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.
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.
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.
Few studies have proposed or evaluated methods to teach telling time. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of differential reinforcement of student responding in the form of response cards to teach three middle school students with intellectual disability to tell time. Participants worked through six training phases. Results showed that correct responding increased from pre-assessment (range of 5.71-14.29% correct) to post-assessment (range of 85-100% correct). Preliminary evidence shows promise in the application of these procedures to teach telling time to middle school students with intellectual disability.
With the increase in survival for children with cancer, part of the focus of current research is aimed towards evaluating how these children are adapting psychosocially. Neurocognitive deficits have been well established. However, there are multiple facets encompassing quality of life, including general mental health, lifestyles and health behaviors, and academic and cognitive functioning. The relationship between neurocognitive and psychosocial functioning has yet to be thoroughly evaluated. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between neurocognitive and psychosocial functioning in survivors of brain tumors and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Data was collected from existing archival database comprised of patients of the at Cook Children's Medical Center in Texas. The sample consisted of 177 patients between the ages of 3 and 12 who were at least two years post-diagnosis. Measures used included the NEPSY and the Behavioral Assessment for Children. Statistical analyses included a several one-way analysis of variances, an independent samples t-test, a univariate analysis of variance, a hierarchical multiple regression, and odds ratio analyses. Results indicated survivors treated with neurosurgery alone appear to be less at risk for developing behavior problems than other treatment modalities. Also, brain tumor survivors demonstrate more problematic behaviors than survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Visuospatial functioning, diagnosis, and type of treatment were found to be predictive variables of behavior problems. Attention, and perhaps language, deficits may predispose children to more problems in their behavior. It is concluded that there are other factors affecting behavior in this population that were not accounted for in this analysis. It is recommended for future studies to research the individual clinical scales of the Behavior Assessment System for Children, obtain information from multiple informants, study this relationship longitudinally, and research additional factors that may be influencing the relationship between neurocognitive and psychosocial functioning. This provides evidence of ...
This study examined the effects of response restriction (blocking and protective equipment) on subsequent durations of self-injury with two female participants with developmental disabilities. First, a functional analysis was conducted with each participant to identify potential maintaining variables of the self-injury. Second, access to the response was systematically restricted in a multiple schedule restriction paradigm. A baseline extended alone was conducted without the restriction component in place as a control condition. For one participant the results suggested that response restriction may have increased subsequent durations of responding once the restriction element was removed. For a second participant responding did not appear to be affected by the restriction component.
A functional analysis, conducted to assess the variables maintaining the chronic eye poking of a female diagnosed with profound mental retardation, indicated that the behavior persisted in the absence of social contingencies. A procedure was initiated in a training environment in which a punisher (mild reprimand) was delivered contingent on eye poking in the presence, but not in the absence, of a neutral stimulus (wristbands). Using a combination of multiple baseline and multielement experimental designs, it was determined that that eye poking was suppressed in the presence of the previously neutral stimulus, even in environments in which the reprimand contingency was inoperative.
This study investigated the effect of implementing high-probability request sequences prior to the delivery of instructions to transition in a child with severe mental retardation. Data were collected on latency to comply with a low-probability request to transition and a modified version of the low-probability request. Implementation of high-probability request sequences resulted in shortened latencies to comply with the modified low-probability request instructing the child to engage in a preferred activity located at the endpoint of the transition.
The immediate and subsequent effects of different durations of response restriction were evaluated in a multiple schedule design. Response restriction components of 15, 30, and 60 minutes were conducted between 15 minute alone components. Levels of responding subsequent to the termination of response restriction procedures were compared to free operant levels prior to the implementation of response restriction. Responding during response restriction components reduced to near zero levels. Subsequent levels of responding were similar to or exceeded free operant baseline levels. Results are discussed in terms of potential operant mechanisms responsible for levels of responding subsequent to response restriction.
