Search Results

Advanced search parameters have been applied.
open access

Stimulus Equivalence and Competing Behavior: Individual Differences in Accuracy and Reaction Time

Description: The present study investigated how engaging in a behavior that is potentially incompatible with covert verbal behavior, singing aloud, affected the percent of correct responses and reaction time during equivalence tests as compared to engaging in a behavior considered compatible with covert verbal behavior, alternating foot tapping, during testing. Results varied between participants with some participants showing higher accuracies in the incompatible condition and some in the compatible condition. Performance in terms of accuracy and reaction time were correlated, with higher accuracies in the compatible condition being correlated with faster reaction times in the compatible condition. Limitations discussed include a low number of participants due to COVID-19, the covert nature of the behavior of interest, the length of time required to complete the experiment, and the challenges to monitoring the incompatible behavior due to social distancing requirements. Potential future research is discussed in light of these limitations.
Date: May 2021
Creator: Lovitz, Elizabeth
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Exploring the Efficacy of Percentile Schedules with the Amplitude of Muscular Contractions

Description: Percentile reinforcement schedules have been used to systematically alter inter-response times, behavioral variability, breath carbon monoxide levels, duration of social behaviors, and various other properties of behavior. However, none of the previous studies have examined the effectiveness of percentile schedules in relation to the magnitude of muscular contractions. This control over magnitude of muscular responding has important implications relating to the strengthening of muscles and correct movements for patients receiving physical rehabilitation. There would be great utility in percentile schedules that can be implemented in rehabilitation situations by physical therapists and patients themselves to improve treatment outcomes – all of which could be possible without any behavioral training if the procedure is implemented via body sensors and smartphone applications. Using healthy adults and the aforementioned technology, this thesis focused on the design and testing of three percentile reinforcement schedule procedures to increase the strength of the vastus medialis muscle. Results indicate that the magnitude of muscular responses can be shaped using body sensors and contingent feedback, and the percentile schedule procedures have promising applications in the domain of physical therapy.
Date: May 2022
Creator: Goodhue, Rob
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Induced Water Drinking during a Discrete Trial Procedure Using a Variable-Ratio Schedule of Reinforcement with a Canine

Description: Falk's pivotal 1961 study showed that rats would drink excessive amounts of water when exposed to a time based schedule of reinforcement. Since then, schedule-induced drinking or polydipsia, has been demonstrated with several species and with a variety of different behaviors. Rats, the most commonly used animal, have been shown to drink excessive amounts of water under a variety of different time based schedules of reinforcement; exclusively during a free operant procedure. The current study shows that water drinking can be induced during a discrete trial procedure, and instead of using a time-based schedule of reinforcement, this study used a variable-ratio schedule of reinforcement. The results showed that excessive water drinking was induced under these conditions with a canine.
Date: December 2018
Creator: Frier, Tracy
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Development and Disruption of Collateral Behavior and DRL Performances: A PORTL Exploration

Description: One schedule of reinforcement that is used to decrease the rate of a target behavior is differential reinforcement of low rates (DRL). During this schedule, reinforcement is delivered for a target response if it occurs after a certain amount of time has passed since the last instance of this target response. The current study used a table-top game called PORTL and college student participants to investigate how collateral patterns develop and are disrupted during DRL schedules. After the participant developed a collateral pattern of behaviors with the objects, the researcher removed one of the objects that was part of the pattern and waited for a new pattern of behaviors to develop. Once the participant developed a new collateral pattern, the researcher removed a second object. This continued until there was only one object present. Results showed that the rate of reinforcement decreased following the removal of each object, then slowly increased as a new pattern developed.
Date: December 2020
Creator: Herzog, Leah
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Investigating the Effects of Teaching on Response Allocation by Implementing a Changing Criterion Procedure

Description: The study of choice and allocation has often focused on certain parameters of reinforcement, but rarely on historical variables. The goal of this study was to investigate the potential effects of gradual vs. abrupt teaching methods on future response allocation. A secondary goal was to see if the results of teaching-method manipulations might be correlated with the parameters that the teaching method produced, specifically unit costs, rate of reinforcement, or error rates. Results indicate that these teaching procedures can produce transient shifts in allocation, but not in a consistent direction. Neither unit cost nor rate or reinforcement alone can account for observed response allocation shifts after training. Researchers saw that subjects reliably shifted towards a manipulanda that produced higher rates of errors, therefore investigating the influence that error rate (or types of errors) may have on response allocation may aid in general teaching method preferences. Future research could focus on the combination of historical procedural variables and current variables that could determine response allocation.
Date: August 2022
Creator: Krilcich, Rachel AnnaSoo
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Investigating the Role of Concurrent Verbal Behavior in a Rule-Shifting Scenario

