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.
This study was a follow up to P. C. Dams' (1996) unpublished University of North Texas masters thesis, The effect of defect probability during training on inspection accuracy in a quality control simulation.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.
A longitudinal study of infants and their mothers was conducted to explore the development of imitation and approximations to imitation. During a 10-minute unstructured play session, researchers observed two mother-infant dyads once per week for twelve weeks, while they played at home. The data presented represents infants between the ages 5 and 34 weeks. The methodology employed was based on the methods described by Hart and Rilsey (1999). Observations were coded based on the topography of the mother's and infant's behavior and included vocalizations, facial movements, motor movements, and object manipulation. The data are analyzed and discussed in terms of its relevance to autism intervention.
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.
Expanding interests may be a behavioral cusp, resulting in widespread changes across skills, and therefore is particularly relevant in intervention programs for children with autism. Little research has addressed directly increasing the diversity of activities and interests for this population. This study describes a program developed to increase activities and interests in a girl dually-diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder (PDD-NOS) and Downs syndrome (DS). A multiple-baseline design across stimuli was employed to evaluate the program. The results show that the program increased number of total and different toy interactions. No effects were observed for overall duration of toy interactions. Results are discussed in relation to play skill instruction and preference assessment literature, the cusp, and autism intervention programs.
Aggression in dogs is a significant public health concern with 7.2 mortality cases per 100 million inhabitants and approximately 4.7 million dog bites annually. Canine aggression is typically viewed as a genetic trait and treated as pathology through the use of medical or respondent behavioral procedures. In this study the effects of the differential negative reinforcement of safe, alternative behaviors to aggression using distancing as the reinforcer were evaluated. The results demonstrated that even when the aggression was in evidence throughout most of the dog's lifetime, it responded quickly to changes in reinforcement contingencies.
Symmetry suppression was conducted for five subjects who demonstrated a tendency to derive equivalence relations based on conditional discrimination training in a match-to-sample procedure. Symmetry suppression was applied in three consecutive sessions in which symmetrical responses were suppressed for one stimulus class in the first condition, two stimulus classes in the second condition, and all three stimulus classes in the final condition. Symmetry suppression slowed the emergence of transitivity for two subjects and prevented it for the other three. Results indicated that unplanned features of stimulus configurations emerged as discriminative variables that controlled selection responses and altered the function of consequent stimuli. Disruption of cognitive development by conflicting contingencies in natural learning environments is discussed.
Important advancements have been made in the identification of reinforcers over the past decade. The use of preference assessments has become a systematic way to identify preferred events that may function as reinforcers for an individual's behavior. Typically, preference assessments require participants to select stimuli through verbal surveys or engagement with stimuli as preferred or non-preferred. Not all studies go on to directly test the effects of the preferred stimuli, and even fewer studies directly test for the effects of the non- preferred stimuli. The present study systematically identified preferred and non-preferred stimuli in adult human subjects by verbal report and then proceeded to test the effects of both verbally reported preferred and non preferred events on single and concurrent schedules of reinforcement. The results are discussed in terms of contemporary concerns regarding preference and reinforcer assessments.
This study evaluated the utility of structured descriptive assessment (SDA) to generate a hypothesis regarding the operant function of problem behavior when the analogue functional analysis (FA) failed to evoke problem behavior for an adult with developmental disabilities. The effectiveness of interventions based on that hypothesis was evaluated in the natural environment. The SDA succeeded in producing a relatively controlled baseline of problem behavior where the FA and direct observation could not. However, the extent to which treatment procedures affected problem behavior could not be determined due to confounding variables outside the control of the experimenter. The results provide cautionary evidence highlighting both the potential utility of SDA and challenges that may be encountered when conducting SDA and evaluating treatments in natural environments.
We examined the claim that equivalence classes contain all positive elements in a reinforcement contingency by asking whether negative stimuli in a reinforcement contingency will also form an equivalence class, based on their shared function as S-minus stimuli. In Experiment 1, 5 subjects were tested for equivalence for positive and negative stimuli. Testing of positive stimuli preceded testing of negative stimuli. Two of five subjects demonstrated equivalence for positive stimuli, and three subjects demonstrated equivalence for negative stimuli. In Experiment 2, order of testing was reversed. Four of six subjects demonstrated equivalence for positive stimuli, and none demonstrated equivalence for negative stimuli. In Experiment 3, positive and negative stimuli were tested together. Only one of five subject demonstrated equivalence for positive and negative stimuli. These data suggest that negative stimuli may enter an equivalence class, and so Sidman paradigm should be expanded. Order of testing was found as a meaningful variable.
