The present experiment studied the relationship between interresponse intervals and behavioral variability. Subjects emitted sequences of 4 keypresses on two keys on a variability schedule that delivered points when the current 4-response sequence differed from the previous 5 sequences. Three experimental conditions were studied; no interresponse interval, 4-s interresponse interval and 8-s interresponse interval. Interresponse intervals followed each of the first three responses in each sequence. Two groups were used to study initial training histories. Group 1 was first exposed to the no-interresponse interval condition. Group 2 was first exposed to the 4-s interresponse interval condition. Subjects were then exposed to the different interresponse interval conditions. There was little change in variability across conditions. However, the variability observed in the subjects first exposed to the 4-s interresponse interval was greater than the variability observed in subjects first exposed to no-interresponse interval. There was higher-order response patterning in both groups, but it was more pronounced in the no-interresponse interval group.
The original purpose of this study was to determine if Tegretol has an effect on the impulsive behavior exhibited by people with mental retardation. This was to be accomplished through a replication of the self-control choice procedures used by Ragotzy, Blakely, and Poling (1988). The procedure involved three stages. First, subjects chose between stimuli that provided either one or three edibles. Then the stimuli associated with the smaller and larger edibles were reversed. Following this, the procedure required the implementation of successively longer delays to the larger reinforcer. However, none of the subjects who participated was able to make the discriminations necessary to proceed, i.e., the subjects did not systematically select the stimulus associated with the larger magnitude edible choice. The identification and rectification of these errors in discrimination became the focus of this study. Various procedures were used to enhance discrimination, including fading, adjusting the magnitude of the edibles, and stimulus changes. None of these changes was successful in teaching the subjects the necessary discriminations.
To meet global competition many companies have reorganized work process systems, eliminated management levels, formed employee work groups and implemented variable compensation systems. This study investigated the effect of group incentives on individual sales performance in two specialty shops located in a large metropolitan hotel. Two questions were addressed: What effect would adding a group bonus plan have on individual employee's sales performance who had previously received hourly wages in one shop; and, what effect would changing an individual incentive plan to a group plan have on the individual employee's sales performance in the other shop. In one shop 5 of 7 employees' productivity increased: in the other, 1 of 3 subjects' productivity increased. Contingencies in both shops are analyzed and suggestions offered for future research.
This study investigated the effects of verbal and graphic feedback alone and in combination with praise on the data-recording behavior of 12 direct care trainers (DCTs) who recorded their reinforcer deliveries as they interacted with mentally retarded clients. An additional variable examined was the effect of time of delivering feedback on subsequent data-recording behavior. Feedback was delivered by the experimenter. Correspondence checks were conducted and a three-phase multiple condition experimental design was used. All feedback conditions produced an observable difference in DCT data-recording behavior. Time of delivery of feedback also appeared to have an effect on the amount of data recorded by DCTs.
A popular approach to operating organizations in the 1990s is the implementation of work teams. The current literature offers little information on the use of performance management techniques in work team settings. This case study examined the effects of employing a performance improvement strategy on employee performance in a work team environment comprised of part-time graduate students. The performance improvement strategy included composing job descriptions, job aids (e.g., work organization charts), task request logs and posting weekly and monthly performance feedback. Improvements were observed in some aspects of team performance. Some of the improvement was due to task clarification and improved scheduling produced by the antecedent interventions. Performance feedback had little effect on measured performance but seemed to facilitate discussion and problem-solving.
The banquet staff at a north Texas hotel were responsible for setting up 11 different functions (e.g., buffet dinners) for conferences and meetings. The functions were often set up late and items were often omitted. An analysis suggested that performance problems were the result of weak antecedents, inefficient work procedures, inadequate training and a lack of motivating consequences. An intervention consisting of task checklists, feedback, goal setting, monetary bonuses, training and job aids was designed to enhance the accuracy and timeliness of function setups. Performance increased from an average of 68.8% on the quality measure (accuracy plus timeliness) in baseline, to 99.7% during the intervention phase. Performance decreased to 82.3% during a follow-up phase in which parts of the intervention were discontinued by hotel management. Performance increased to 99.3% with the reintroduction of the intervention phase.