Computer-based instructional programs are being used more frequently in classrooms. While these programs offer many benefits from traditional teaching methods, humans still need to program them. There is inconsistency in the literature regarding the best way to design such programs. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of three training procedures in teaching individuals to type a specified three-letter response in the presence of a corresponding symbol. Results show that the training format that prompted individuals to copy the correct response before the opportunity to respond was more efficient than viewing the correct response after an error, or copying the correct response after an error. A discussion of the results as well as implications for classroom use is also provided.
The 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.
Appointment no-shows are a problem in healthcare organizations. It is important that appointment intake and scheduling processes are effective in both meeting client needs and efficient in meeting organizational business requirements. This study examined baseline levels of appointment keeping in a not-for-profit medical/behavioral pediatric services clinic, analyzed existing administrative processes, introduced additional appointment keeping reminders, and presented systematic, performance management tutorials for clinic employees. Results indicate an increase in percentage of appointments kept and a decrease in appointment lag time.
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.
This study compared results of two experiments that tested transfer of function in stimulus equivalence classes in a task dissimilar to (in Experiment I) and similar to (in Experiment II) the task that trained functional responding. Eleven students from UNT participated in return for monetary compensation. Phase 1 and 2 were identical in the two experiments, in which they established stimulus equivalence classes and functional responding, respectively. Each experiment then used different tasks in the third phase to test differential responding. Only participants in Experiment II demonstrated consistent transfer of function. Results are discussed in terms of how task similarity may function as a type of contextual control when there is limited experience with the task.
Parent-child interactions help set the foundation for a child's development. It is therefore important to investigate the relative efficiency and efficacy of procedures used to train them. One procedure that researchers continue to explore is video modeling. The current study evaluated the effect of a video model that displayed favorable parent-child interactions and a modified model with embedded instructions to determine if the introduction of either of these models would alter parent-child interactions. Both models were presented alone without supplemental guidance. Three families were involved in the study. The results showed no systematic change across families or conditions as a result of video viewing and are discussed within context of the needs of the parent, adequate stimulus control, community to support behavior change, measurement sensitivity, and influence of methodology. This study provided a great baseline for future studies to explore the necessary components to create an effective video model.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
Behavior analysts have long recognized the need for direct and reliable measurement of complex behaviors that are important to society. Recently investigators have approached one of the singular most complex behaviors: happiness. Limited research, however, has explored happiness in parent-training programs with children with autism and their families. The current study applied the definitions and data systems used in Broome's 2007 study to obtain indices of happiness within a parent training program for parents of toddlers with autism. Direct measures of smiles and laughs were collected from videotaped assessments. Results suggest that the program increased behaviors associated with happiness. Results are discussed in terms of program development and future research.
Behaviors related to joint attention have been described by behavior analysts and developmental psychologists alike as having a distinctly social function. Children with autism often do not emit these behaviors. Research on the collateral effects of teaching joint attention suggests far reaching consequences. Given the reported benefits of using these behaviors, and the theoretical descriptions of their function, we assessed joint attention as a collateral effect of a naturalistic parent training program. Data suggest that although these behaviors were not directly targeted, they increased in all 3 children. Implications of parent training goals and child intervention targets are discussed in terms of a behavior analysis of joint attention and child development.
An analysis of interrater agreement across multiple respondents on anecdotal assessments and correspondence between functional analysis outcomes was completed. Experiment I evaluated overall agreement among multiple respondents (direct-care staff) on the hypothesized function of each residents (28 adults with mental retardation) problematic behavior using the Motivational Assessment Scale (MAS) and the Functional Analysis Screening Tool (FAST). Results of the questionnaires indicated that respondents agreed on the function of the problematic behavior for 10 of the 28 residents. Experiment II examined whether, for selected cases in which 4 out of 5 respondents agreed on the function of the problematic behavior, correspondence occurred between functional analyses and anecdotal assessments outcomes. Two of the 6 functional analyses did not evoke the problematic behavior. However, 4 functional analyses did produce corresponding outcomes suggesting that, when the functional analyses produced interpretable data, the results of the functional analyses corresponded with those of the anecdotal assessments.