Despite the central importance of conditional discriminations to the derivation of equivalence relations, there is little research relating the dynamics of conditional discrimination learning to the derivation of equivalence relations. Prior research has shown that conditional discriminations with simple sample and comparison stimuli are acquired faster than conditional discriminations with complex sample and comparison stimuli. This study attempted to replicate these earlier results and extend them by attempting to relate conditional discrimination learning to equivalence relations. Each of four adult humans learned four, four-choice conditional discriminations (simple-simple, simple-complex, complex-simple, and complex-complex) and were tested to see if equivalence relations had developed. The results confirm earlier findings showing acquisition to be facilitated with simple stimuli and retarded with complex stimuli. There was no difference in outcomes on equivalence tests, however. The results are in implicit agreement with Sidman's theory of stimulus equivalence.
This study analyzed the effects of a training package containing response constraint, self-evaluation, reinforcement, and a fading procedure on written letter components and whole letter writing in four elementary school participants. The effect on accuracy of written components was evaluated using a multiple-baseline-across components and a continuous probe design of components, as well as pre-test, baseline, and post-test measures. The results of this study show that response constraint and self-evaluation quickly improved students' performance in writing components. Fading of the intervention was achieved quickly and performance maintained. Results also show that improvement in component writing improved whole letter and full name writing and letter reversals in the presence of a model were corrected.
The effects of two consequence delivery methods on task acquisition were evaluated within a multi-element design. A typical 3 year-old child and a 4 year-old child with autism participated in this study. The task for both children was to select a picture after the experimenter said its name. The consequence in one condition consisted of the experimenter handing the edible item to the children. The consequence in the other condition consisted of the children retrieving the edible item directly from the apparatus, located in a crevice underneath each picture. Results show slightly quicker acquisition in the condition where children retrieved the edible consequence. However, it is possible that other variables had greater influence on the task acquisition.
The effects of timed readings on recall and comprehension in a child with Asperger's syndrome were examined by employing a multiple-baseline design across two books with reversals. Recall timings consisted of the student's free-say compilation of what she just read. Comprehension tests consisted of the participant's answers to predetermined questions after her recall period. No consequences or feedback was given during any of the conditions. Results indicate that, initially, as the time required to read decreased, the number of unrelated words during the recall period for the two books also decreased. Related words were not as affected. Scores on comprehension tests were high. There was, however, little correspondence between the participant's recall words and the main ideas answered correctly in the comprehension test.
Four elementary school children were tested on 120 words containing the short e (e.g., ten, pen) and short a (e.g., tan, pan) sounds. Words were tested in the hear-write (H/W) and see-say (S/S) channels. No programmed consequences were scheduled during baseline (BL) tests 1-3. After BL, an error analysis categorized words based on channel error and topography of error. Praise was delivered during tests 4-6 for correct responses. Children's responses were variable within channel and across channels for a majority of words. By the end of the praise phase, there was a decrease in the number of words with errors, for all children in their error word group. Error topographies began to stabilize for some words during praise.
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.
The purpose of this experiment was to compare the effects of combining negative reinforcement and positive reinforcement during teaching with the effects of using positive reinforcement alone. A behavior was trained under two stimulus conditions and procedures. One method involved presenting the cue ven and reinforcing successive approximations to the target behavior. The other method involved presenting the cue punir, physically prompting the target behavior by pulling the leash, and delivering a reinforcer. Three other behaviors were trained using the two cues contingent on their occurrence. The results suggest that stimuli associated with both a positive reinforcer and an aversive stimulus produce a different dynamic than a situation that uses positive reinforcement or punishment alone.
The present study contributes an apparatus and research paradigm useful in generating human performances sensitive to concurrent schedules of reinforcement. Five participants produced performances observed to be under temporal and ratio control of concurrent fixed interval-fixed ratio schedules. Two aspects of interaction between FI and FR schedules were distinguishable in the data. First, interaction between two schedules was observed in that changes in the value of one schedule affected behavior reinforced on another schedule. Second, switching from one pattern to the other functioned as an operant unit, showing stability during schedule maintenance conditions and sensitivity to extinction. These effects are discussed in the context of current views on behavior under concurrent schedules of reinforcement, and some implications for the conceptualization, measurement, analysis, and treatment of complex behavior are presented.