Four subjects were exposed to the four trial types that define stimulus equivalence from the beginning of the experiment. Procedures were designed to identify acquisition dynamics and relate these observations to responding indicative of equivalence class formation. The data show that, for all subjects, the acquisition of training conditional discriminations was correlated with systematic changes in the subjects' selection responses. The results also indicate that the traditional percent correct measures obscure some important information about the subjects' behavior. The data are discussed in the context of the following statements. 1) Subjects' performances on derived trials are not indicative of relations among stimuli at some other level of analysis but are instances of "equivalencing". 2) "Equivalencing" itself can be characterized as changes in the conditional and conditionally discriminative functions of stimuli involved in the experiment. The potential benefits of this preparation are discussed.
The effects of point loss for symmetrical probe performances on other performances of an observed equivalence class, on the emergence of equivalence performances, and on performances in other contexts were examined. After training six conditional discriminations in three contexts, probes (symmetry, transitivity, symmetrical transitivity) were introduced in contexts 1 and 2. In context 3, only trained conditional discrimination trials were delivered. After demonstrations of equivalence in contexts 1 and 2, point loss was placed on symmetrical performances in one of these contexts; probe trials and point loss for symmetrical performances were simultaneously introduced in context 3. Point loss for symmetrical performances may disrupt other probe performances of an observed equivalence class in that same context; does not necessarily disrupt the emergence of equivalence performances; and may disrupt probe performances in other contexts.
Fluent component performances may be more readily available for recombination into more complex repertoires. This experiment considered the stimulus equivalence preparation as a laboratory analog for the co-adduction said to occur in generative instruction. Seven adults received minimum training on 18 conditional discriminations, components of 9 potential stimulus equivalence classes. Training was interrupted periodically with tests to determine whether fluency of original relations predicted emergence of derived relations. Fluency predicted emergence in 2 of 17 instances of emergent derived relations for 4 subjects. One subject demonstrated fluency without derived relations. Training accuracies as low as 58% preceded emergence for 3 subjects. Fluency appears to be neither necessary nor sufficient for derived relations. Fluency's role may be in retention and complex application tasks rather than acquisition of behavioral relations.
Copying prompts with subsequent unprompted practice produced better learning of simple discriminations than feedback only of a correct response without subsequent practice. The Copy condition promoted faster acquisition of accurate performance for all subjects, and shorter response latencies and durations for 3 of 4 subjects. The data support the findings of Barbetta, Heron, and Heward, 1993 as well as Drevno, Kimball, Possi, Heward, Garner III, and Barbetta, 1994. The author proposes that response repertoires are most valuable if easily reacquired at times after original learning. Thus, reacquisition performance data are emphasized. The data suggest that discriminations acquired by copying prompts may result in useful repertoires if a practice procedure is used which facilitates transfer of stimulus control from a formal prompt to a naturally occurring stimulus.
The object mouthing of a developmentally delayed 8-year-old girl was assessed and treated in a classroom setting. Two pretreatment assessments were conducted: A functional analysis indicated that object mouthing occurred across test conditions and persisted in the absence of social contingencies, and assessment of stimulus preference identified reinforcers to be used during treatments. Based on assessment outcomes, two treatments were implemented. Noncontingent sensory reinforcement was implemented during free-time and group activities, resulting in a 74.3% decrease in object mouthing across three settings. During one-on-one educational activities, presentation of academic task-trials at a high rate decreased object mouthing by 85.7%, relative to a condition in which tasks were presented at a slower rate.
The conditional control of equivalence has received much attention in the analysis of verbal behavior. While previous research identified conditional control of relational responding and conditional control of equivalence class formation, this study investigated the possibility of conditional control of members of an equivalence class. Following baseline conditional discrimination training and equivalence testing, subjects were taught to select a particular member in the presence of a Green background screen and another member in the presence of a Red background screen.
Four college student subjects were trained to match graphic figures (A stimuli) to other figures (B stimuli), and then to match the B figures to numerals (C stimuli). Then in a test of application subjects answered simple math problems, presented as novel sample stimuli, by selecting one of the A figures, presented as comparisons. The application test was an analog for the academic task of answering math problems with newly learned Spanish number names. Three subjects performed accurately in the application test, which required the emergence of CA equivalence. All subjects demonstrated equivalence in test sessions after the application test. The study examined whether accuracy, fluency (rate of correct responding), practice, or stability of original relations performance corresponded to test accuracy. Accuracy, fluency, practice and stability corresponded to test accuracy for two subjects. Fluency corresponded to test accuracy for one subject, and stability corresponded to test accuracy for another subject.