The immediate and subsequent effects of response-independent food delivery on problem behavior maintained by food were investigated. A functional analysis indicated that the participant's problem behavior was maintained by tangible (food) reinforcement. In a subsequent analysis, each occurrence of problem behavior produced a bite of wafer in the first and third components of mixed and multiple schedules, while either response-independent food or extinction was presented in the second component. Dense and lean schedules of food delivery were assessed. Results indicated that a very dense schedule of food nearly eliminated problem behavior, a very lean schedule of food and extinction produced substantial decreases in problem behavior, and intermediate schedules did not decrease problem behavior. Response patterns were differentiated across mixed and multiple schedule arrangements, with signaled changes in the schedules (multiple schedule) generally showing more immediate and sustained effects throughout the intervention component. Implications for interpretations of the effects of the intervention are discussed.
The Essential Tools for Positive Behavior Change is a behavioral parenting curriculum that is currently being disseminated throughout the state and Florida and is now being utilized in Texas to teach parents who are at risk or are founded of abuse and neglect. Research on the curriculum thus far has focused on large scale outcomes, skill acquisition of caregivers during analog role-play assessments, and scores on a written quiz. Little research has focused on generalization of classroom performance to the home. The measurement systems that have been used to evaluate positive outcomes also were in need of improvement. The current study was designed to determine whether teaching a component (Stay Close) to typical parents resulted in immediate improvements in written exam scores and on a role-play assessment and if those skills could be seen in a home setting. The results indicated that small improvements were seen across quiz scores in all but one family and some improvements across behavior was seen in both the role-play and home observations. Additionally, a reliable measurement system was created that captured both home observations and role-play assessment data.
Children with autism show deficits in communication skills, including joint attention, a component of which is following the line of regard. Two experiments were conducted. The first experiment examined how prompting and fading procedures effected following the line of regard in a child with autism. The second experiment examined this effect on the child's learning the names of novel objects. One 10-year-old boy, with a primary diagnosis of autism, participated. A changing criterion design was used in Experiment I. Experiment II used a succession of interventions to assess incidental learning of novel object names. Results indicate that prompting and fading with reinforcement was an effective training procedure for teaching this child to follow the line of regard. However, this skill did not automatically lead to the child's learning the names of novel objects.
Behavior analysts refer to a decrease in response rate following repeated, contingent presentations of a reinforcing stimulus as a product of satiation. Other evidence suggests that these decreases may often be due to habituation to the sensory properties of the reinforcing stimulus. The investigation reported here sought to determine whether decreases in operant responding by 3 adults with developmental disabilities were due to satiation or habituation. During baseline, participants placed poker chips into a container, and no reinforcement was available. Within subsequent phases, participants received diet lemon-lime soda on a fixed-ratio (FR) schedule of reinforcement. In one condition, the color of the soda was constant throughout the session, and in another condition food coloring was added several minutes into the session. Results for at least 2 participants indicated that: (a) soda functioned as a reinforcer for placing poker chips in the can; (b) response rates decreased within the session to baseline levels; and (c) response rates increased following a change in the color of the soda within the session. Results for the third participant were less clear. The results support the argument made by other researchers that the terms habituation (a weakening of a behavior following contact with the reinforcing stimulus) and stimulus specificity (a strengthening of a behavior following a change in the reinforcing stimulus) may be more appropriate descriptors of within-session changes in responding. The factors associated with habituation and satiation, as well as both basic and applied research examples, are discussed.
This case study is a performance improvement project focusing on the organizational system and management practices in a center for children with autism. Staff interviews and a process improvement map were used to assess the organization and assist in identifying potential solutions. The analysis led to treatment integrity as the key outcome measure. The center's administrative team decided to implement treatment delivery process changes to impact treatment integrity measures. This study measured data sheet changes and treatment implementation to determine the impact of process changes on treatment integrity. High levels of variability in treatment integrity across all teams were observed, and results suggest that a process change was not enough to increase treatment integrity. Further study is necessary to investigate measurement and impact of treatment integrity on desired outcomes for children with autism.