There is disagreement among clicker trainers on whether or not food should be delivered every time the clicker (conditioned reinforcer) is used. However, presenting a conditioned reinforcer without food can weaken the strength of the conditioned reinforcer and also disrupt its discriminative stimulus function. A within subjects reversal design was used with 2 dogs to compare the behavioral effects of continuous pairings (C+F condition) vs. intermittent pairings (C+C+F condition) of the clicker with food. Results show that the C+C+F condition affects the frequency, accuracy, topography, and intensity of the behavior, and increases noncompliance and other unwanted behaviors. This study adds to the literature by evaluating the effects of conditioned reinforcement in an applied setting using discrete trials without undergoing extinction.
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.
This study investigates the effectiveness of response preclusion on stereotypic behavior (climbing and licking) and on play for a child with autism. Data were collected on stereotypic responses, play behavior, and the types of play materials the participant contacted. Implementation of response preclusion was followed by both a decrease in stereotypic behavior as well as an increase in play behavior. Play behavior did not return to baseline levels of responding during reversals to baseline, and stereotypic behavior decreased across reversals. These results suggest the current antecedent manipulation not only reduces stereotypic behavior, but also can establish an environment that is more conducive to learning new, desired behavior.
The prevalence of Alcohol Use Disorders is rapidly increasing among college students. The use of real time monitoring in conjunction with contingency management procedures to reduce alcohol consumption has only recently been developed. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to learn more about natural patterns of alcohol consumption in college-aged adults. A second goal was to evaluate a novel, handheld technology for obtaining reliable samples over extended time periods. College students were given a SoberLinkTM SL2 breathalyzer for eight weeks to monitor their drinking behaviors and asked to self-report the number of drinks consumed each day. Participants received one to three text messages per day to provide breath samples and earned monetary rewards for submitting samples within the allotted time. The results of this study showed that college students tend to consume alcohol during the evening hours and mostly on the weekends. There was a weak to medium correlation between average breath alcohol concentration and conditional average drinks. Compliance with prompts ranged between 77 and 84 percent and monetary earnings ranged between $152 and $160. Naturalistic observations of college drinking may aid in the development of interventions to prevent excessive drinking and the SL2 breathalyzer may have great potential to be used in a number of therapeutic approaches.
Social deficits are one of the defining symptoms of autism spectrum disorder and affect a child’s ability to build relationships with others. These deficits put children with autism at a disadvantage when most of their world is focused on building connections with others – family, friendships, and community ties. Sunny Starts, a service-learning project, was created to specifically meet the needs of families with young toddlers with autism. The primary focus of Sunny Starts is to enhance the quality of the parent-child relationship by teaching parents a basic teaching interaction and to arrange the child’s environment in ways that are mutually reinforcing. The purpose of this experiment is to study the effects of the Sunny Starts DANCE training package, a responsive parent training program, on three levels of parent and child behaviors: 1) teaching episodes, 2) turn taking, social attending, vocal requests, and 3) synchronous engagement. Participants included two parent-child dyads. Parent training included 5-minute video assessments, video review, descriptions, rationales, modeling, practice, and feedback. The effects of the parent training were evaluated using a concurrent multiple baseline across participants. Results indicate parent teaching episodes and child behaviors (turn taking, social attending, and verbal requests) increased during the intervention phase. The duration of parent-child synchronous engagement maintained at high levels and slightly increased.
We conducted a contingency analysis to evaluate if a sequential relation between social initiations and positive social responses increased for both therapists and children with autism following a conditioned reinforcement procedure. Participants included child-therapist dyads, which were previously identified as having low rapport. These dyads were observed prior to and following an intervention designed to establish therapists' social behavior as a reinforcer. Sessions consisted of unstructured play between the therapist and child. Results from a Yule's Q analysis show that both the child and adult positive responding to the others' social initiations increased following the intervention. Findings highlight the reciprocal effects of therapist-child interactions as well as the effectiveness of establishing social attention as a reinforcer via an operant discrimination training procedure.