Using the "revealed operant" technique, variability during acquisition and extinction was examined with measures of response rate and a detailed analysis of response topography. During acquisition, subjects learned to emit four response patterns. A continuous schedule of reinforcement (CRF) for 100 repetitions was used for each pattern and a 30 min extinction phase immediately followed. One group of subjects learned the response patterns via a "trial-and-error" method. This resulted in a wide range of variability during acquisition and extinction. Only one subject emitted a substantial amount of resurgent behavior. A second group of subjects was given instructions on what keys to press to earn reinforcers. This group had less variability in acquisition and extinction and resurgent responding was prevalent.
The role of point loss for symmetrical relations introduced simultaneously with probe trials in the absence of original relations on all probe trial performances was evaluated. Training was completed after six conditional discriminations were established in two contexts. Point loss was introduced simultaneously with probe trials in the absence of original relations in the first context. Probe trials with no point loss in the absence of original relations were introduced in the second context. The simultaneous introduction of probe trials and the point loss contingency may in some cases prevent the emergence of an equivalence class in the context that contained the point loss as well as in the context where no point loss occurred.
The purpose of this study was to determine the optimal form and timing of feedback to establish a "new" behavior. It examined the relative effectiveness of delivering a corrective feedback immediately before the learner responds to a previously incorrect trial as compared to delivering a corrective feedback immediately after the incorrect response is made. Corrective feedback delivered immediately before the next opportunity to respond produced better learning than corrective feedback delivered immediately after a response. The Feedback Before condition decreased errors during training and increased acquisition rates. Results also indicated an interaction between time of feedback delivery and the complexity of the task. As the task complexity increased, the results were more dramatic in favor of the Feedback Before condition.
This study was a follow up to P. C. Dams' (1996) unpublished University of North Texas masters thesis, The effect of defect probability during training on inspection accuracy in a quality control simulation. Graphics of computer circuit boards were presented in dyads with an error free sample on the left and a comparison on the right. Comparisons had either a rotation or transposition defect, or were error free. Subjects had 10-s to accept or reject the comparison as identical to the sample. They were trained using two different stimulus fading procedures (using descending defect probabilities) and immediate feedback. Defect probabilities for the Tens were 0.60, 0.50, 0.40, and 0.30 and for the Twenties were 1.00, 0.80, 0.60, and 0.40. The last 4 pretraining and posttraining sessions were compared and the posttraining performance of the Twenties, as compared to the Tens, demonstrated greater improvement over pretraining performance. No firm conclusions could be drawn as to the effectiveness of either training procedure. The significance of the current investigation and suggestions for future research are discussed.
Electrodermal responding (EDR) and heart rate (HR) were assessed for seven subjects participating in a reaction time task consequated with monetary bonuses (250, 100, and 10), monetary penalties (250,100, and 10), and a monetary neutral value (00). Unlike previous research employing group designs and a tonic measure (i.e., mean over long periods of time), this study utilized a single-subject design and a phasic measure (i.e., mean over 2-s intervals). Heart rate data was too variable for meaningful analysis. EDR data showed that the peak levels of EDR were higher for penalties than for the corresponding values of bonuses (e.g., -250 vs. +250) for most subjects. Similarly, peak levels of EDR were generally higher during sessions in which consequences were presented than in sessions during which consequences were absent.
The purpose of this study was to analyze the effects of (1) training the accurate completion of an assignment form, (2) providing feedback on accurate reporting of homework completion, and (3) consequences for completion or non-completion of homework. All students exhibited highly accurate recording of information on assignment forms and reports of what homework had been completed or not completed. Delivering consequences for completion or non-completion of assignments had a modest effect on homework completion. This package increased the proportion of homework assignments completed on time for all students in at least one, or as many as three, academic subjects. This package can be an efficient tool for teachers to monitor homework completion.
Results of a functional analysis indicated that the self-injurious behavior (SIB) of an adult female with profound mental retardation occurred primarily in the alone and demand conditions. Graphs of the separate topographies (head slaps and head bangs) showed that head banging occurred in the alone condition and that both head banging and head slapping occurred in the demand condition. A data analysis procedure to identify within-session trends across sessions and fluctuations in rates of SIB by topography revealed that most of the demands escaped were escaped by head slaps and that over 80% of all head slaps were associated with escape, compared to less than 1%of all head bangs, indicating that head banging and head slapping were members of separate functional response classes. Treatment consisted of noncontingent availability of preferred leisure materials, and produced substantial decreases of both head banging and head slapping. Interpretation of the results are discussed, as well as some implications and limitations of the study.
