guided the animal through the desired behavior. Targeting, however used a target, an arbitrary object the animal has been trained to touch, guide behavior. A cat was trained, using each method, to walk around a flower. Walking around the right flower pot was trained using luring and walking around the left flower pot was trained using targeting. After both behaviors were acquired, a delay cue method was designed to transfer stimulus control. Later a combination of a delay cue and prompt fading was used. During acquisition the luring method acquired the behavior of walking around a pot more quickly with consistently fewer errors. During stimulus transfer the cat began independently initiating the behavior earlier with the target trained behavior and produced more correct behaviors after the verbal cue. Luring appeared to produce the faster behavior, but after stimulus transfer it could be concluded that the cat did not learn the desired behavior, but rather following the lure. Both methods could be beneficial in different circumstance, however, given the desired behavior was to walk around a flower pot on cue, targeting would be considered best practice.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Beasley, Robin Lynn