Staff training packages combining instructions, modeling, practice, and feedback have been shown to be effective in demonstrating skills to work in early intensive behavioral intervention, but maintenance and generalization of the skills trained are often not addressed. Establishing a community of practice, in which staff members continue to learn and develop new skill sets from one another through shared experiences and information, may lead to the endurance and maintenance of desired staff behavior over time. The purpose of the current study is to evaluate the effects of a behaviorally designed community of practice on staff use of socially embedded consequences. The effects of the training procedure were evaluated using a concurrent multiple baseline design across two sites (7 staff members). The results suggest that the behaviorally planned community of practice was effective in reinforcing and maintaining staff use of socially embedded consequences for at least 5 to 9 weeks. Additionally, the number of learning opportunities provided by the staff and social engagement between staff and child increased.
Sidman's (2000) theory of stimulus equivalence predicts an interaction between the development of analytic units and the development of equivalence relations. Previous research has documented these interactions (stewart, Barnes-Holmes, Roche, & Smeets, 2002; Vaidya & Brackney, 2014), therefore the current study attempted to replicate the effects seen in Vaidya & Brackney, 2014 (Experiment 2). Baseline conditional discriminations were trained for two sets of three, three-member classes, while participants simply observed stimuli in the third set which was arranged identical to those of Sets 1 and 2. Following equivalence tests where performance met the accuracy criterion of 85% for Sets 1 and 2, participants then entered a simple successive discrimination training phase where common responses were then trained with an equivalence class (pressing the Q key in the presence of A1, B1, or C1), cross equivalence classes (pressing the R key in the presence of A4, A5, or A6), or for stimuli where the participants had experience with them, but the contingencies were never arranged to facilitate equivalence class formation. Results showed a facilitative effect for common responses drawn from within equivalence classes (Set 1), and a retardation effect for common responses drawn from across equivalence classes (Set 2), for three of the five participants. Results for Set 3 showed an acquisition that fell intermediate to that of Sets 1 and 2, respectively, suggesting an interaction occurring between existing equivalence relations and the development of analytic units.
Reinforcer assessments have largely relied on the use of progressive ratio (PR) schedules to identify stimuli that function as reinforcers. PR schedules evaluate the reinforcing efficacy of a stimulus by measuring the number of responses produced in order to access a stimulus as the number of required responses increases. The current evaluation extends the literature on reinforcer assessments by measuring responding under a progressive force (PF) schedule, in addition to progressive ratio requirements. We compared responding under PR and PF schedules with two children with autism using a multielement design embedded within a reversal experimental design. Results were mixed and implications for further development of reinforcer assessment methods (particularly PF schedules) are discussed.
The current study examines anecdotal assessment, functional analysis, and treatment outcomes from 44 participants. Agreement across Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS), Questions About Behavioral Function (QABF), and Functional Analysis Screening Tool (FAST) assessments, agreement between those anecdotal assessments and functional analyses, and agreement between those anecdotal assessments and treatment outcomes were analyzed across maintaining variables and topography categories of challenging behaviors. Overall, the QABF had the highest agreement results with functional analyses and treatment with 70% and 92% of cases respectively. Patterns in the distribution of maintaining variables was examined across behavior topography categories.
This study examined the effects of fluency-based instruction on the identification of six component-composite relations for early reading skills. Five participants (ages 5-8) who struggled with reading participated. A multiple probe design was used to assess the effects of frequency building on prerequisite skills on the emergence of composite reading skills. The results show that the prerequisite skills taught did not have an effect on the composite skill probes but did have an effect on the assessment scores. The data expand the research pertaining to Precision Teaching, fluency-based instruction, and component-composite relations. These data suggest that additional skills may be needed to be taught in order to effects on the composite skills. In addition, these authors identify the need for the identification of the component skills necessary to teach rapid autonomic naming.
Several evidence-based procedures based upon operant learning principles have been developed to teach language, and for young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), naturalistic interventions are commonly implemented as they are both effective and developmentally appropriate. The current investigation compared contingent responsive intervention and combined intervention on the effects of language use in four children diagnosed with ASD. Results suggest that a combined intervention procedure increases target language and requests in children with simplified language (e.g., one-word phrase) as well as complex language (e.g., simple sentences).