Outcomes of experimental analyses during which protective equipment (PE) was placed on three participants were compared to those during which PE was not provided to them. Experimental analysis conditions were presented using a multielement format, and the effects of PE were evaluated using a withdrawal design. Results of experimental analysis without PE suggested that self-injurious behavior (SIB) was maintained by negative reinforcement for two participants and nonsocial mechanisms for the third participant. However, SIB was eliminated either immediately or eventually for all participants when PE was provided during experimental analysis. Thus, outcomes of assessments with PE did not match those without PE, and no conclusion about variables associated with SIB could be drawn from experimental analyses with PE alone. Therefore, the present findings do not support the use of PE as an alternative to standard methods for conducting experimental analysis (i.e., without PE).
The main and side effects of extinction were evaluated in a multiple baseline design across the problem behaviors of two elementary school boys. For each subject, functional analysis procedures resulted in the occurrence and assessment of only one of several problem behaviors reported by teachers. Extinction treatment based on functional analysis outcomes was then applied to the assessed topography and resulted in the emergence of other inappropriate response forms. Each successive behavior was exposed to extinction and changes in previous and subsequent response forms were observed. Both main effects and indirect effects of extinction were examined. Findings are discussed regarding the covariation of responses and implications for the treatment of behavior disorders in applied settings.
Research shows that human operant behavior typically differs from non-human operant behavior on schedules of reinforcement. These differences in performance may be related to differences between the experimental preparations used to study human and non-human operant behavior. One such difference is the type of reinforcer used. This experiment analyzed the differential effects of points alone, points backed up by money, and sounds on schedule performance of human subjects. Results show that sounds generated moderate rates of responding, capable of change in either direction. When points backed up with money were the reinforcers, however, high rates of behavior were generated, disrupting the previously established baseline performance. This suggests that while points may be effective in generating high rates of behavior, they may be ineffective in producing sensitive baselines needed to study human operant behavior on schedules of reinforcement.
This study evaluated whether therapist terminations of social interactions would decrease social terminations and increase social initiations during play activities with a child with autism. The assessment took place in two conditions. The first condition, instructed involved social interactions with instructions delivered, and the second, uninstructed, involved social interactions without instructions delivered. These conditions were analyzed with a multiple baseline across-conditions design. Interaction duration, initiations, instructions, and child terminations were recorded. This study showed that the therapist-removal procedure resulted in a complete decrease in child terminations, and an increase in the number of initiations and the duration of the child-therapist interactions during the uninstructed condition. Similar effects were seen in the instructed condition, but to a lesser degree.
A 4-year old child with autism was taught to make a social initiation statement following a remote-controlled tactile prompt (RCT). The RCT prompt was taught by using a time-delay procedure with written script cards containing initiation statements. Training trials occurred in 6 different play locations in the child's room. Restricted Trial training consisted of allowing the child to play independently, activating the RCT prompt and playing with the child based on any initiation until a warning to end was given. In Free Play training, the warning to end the activity was removed. The child's initiation statements increased from 0 in baseline, to spontaneous initiations in 100% of the trials in all training and generalization phases. The number of words in an initiation statement increased from 3 to 25 per trial. Spontaneous initiations in the No RCT phase generalized to the child's mother without training.
Teachers providing treatment to children with autism are responsible for implementing numerous procedures. Teacher training has not been addressed extensively in the literature. This study employed a multiple baseline design to evaluate the effects of a training package incorporating modeling, roleplaying and feedback on teacher performance. Results indicated that the teacher implemented correct teaching episodes following training. Changes in teacher performance were only observed when the training package was applied to each setting and skill area. As a result of changes in teacher behavior, the child demonstrated an increase in the number of desired responses. Results are discussed in the context of generalization, training package components, cost-benefit of single-subject designs, and limitations of the study.
In the present experiment, a remote control tactile prompting device (RCT) was utilized to prompt a child with autism to recruit teacher models and play suggestions. A multiple baseline and reversal was used to assess the effects of the RCT across three play contexts. The results showed increases in the number of requests for models and suggestions as well as increases in the duration of interactive play between the child and therapist, the number of contextual statements emitted by the child, and the topography and contexts of the play behaviors emitted by the child. Findings are discussed in terms of the effectiveness and generality of the RCT and the issue of teaching a child to recruit versus teaching a child activity-specific behaviors.