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.
Early and intensive behavioral intervention outcome research includes descriptions of intervention variables that may increase treatment success. This study was designed to develop an observation system that incorporates and expands on some of these variables. Measures include the number of interventionist teaching units, types of skills addressed during instruction, consequences programmed by interventionists, and engagement with teaching materials. This system allowed for a view of the differences in teaching behaviors among the participants. It is proposed that this observation system is a start toward standardized intervention measures that can be applied to evaluate varied treatment models. Such standardization can help in ensuring that all children have access to evidence-based services.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of a treatment package to teach a child with autism to willingly accept skin care products conducive to health and normal everyday living. The current study uses graduated exposure, modeling and contingent social attention to teach the child to accept the application of skin care products previously avoided. Results of the study showed that the participant tolerated criterion amounts of all target stimuli with both experimenter and parent. Follow-up probes revealed maintenance of the behaviors with only two out of the three target skin care products.
This study evaluated whether picture exchange communication system (PECS) training would result in the development of conditional relations among corresponding pictures, objects (reinforcers) and spoken words used in PECS training with learners with developmental disabilities. Three participants with autism and mental retardation were trained to use PECS. Match-to-sample procedures were used to assess all possible conditional relations among stimuli before, during, and after PECS training. None of the three participants in this study acquired conditional discriminations involving the pictures, reinforcers, and spoken words used in their PECS training.
Training siblings as change agents for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has been shown to be beneficial in teaching a sibling to teach their brother or sister. There are very few interventions, however, that explore the range of effects that targeting particular skills has on sibling interactions. The purpose of this study was to assess the direct and collateral effects of training behavioral teaching techniques to a typically developing sibling. Four experimental conditions were assessed: baseline, sibling teaching toy play, baseline, and sibling teaching social play. Across all conditions, measures of teaching components and siblings' interactions were assessed. Results of the assessment showed that the sibling was an effective change agent and that more favorable interaction and engagement occurred when social play skills were taught. The results of this sibling intervention and guidelines for condition changes are discussed in terms of sibling relationships.
The delayed matching‐to‐sample (DMTS) procedure involves the insertion of a delay between the offset of a sample stimulus and the onset of an array of comparison stimuli; one of which is designated as the “correct” match for the sample on each trial. The procedure has served as the base preparation in which the effects of environmental variables on short‐term remembering and is, in many ways, responsible for a refined understanding of the phenomenon. Despite its utility, however, there are a few problems with the DMTS procedure – first, the procedure doesn’t adjust for individual differences and second, the conventional dependent measure, percent of correct trials, is not as sensitive as one might like. The titrating-delay matching to sample (TDMTS) procedure is a variant of the DMTS procedure in which the delays between sample and comparison are adjusted as a function of the subject’s performance. Stable measures of adjusted delay are not only sensitive measures of the performance of interest but they are also automatically tuned to differences across individuals. The study reported here continues our efforts to understand the dynamics of the TDMTS procedure so that it can be used to ask important questions related to short‐term remembering.
As more toddlers are being diagnosed with autism there is an increased need for very early intervention. Preliminary research on interventions suggests toddlers can make important developmental progress and that parents can be part of the intervention process. The purpose of this study was to systematically replicate a parent training program reported by Alai-Rosales et al. (2009). Specifically, the present study taught parents a set of teaching strategies that included arranging the environment, setting up learning opportunities, and using positive reinforcement. Baseline-intervention conditions were replicated across four parent-toddler dyads in order to assess the effects of training on parent and child behaviors. Results indicated increases in parent teaching behaviors, the child targeted behavior (facial orientation), as well as a non-targeted skill, joint attention. Findings are discussed in relation to the challenges of intervention and considerations for future research.
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.