Description: The present study evaluates the effects of incompatible verbal behavior when engaging in the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). The WCST is a complex task that requires participants to match stimulus cards based on self-generated rules. After a varying number of trials, the rule changes and the participant will have to self-generate a new rule. Verbal behavior, specifically joint control, is likely involved in rule-following. Seven participants took part in this study. Participants engaged in the WCST either silently or while performing a putatively incompatible behavior, counting backward from 100 to 0. Results suggest joint control might be involved as when participants engaged in the incompatible behavior their performance was affected in terms of lower accuracy and longer reaction times compared to the silent baseline.
Date: August 2022
Creator: Cutler, Jacquelyn Marie
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Exploring Functional Interdependence of Mands, Tacts, and Intraverbals after Brain Injury

Description: One goal of this study was to evaluate the emergence of mands and intraverbals following tact acquisition for individuals with aphasia due to acquired brain injury. A second goal was to evaluate the transfer of shortened latencies as a function of tact training across untrained operants. In Study 1, the dependent measure was accuracy of responding and in Study 2, the dependent measures were rate and latency of responding. Participants for Study 1 were two uninjured adults (pilot) and two adults with brain injury (ABI). Both sets of participants were directly taught to tact up to 6 stimuli. Once tacts were acquired, the response forms were assessed under mand and intraverbal conditions. All pilot participants and one ABI participant showed mand transfer for all stimuli. Tact to intraverbal transfer varied across participants. One adult with brain injury served as a participant for Study 2. Fluency training was used to teach tacts for 15 stimuli. Response latencies were gathered for all operants before and after training. The participant met the designated aim (rate of responding) and showed a decrease in latencies for tacts and untrained intraverbals. Changes in mand latencies varied. Fluency gains showed partial retention. Results from Study 1 provide further evidence for interdependence across operants during rehabilitative training. Results from Study 2 provide preliminary support for the utility of fluency training for verbal behavior after brain injury. Future research should explore the components of fluency training and their effects on the verbal behavior of individuals with ABI.
Date: August 2022
Creator: Baltazar-Mars, Marla
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

A Shaping Procedure for Introducing Horses to Clipping

Description: The purpose of the current study is to evaluate a procedure that can be used to introduce horses to clipping. Negative reinforcement was used in a shaping paradigm. Shaping steps were conducted by the handler, starting with touching the horse with the hand, then touching the horse with the clippers while they are off, culminating with touching the horse with the clippers while they are on. When a horse broke contact with either the hand or the clippers, the hand or the clippers were held at that point until the horse emitted an appropriate response. When the horse emitted an appropriate response, the clippers were removed, and the handler stepped away from the horse. For all eight horses, this shaping plan was effective in enabling the clipping of each horse with minimal inappropriate behavior and without additional restraint. The entire process took under an hour for each horse.
Date: December 2019
Creator: Hardaway, Alison K
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Equines Do Not Live for Grass Alone: Teaching Equines with Social Interaction

Description: Most horse training methods heavily rely on negative reinforcement and punishment. However, there is a movement in the horse community to utilize positive reinforcement to meet training goals. Although food has been used effective as a reinforcer with horses, social interaction has also been demonstrated to function as a positive reinforcer for animals. Utilizing social interaction as a reinforcer may lead to several benefits for both the trainer and animal. Some of the benefits can be improved relationships between animals and their caretakers and improved animal welfare. The purpose of this study was to apply Owens and Owens et al. previous research protocols to three equines to assess if social interaction, in the form of petting and gentle scratching, would function as a reinforcer. Using a changing criterion design, this study demonstrated that petting and gentle scratching could function as a reinforcer to teach three equines to stay and come in their natural environment.
Date: May 2020
Creator: Nishimuta, Maasa
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