This study examined effects of two response acquisition procedures on topography of responding using the revealed operant technique and compared results to previous experiments on this topic. Subjects emitted 100 repetitions each of 4 response patterns on a continuous schedule of reinforcement. A 30-min extinction condition followed acquisition. One group of subjects learned the first response through a series of shaping steps designed to reduce acquisition variability. Another group of subjects was instructed in the correct response topography and was told there was no penalty for attempting other sequences. The first group of subjects produced high variability during extinction despite reduced variability in acquisition. The second group of subjects responded with moderate to high variability during extinction and little variability during acquisition. Most extinction responses for the first group were variations of the last pattern reinforced. Most extinction responses for the second group were repetitions of the last pattern reinforced.
Behavioral economics is the integration of concepts from micro-economics into behavior analysis. Most of the research in behavioral economics has been done with non-human subjects and with drugs as reinforcers. This study represents an extension of previous research to assess money as a reinforcer with humans as subjects. The participants in this study solved math problems to earn money at various unit prices. Results indicate that demand of money adhered to the law of demand in that consumption decreased as unit prices increased. An underlying assumption is that consumption should be equivalent at different compositions of unit price. Replications of either the same or different compositions of unit price indicated that there were some discrepancies in consumption in this study.
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.
This experiment examined the effects of extinction on rate of responding and several topographical and temporal measures in adult humans. Three college students were trained to type the sequence 1•5•3 on a numeric keypad on a computer. The subjects were exposed to different fixed-ratio schedules of reinforcement (FR1, FR 5, and FR10 respectively) and extinction. Subjects displayed typical schedule performances during the maintenance phase of the experiment. During extinction the performances were disrupted, they showed a "break and run" pattern and a general decrease in responding. Also, new topographical and temporal patterns emerged. These data are consistent with those reported for non-human species and special human populations.
This research examines the effects of task interspersal and density of reinforcement on several behaviors of an autistic 6-year-old boy during the performance of a visual matching task and two auditory matching tasks. Experiment 1 investigated the effects of interspersing high and low accuracy tasks on correct matching responses, positions of matching responses, looking away, and self-injurious behavior (SIB). The effects of interspersed trials were evaluated using an ABAB multiple treatments design. Results indicated that interspersed trials produced slightly more correct responses during the visual matching task; however, correct responses decreased during the other two tasks. The use of interspersed trials also decreased looking away from the stimuli and SIB. Experiment 2 evaluated the effects of reinforcement density apart from task interspersal. Two conditions, reinforce-corrects-only and reinforce-all-responses, were compared in Experiment 2. Correct responses increased slightly for all three tasks during the reinforce-all-responses condition. Looking away and SIB were very infrequent throughout Experiment 2.
A multiple baseline design was employed to evaluate the effectiveness of a sibling training package including modeling, role-play, and feedback on play and engagement between children with autism and their siblings. The results of two experiments suggest that, following training, siblings of children with autism correctly implemented all trained interaction components. Additionally, Experiment II assessed and programmed generalization to other materials and a non-training setting. The results showed that some unprogrammed generalization to non-trained toys occurred. Conversely, siblings engaged in trained skills in a non-training setting (home) only following the experimenter's instructions to generalize. In both experiments, the siblings' overall engagement and physical proximity of play in training sessions increased significantly above baseline. This study extends previous research in that it includes additional stimulus and response generalization measures.
A multiple baseline design across activities and people was used to assess the effectiveness of a feedback package on the facial orientation of a young girl with autism. During baseline, observations indicated low rates of facial orientation and high rates of gaze avoidance during conversation (restricted operant) and play (free operant) conditions. After treatment, facial orientation rates increased and gaze avoidance rates decreased to levels similar to typically-developing peers and maintained at one month follow up. These results suggest that the feedback package was effective in producing durable facial orientation across different environments and people. Possible interpretations, strengths, and limitations are discussed.