The purpose of this study was threefold: (a) to examine the separate effects of increased accuracy on multiple-choice/rank-order written tests and coaching on the teaching performance of participants; (b) to compare generalization across tasks produced by the workshop and coaching; and (c) to assess maintenance of teaching performance. Following baseline, two adults received a lecture on discrete trial teaching procedures. A written test measured verbal performance on workshop material periodically throughout this phase. During the next phase, each adult then experienced further training via in-situ coaching. A multiple baseline design across tasks was used during the coaching phase. Results of the workshop training package revealed an inverse relationship between the strongest verbal performance and strongest teaching performance skill areas. In addition, only with the introduction of the in-situ coaching package did teacher performance improve significantly across all behaviors. Child responding remained relatively constant throughout the study, regardless of teacher performance. Some generalization of teacher behavior was observed across tasks, but was extremely variable across both workshop and coaching conditions. After the cessation of coaching, teacher performance remained stable across maintenance phases and at a 6-week follow-up.
The purpose of this study was to examine the relation between stimulus equivalence (briefly, networks of relations among stimuli) and the extension of stimulus function (briefly, spread of effect across network) more closely than has been possible before. The traditional view of this relation suggests that equivalence classes mediate the extension of stimulus function and are, therefore, necessary for any extension to occur. This study used a preparation in which the conditional discriminations required for the development of equivalence classes and the simple discriminations required for the extension of function were trained or tested simultaneously. Results suggest that equivalence are not necessary for the extension of stimulus function though they may be sufficient.
Traditionally children with developmental disabilities who develop feeding issues can be at great risk for malnutrition. Failure to eat adequate amounts of food and/or insistence on eating a limited range of foods can be detrimental to a child's health and can lead to other behavioral difficulties. Feeding problems are difficult to treat because high levels of physical prompting can quickly create an aversion to eating as well as cause stress for both parents and children. Behavioral problems that range from moderate to extremely maladaptive can ensue. The question the present study addressed was whether or not a treatment package including only positive reinforcement and fading for a non-preferred food would result in independent eating of the targeted non-preferred food.
Siblings of children who have been diagnosed with autism can play important roles in the lives of their brothers or sisters. Previous literature shows that siblings can effectively change behavior and can increase play interactions. Furthermore, the use of preferred materials may enhance social interactions between the siblings. The purpose of this study was to determine, the effects that material preferences and choices have on sibling social bids and cooperative play during a sibling training program. There were two main objectives. The first objective was to evaluate the effects of teaching with the high preference toy of the neuro-typical sibling during sibling training. The second objective was to determine if the training would produce different effects across four different toy conditions. Measures included social bids made by each of the siblings and cooperative play. Results indicate that teaching with the neuro-typical siblings' high preference toy during sibling training can be an effective method to increase social bids and cooperative play. The results of this study are discussed in the contexts of preference and choice selections, physical environments, motor skills, carry over effects, and participations based on gender.
Self injurious behavior (SIB), such as self-biting and head-banging, has been reported to occur in approximately 10% of captive, individually housed primates (Novak, Kinsely, Jorgensen, and Hazen, 1998). Accounts of the causes of SIB range from environmental to physiological. However, to date, no researchers have investigated the possible influence of social consequences, delivered by handlers and keepers, in the maintenance of SIB. There is only one research report showing that self-injury can be shaped in primates by the manipulation of food as a reinforcing consequence for the animal's behavior. The current study investigated the effects of social contact as potentially reinforcing consequences for the SIB displayed by an olive baboon (Papio hamadryas anubis). Results indicated that the behavior was maintained by attention from humans. As treatment, reinforcement was arranged for an appropriate alternative attention-getting behavior, resulting in increases in the appropriate alternative behavior and decreases in SIB.
