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Maintaining behavior in a child with autism using a previously neutral stimulus, a remote control tactile stimulus, as the consequence

Description: 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.
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Date: August 2000
Creator: Wheat, Leigh Ann Stiles

Teacher Training: An Examination of Skill Acquisition, Generalization, and Increases in Child Appropriate Behavior

Description: 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.
Date: August 2000
Creator: Sawyer, Rebecca Jo Moore

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.

Effects of Reinforcement History on Stimulus Control Relations

Description: 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.
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Date: December 2000
Creator: Reyes, Fredy

The Effects of the Density of Reinforcement on the Maladaptive Behaviors of a Child With Autism

Description: 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.
Date: December 2000
Creator: Motiejunas, Kristina M.

Performance Improvement in an Accounting Firm: Comparing Operational and Financial Data Before and After Process Redesign

Description: 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.
Date: December 2000
Creator: Chhabra, Meeta Kaur

The Effects of a Conflicting Instruction on a Fr 5 Performance

Description: 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.
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Date: May 2001
Creator: Koremura, Yuka

The Effects of Cumulative Consumption Feedback On Demand For Money As A Commodity

Description: 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.
Date: May 2001
Creator: Bailey, Kathleen

The Effects of Hearsee/Say and Hearsee/Write on Acquisition, Generalization and Retention.

Description: 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.
Date: May 2001
Creator: Zanatta, Laraine Theresa

Identification of environmental determinants of behavior disorders through functional analysis of precursor behaviors

Description: 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.
Date: May 2001
Creator: Churchill, Robert

Improving Appointment Keeping at an Eye Care Clinic Using a Revised Process Package

Description: 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.
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Date: May 2001
Creator: Hodge, Victoria L.

The Effects of Graduated Exposure, Modeling, and Contingent Social Attention on Tolerance to Skin Care Products with Children Who Have Autism.

Description: 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.
Date: December 2001
Creator: South, Ellyn M.

The Effects of Restricting the Response Space and Self-evaluation on Letter Quality in Beginning and Experienced Handwriters.

Description: 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.
Date: December 2001
Creator: LePage, Julia

Immediate and subsequent effects of fixed-time food presentations on automatically maintained mouthing.

Description: Several studies have demonstrated that fixed-time (FT) schedules of stimulus delivery can function to reduce a variety of behaviors. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the immediate and subsequent effects of FT food deliveries on mouthing. In Phase 1, a preference assessment showed that caramel popcorn, chocolate cookies and pretzels were highly preferred food items. Thus, providing the basis for use of food items during treatment. In Phase 2, a functional analysis showed that mouthing was a nonsocially maintained problem behavior. Phase 3 demonstrated the use of FT schedules of food deliveries as treatment for nonsocially maintained mouthing. Results indicated that FT schedules of food significantly reduced mouthing. In addition, levels of mouthing observed during post-FT observations were reliably lower than pre-FT observations. Treatment effects, operative mechanisms responsible for the treatment effects and the experimental arrangement used to investigate varying FT schedules are discussed.
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Date: December 2001
Creator: Simmons, Jason N.

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

The Effects of Non-differential Reinforcement and Differential Reinforcement on Problem Behaviors and Accuracy of Responding of Autistic Children.

Description: The effects of non-differential reinforcement and differential reinforcement on problem behaviors and accuracy of responding of autistic children was examined. In experiment 1, one child with autism participated, and in experiment 2, two children with autism participated. In the non-differential reinforcement condition both prompted and unprompted responses were reinforced. In the differential reinforcement condition only unprompted responses were reinforced. Overall, problem behaviors were more frequent in the non-differential reinforcement condition. In experiment 1, accuracy was higher in the differential reinforcement condition, while experiment 2 showed inconclusive results with regards to accuracy. It is concluded that non-differential reinforcement can decrease problem behaviors in teaching situations, but may not be sufficient to ensure acquisition of target tasks.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Ingvarsson, Einar Thor

A Measurement System for Monitoring Play in Typically Developing Children and Children with Autism

Description: A comprehensive measurement system was developed to monitor play in children with autism and typically developing children. The study was conducted in a preschool operated in conjunction with a center-based program for children with autism. The development of the measurement system was based on observations of four children with autism and three typically developing children during social and play activites. Data were collected on material use and several dimensions of play: Simple Manipulation, Functional Manipulation, Symbolic Toy Play, Symbolic Role Play and Play Themes. The results indicated that the measurement system consistently measured a wide range of play behaviors across children and materials. Significance of the information gathered from the measurement system in assessing play and designing interventions is discussed.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Gudmundsdottir, Kristin

The Effects of Priming and Contingent Attention on Novel Play Episodes in a Child with Autism

Description: This study evaluated the effects of priming and contingent attention procedures on play variability in a child with autism. During baseline, numbers of novel play episodes, different play episodes, and actions occurred at low rates. Priming procedures did not produce desired change. When contingent attention was implemented, significant increases occurred in novel play episodes, different actions, and different play episodes. These results show that attention contingent on variable play episodes can increase the number of novel responses to play materials. The results are discussed within the context of treatment and future research.
Date: August 2002
Creator: Josendale, Julianne R.

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.

The Effects of Reinforcing Operant Variability on Task Acquisition

Description: Neuringer, Deiss, and Olson (2000) was replicated and extended to determine the effect of variability contingencies on task acquisition for twelve 7-9 year old children. Subjects first learned to press a computer's shift keys with increasing response variation. Each subject was then exposed to one of three experimental conditions during which they received a point for target responses. Variability condition subjects received additional points on a variable interval schedule for nontarget responses occurring less than 3% of the time. The any condition subjects received additional points on a variable interval schedule for any nontarget response. Control subjects received points only for target responses. All variability condition and two control subjects learned the target response. All any condition subjects and two control subjects did not.
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Date: December 2002
Creator: Seymour, Kail H.

An Evaluation of the Effects of a Pay for Performance Plan on Productivity of Employees of a Professional Services Firm

Description: This study examined the effects of a productivity-indexed pay for performance plan in a professional services firm. The new plan was implemented after productivity decreased under an existing plan. Performance of staff and senior level accountants was analyzed across three departments under a three-year baseline and a two-year intervention period. Several measures of productivity indicated that the intervention was effective in improving production, especially for employees with full annual workloads. Percentage of salaries earned in incentives was comparable for both the baseline and intervention periods. Possible explanations for trends in the data, weaknesses in the plan, and implications for future research are also discussed.
Date: December 2002
Creator: Porter, Melanie

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.

The Effects of Alternative Contingencies on Instruction Following.

Description: The purpose of this experiment was to evaluate the effects of alternative contingencies on instruction following by an ABA design. Three college students consistently pressed keys 1-5-3 and 4-8-6 in the presence of the written instruction "Press 153" or "Press 486." During condition A, the contingencies for following and not following the instruction were the same: CON FR5 FR5 and CON FR20 FR20. During condition B, the contingencies for following and not following the instruction were different: CON FR20 FR5. For one participant, the schedule of reinforcement was then changed to FR30. The results showed that subjects followed instructions when the schedule of reinforcement was the same for instruction following and not following.
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Date: May 2003
Creator: Patti, Nicole