A package intervention, consisting of daily-adjusted goal setting, e-mail feedback, and graphic feedback, was used in a public school attendance office to increase the efficiency with which 3 attendance clerks documented student attendance. During the intervention phase, the attendance secretary set a daily goal for each attendance clerk. This goal was a percentage of student absences to be coded and entered in the school computer program. After establishing a daily goal, the attendance secretary provided daily feedback, in the form of a written e-mail response and graphed feedback to each clerk. If the subjects had attained their daily goal, the attendance secretary also delivered a praise statement along with the e-mail feedback. Results indicated that the intervention package was ineffective in producing change in the attendance clerks' absence coding behavior.
The purpose of this study was to develop an effective method for trailer loading horses based on the principles of positive reinforcement. Target training and shaping were used to teach trailer loading behavior in a natural setting. Five AQHA mares were selected for this program. All five had been loaded before through the use of punishment. A two-horse trailer was used. Approximations to loading and inappropriate behaviors were the dependent variables. When intervention started the target was moved to various locations inside the trailer. Subjects started training on the left side of the trailer. After a subject was loading in the left side they were moved to the right side, then to loading half on the right and half on the left, then they were loaded by a different trainer, and into a different trailer. For one subject a limited hold was utilized, as well as a companion horse.
Few studies have investigated methods for establishing neutral stimuli as conditioned reinforcers in human subjects. Conditioned reinforcers, however, can alleviate some of the problems encountered in applied behavior analytic (ABA) therapy for children with autism, such as satiation and suitability of reinforcers for specific environments. A series of reversals evaluated the effects of a conditioning procedure involving pairing a neutral stimulus, the remote control stimulus (RCT), with an identified reinforcer. Phase 1 demonstrated that the RCT was neutral. In Phase 2, alternating pairing and testing conditions were run. During testing the effects of pairing were evaluated by the effectiveness of the RCT in maintaining a response in the absence of a previously available reinforcer (extinction test) and in increasing a new response over a baseline level (learning test). Results from the extinction test suggest that under some pairing conditions the RCT can acquire properties of a reinforcer.
The effects of a training package (modeling, role-playing, and feedback) were evaluated using a multiple baseline across skill areas. Two trainers taught two teachers to use basic intervention skills that included components of both discrete trial teaching (DTT) and the Natural Language Paradigm (NLP). Training occurred in the context of one task. Generalization was assessed with two untrained tasks. Teachers' responses in the target task increased following training, as did appropriate responding from the child. Some generalization of the teaching skills occurred. Teachers were instructed to generalize acquired skills as a possible method to promote generalization. The results of these findings and implications for training of ABA providers are discussed.
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.
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.
Ray (1969) conducted an experiment on multiple stimulus-response relations and selective attention. Ray's (1969) results suggested that stimulus-response relations function as behavioral units. McIlvane and Dube (1996) indicated that if stimulus-response relations are behavioral units the effects of environmental variables on stimulus-response relations should be similar to the effects of environmental variables on single response topographies. This experiment analyzed the effects of reinforcement history on the probability of stimulus-response relations with differing reinforcement histories. In separate conditions random-ratio schedules of reinforcement were contingent on each of four discriminated responses. To assess the effects of reinforcement, during test conditions stimuli controlling different topographies were present concurrently in composite form. Results show that reinforcement history affects the probability of each response topography and that the association between response topographies and their controlling stimuli tends to remain constant throughout variations in reinforcement probability.
The present study consists of two experiments that analyze the effects of high and low densities of reinforcemnt on the maladaptive behaviors of a 9 year old girl with autism. The first experiment investigates the isolated effects of density of reinforcement on the frequency of maladaptive behaviors during a motor imitation teaching task. High densities of reinforcement produced fewer occurrences of maladaptive behavior than low densities of reinforcement. Experiment 2 analyzes the effects of density of reinforcement during the same teaching tasks as in experiment 1 on maladaptive behavior, task accuracy, prompt resistance, and language. Maladaptive behavior did not recur during experiment 2. High density of reinforcement conditions during the second experiment showed a positive effect on the accuracy of responding and compliance with prompts.
The case study described in this thesis involves a process improvement project in the Tax Department of a Certified Public Accounting firm. A process map was created by interviewing employees involved in the process. A process analysis identified problems and possible solutions. The Partners in the firm decided to streamline the process for simple tax returns in order to make them more profitable. This study examined what impact, if any, the process improvement intervention had on key financial and operational measures. Results indicated that the tax returns prepared in the new process were faster, cheaper, and more profitable. This study indicates that organizations conducting process improvement interventions can beneficially affect key financial and operational measures.