A conditional discrimination training procedure was used to establish stimulus-stimulus relations that might lead to the emergence of relations that define playing by ear. The participants were four college students. Overall, the results varied across participants. Of the 3 participants who received Training 1 (hear-note-name/select-key), all 3 participants acquired that relation. Out of those 3 participants, 2 participants showed emergence of the hear-see-key-pressed/say-note-name relation after Training 1. Of the 3 participants who received Training 2, (hear-note-name/select-tone), 2 participants acquired that relation for at least one set. Out of those 3 participants, 1 participant showed emergence of the hear-tone/say-note-name relation. One out of three participants was successful in correctly playing a sequence of four notes by ear at the end of the study. One participant did not complete the study due to availability conflicts. The overall results can suggest that the relations used in this study should be taken into account when training someone to play by ear. However, the current data do not allow us to conclude whether it is necessary to teach or test all of these relations in order to teach playing by ear.
Superstitions flourish in cultures around the word and in everyday life. Superstitions are so prevalent and influence personal and political decisions, therefore, we sought to develop a classroom demonstration of superstitious behavior that could be used to show quickly and effectively how powerful adventitious reinforcement could be in modifying behavior. An online game was developed and played by one hundred thirteen university students enrolled in a class on critical thinking. Participants gained points (reinforcement) arbitrarily during either 25% or 50% of each game's (A or B) 3 minute duration. Although points were non-contingent, students often engaged in superstations rules or patterns. Results of both self-reports and computer generated data showed, the games were successful in producing superstitious behavior patterns in about 50% of our participants. More students showed superstitious behavior in the 50% game than in the 25% game. We conclude that this is due to the higher reinforcement rate of in 50% game. For future studies, rearranging the stimulus array into a pattern that does not itself strongly control behavior could help refine the results.
There is a significant body of literature stating that caffeine is the most widely consumed drug in the world, yet its effects on operant behavior are little understood. Some of the current research on caffeine suggests that it may play a role in altering motivational states related to transitions between previous and upcoming work requirements. The purpose of the current study was to examine the effects of caffeine on postreinforcement pausing during transitions between small and large fixed ratio rudiments. Eight rats were exposed to five doses of caffeine and and a two-component multiple schedule. We found that caffeine does systematically alter the length of pausing during transitions between fixed ratio requirements, however the magnitude of the effect may be dependent on the baseline rate of responding.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Negative reinforcement can be a powerful tool for behavior analysts, yet it is often overlooked as a treatment method. Pryor (1999) outlines a method for approaching a "timid" animal using a combination of negative reinforcement and positive reinforcement. When the animal stands still, the human operates a clicker, and then retreats from the animal. Gradually, the human moves closer to the animal through the clicking and retreating shaping process. Once the human is standing close enough, food may be offered as a positive reinforcer, and the negative reinforcer is canceled out. The purpose of this study was to experimentally demonstrate the click-retreat technique with cows. A multiple-baseline design across subjects was used to test this technique. Results show that the click and retreat technique was effective. Results are discussed in terms of the difference between the click-retreat technique and systematic desensitization.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sidman's (2000) theory of stimulus equivalence states that all positive elements in a reinforcement contingency enter an equivalence class. The theory also states that if an element from an equivalence class conflicts with a programmed reinforcement contingency, the conflicting element will drop out of the equivalence class. Minster et al. (2006) found evidence suggesting that a conflicting element does not drop out of an equivalence class. In an effort to explain maintained accuracy on programmed reinforcement contingencies, the authors seem to suggest that participants will behave in accordance with a particular partitioning of the equivalence class which continues to include the conflicting element. This hypothesis seems to explain their data well, but their particular procedures are not a good test of the notion of "dropping out" due to the pre-establishment of equivalence classes before the conflicting member entered the class. The current experiment first developed unpartitioned equivalence classes and only later exposed participants to reinforcement contingencies that conflicted with pre-established equivalence classes. The results are consistent with the notion that a partition developed such that the conflicting element had dropped out of certain subclasses of the original equivalence class. The notion of a partitioning of an equivalence class seems to provide a fuller description of the phenomenon Sidman (1994, 2000) described as "dropping out" of an equivalence class.
Effective and efficient training strategies are needed to provide training to novel therapists whom provide early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) services to young children with autism. We evaluated the effects of interactive computer-based training (ICT) on novice therapists' implementation of two, common EIBI instructional techniques: discrete-trial instruction (DTI) and naturalistic instruction. Results demonstrated that ICT improved trainees' instructional fidelity during role-plays with a confederate for DTI instruction and also with a child with autism for both DTI and naturalistic instruction. As a result, the requirement for supervisor feedback on performance was minimized. In addition, results suggest that child language improved as a result of improved therapist performance.
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