Children with autism often exhibit deficits in question-asking. This study replicated and extended Williams, Donley, and Keller.s (2000) training package: a modeling and reinforcement procedure to teach the use of 3 different questions about hidden objects. Two boys, aged 13 and 12, with primary diagnoses of autism, participated. A multiple baseline design across questions was used. Both children learned to ask all three questions: .What.s that?. .Can I see (item name)?. and .Can I have (item name)?. Question-asking generalized to novel locations, people, and stimulus materials with minimal additional training. These results support the efficacy of this training package as an efficient way to teach children with autism to ask questions about objects in their environment.
The relative efficacy of training procedures emphasizing accuracy versus those which add a rate criterion is a topic of debate. The desired learning outcome is fluent responding, assessed by measures of retention, endurance, stability, and application. The current study examined the effects of these two procedures on fluency outcomes using a matching-to-sample paradigm to train participants to match English to Japanese characters. An explicit FR-3 observing response was added to an accuracy-only condition to assess the extent to which it may facilitate learning. Total time spent responding in practice drills in accuracy-only conditions was yoked to total time spent in drills achieving rate aims in accuracy+rate (AR) conditions. One participant clearly demonstrated superior fluency outcomes after AR training while another displayed superior endurance and stability outcomes after such training. The remaining two participants did not demonstrate significantly different fluency outcomes across conditions.
Psychologists interested in the study of language find that people are faster at making decisions about words that are related than they are at making decisions about words that are not related – an effect called semantic priming. This phenomenon has largely only been document in laboratory settings using natural languages as contest and real words as stimuli. The current study explores the relation between the semantic priming effect and a laboratory procedure designed to give rise to performances that can be described as linguistic. Six adult participants learned to partition a collection of eight stimuli into two sets of four stimuli. Following this, the subjects showed the semantic priming effect within a set of stimuli but not across sets. These data suggest that it may be possible to study linguistic phenomenon in laboratory-based procedures allowing better control and the ability to ask very precise questions about linguistic functioning.
Earlier identification of autism allows for interventions to begin during toddlerhood. Literature suggests that parents are an important part of very early intervention and specific goals have indicated that they are important to progress. The use of telemedicine may increase access to interventions. The purpose of the study was to evaluate a parent-toddler training program that targeted social-communication skills and incorporated a telemedicine component. Measures included parent teaching targets, child attending, vocal requesting, and coordinated joint attention and the parent's response to coordinated joint attention. Results indicate that parent teaching increased, child attending and vocalizations increased, child coordinated joint attention increased, and the parent's response to coordinated joint attention was primarily social in nature. Analysis of the home observations indicates that direct in home observations or teleconference observations neither under or overestimated behaviors. The results are discussed in the context of teaching and feedback delivery and selection of teaching targets.
Previous research has shown that early and intensive behavioral interventions are an effective treatment for young children with autism resulting meaningful gains that can maintain over time. For behavioral treatments to be effective, service providers need to be competently trained in behavioral interventions through staff training. The purpose of the current study was to replicate and extend previous research by employing a more rigorous research design, and including measures of teaching units, and staff and child affect measures. The trainee was taught 150 skills. Training methods included descriptions, modeling, practice, and feedback. Results showed that the trainee acquired all skills while maintaining an increasing number of teaching units. Child and staff also maintained favorable affect as training progressed. In addition, staff reported the training as very effective and highly satisfactory. This shows that comprehensive training packages that comprise a large set of skills in real life treatment settings can result in benefits for the staff and children.
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.
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.
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.
Cooperation is an important area of investigation for behavior analysis. The prisoner’s dilemma game (PDG) provides a useful scenario for studying cooperation in a behavior analytic paradigm. The PDG can be coupled with the concept of the metacontingency to investigate how various contingency arrangements support and promote cooperation in a group. Players in this experiment participated in a PDG and, in some conditions, were given the ability to fine other players but could not talk. The goal of this experiment was to investigate how players’ ability to fine one another affected the players’ patterns of cooperation, and whether fining itself was affected by the addition of a shared group consequence. The data show that participants cooperated in some conditions, but the fines did not seem to affect players’ rates of cooperation.
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