The purpose of this experiment was to evaluate the effects of a conflicting instruction on FR-5 performances by an ABABC design. After all four college students were consistently pressing 1-5-3 followed by sound-clips, the schedule value changed to FR-5 (A). Then they were presented with the written instruction "Press 426" (B) in addition to the previous condition. In the last condition (C), 1-5-3 responses were then scheduled for extinction in three participants and the reinforcer was changed from sound-clips to points for one participant. The results showed that unlike previous experiments, instructions did not override the scheduled contingencies. Instruction-following occurred only when there were no other contingencies (i.e., extinction of 1-5-3) or the scheduled reinforcer for FR-5 performances was weak.
Behavioral economic theory describes a relation between response requirement and magnitude of reinforcement, and combines these variables into one independent variable (unit price) affecting operant behavior. This study investigated the relative effects of cumulative feedback on consumption for money as a commodity. Subjects were exposed to ranges of unit prices with or without a cumulative feedback bar on the computer screen indicating monetary earnings. For all participants in this study, consumption of money was a decreasing function of unit prices and the results from the present study are consistent with the behavioral economic prediction that increasing the unit price of a commodity will decrease consumption of that commodity. Analyses of demand curves, elasticity coefficients and response rates suggested differences between Feedback and No Feedback groups, although these were small and not statistically significant. The small differences observed were consistent with a behavior strengthening effect of feedback.
This study examines the effects of training in two yoked learning channels (hearsee/say and hearsee/write) on the acquisition, generalization and retention of learning. Four fifth-grade participants were taught the lower-case letters of the Greek alphabet. Twelve letters were taught in the hearsee/say channel and twelve letters taught in the hearsee/write channel for equal amounts of time. The see/say channel reached higher frequencies at the end of training and showed higher acquisition celerations than the see/write channel. However, the see/write channel showed higher accuracy and retention than the see/say channel. The see/write channel also showed greater generalization across learning channels including the see/say, think/say, think/write and see-name/draw-symbol.
Methods for the determining the functional properties of problem behaviors are necessary for the design of successful treatments. Many of the currently utilized methodologies are chosen based on their speed, ease of application or for the perceived risk-reduction they afford. However, when thoroughly analyzed many of these methods fall short of their intended purpose. The current study attempted to assess dangerous problem behavior through a functional assessment of functionally related precursor behaviors during analog sessions. Results indicate that for three participants, placing the reinforcing contingencies on these related precursor behaviors produced differentiated outcomes during the assessment. These outcomes matched the outcomes of assessments of the more dangerous problem behaviors.
Missed appointments by patients are a major problem for health care professionals. To combat this issue, some optometrists use a pre-appointing system in which patients are scheduled for an annual exam a year after their initial visit. Prior to that subsequent appointment, clinic staff often try to contact the patient to confirm the appointment. This study examined baseline levels of appointment keeping, analyzed existing processes for pre-appointing patients, and introduced a revised process package to improve appointment keeping at an eye care clinic. This package included training, mailed postcard reminders and two phone call reminders. Results indicate appointment keeping by pre-appointed patients increased over baseline. The intervention was also shown to be cost-beneficial.
The effects of graduated exposure, modeling and contingent social attention on tolerance to skincare products were evaluated with two boys with autism who displayed tactile defensiveness. Upon each presentation step of skincare products the number of positive and negative responses and successful step completion were measured. Procedures included modeling, presenting graduated opportunities, and providing social attention for step completion. Step advancement occurred if a child engaged in a step independently, without excessive refusals. A changing criterion design and a multiple baseline were employed to evaluate effects of this treatment package. Children demonstrated more positive and fewer negative responses as they completed the graduated steps. Effects maintained in follow-up observations.
This study analyzed the effects of restricting the response space and selfevaluation on students' handwriting quality in two beginning handwriters and two experienced handwriters. Students executed letters with and without using a transparent overlay, in a multiple-baseline-across-letters design. The use of the transparent overlay included drawing letters in a space restricted by the transparency; overlaying a model letter on top of the written letter and; evaluating if the two letters matched. Letter quality immediately improved when overlays were used, and handwriting quality maintained when the writing response was not restricted by the overlay transparency. Prompting and feedback were delivered contingent on on-task behavior. Analysis was based on three different measurement systems.
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