The Effects of Instructions on Schedule Sensitivity

Description: There are many situations in which human performances appear insensitive to changing contingencies of reinforcement when compared to nonhuman operant performances. Explanations of these discrepancies have appealed to rule-governance and have provided some evidence that instructions produce these differences by restricting response alternatives as well as functioning as discriminative stimuli for other contingencies. In order to further evaluate these potential functions, a canonical study on rule-governance was systematically replicated. Five undergraduate participants were tasked with earning blocks by pressing a button during LED-signaled, fixed-ratio 7 and differential-reinforcement-of-low-rate 5-s schedules of reinforcement. Phase 1 of the experiment switched between these two schedules, with the schedule alternating every 1 minute. Phase 2 added instructions to "Go Fast" and "Go Slow" to the LEDs and programmed the lit LED to switch 30 seconds into each 1-minute session. Phase 3 removed the instructions from the LEDs and returned to the procedures of phase 1, with only one LED lit during each 1-minute session. Results showed that instructions influence the response rates as well as stimulus control over those rates. Results also showed that all participants ignored instructions conflicting with the reinforceable rate by the end of Phase 2. These findings indicate that instances of insensitivity may result from instructions restricting response alternatives and their stimulus control, as opposed to instructions signaling a second contingency. These findings are discussed in terms of the nature of instructional stimulus control, its relation to the operant unit of analysis, and alternative interpretations of other instances of insensitivity.
Date: May 2020
Creator: Butcher, Grayson M
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Use of a Virtual Reality Gaming System to Improve Balance in Individuals with Chronic Brain Injury

Description: Wii Fit U games utilize a Wii Balance Board™ (WBB) in a manner that can provide precise feedback contingencies similarly to some forms of balance rehabilitation, thereby potentially increasing the dose of quality therapy with or without the presence of a therapist during post-brain injury rehabilitation. Additionally, an engaging video-game could improve treatment adherence, a critical aspect of making positive functional gains, by potentially increasing the rate and quality of reinforcement embedded in therapy. The present study had three aims: (1) develop a rigorous behavioral therapy for improving balance in individuals living with chronic brain injury using a Wii Fit U game and the WBB; (2) evaluate the program's effects on balance measures using a within-subject experimental design; and (3) assess social validity of behavioral gains by evaluating the program's effects on participant's "subjective balance confidence" (i.e., their Activities-Specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scores). A reversal design is proposed for use with primary study participants, wherein the experimental gameplay condition and no intervention condition are alternated for 6 to 10 weeks. A similar design was used in a truncated fashion with pilot participants, and a multiple baseline design was used with follow-up pilot participants. It was expected that participants would exhibit greater performance in the game as well as better balance score improvement when the Wii Fit U game was administered at a high therapeutic dose, and that increased ABC scores would correlate with directly measured balance scores.
Date: May 2021
Creator: Cruz, Selena R
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

A Safe and Fast Deworming Procedure for Horses

Description: Most horse owners administer oral deworming medication to their horses on a set schedule, often six times per year. The deworming process involves using a plastic syringe to inject a thick paste into the horse's mouth. Most horse owners do not specifically train their horses to accept this procedure. Consequently, many horses resist the procedure and some horses engage in behaviors, such as head shaking, pulling away, or even rearing, that may be dangerous to humans or to themselves. This study used a negative reinforcement shaping procedure to train six horses to accept dewormer medication. The procedure consisted of a food sampling phase followed by three shaping phases that simulated the deworming task, first using only the experimenter's hand, then a small syringe, and finally a large syringe. Once the horse was acclimated to the syringe, the horse's preferred liquid food was delivered through the syringe at the end of each trial. By the end of the study, all participants successfully completed the procedure and were able to stand still with no or minimal head movements while being dewormed.
Date: May 2022
Creator: Ward, Jessica Lauren
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

The Effects of Contingency Type on Accuracy and Reaction Time

Description: Positive and negative reinforcement contingencies have been compared in terms of preference, but the differential effects of positive and negative reinforcement on reaction time and accuracy with other variables controlled remain unclear. Fifteen undergraduate students participated in a sound discrimination task that involved random mixed-trial presentations of positive and negative reinforcement contingencies. The participants' goal was to correctly identify whether the tone was shorter or longer than 600 milliseconds. On positive reinforcement trials, the participants received feedback and money tallies only if they identified the sound length correctly, with each correct response in the positive reinforcement trials earning the participant 10 cents. On negative reinforcement trials, the participants received feedback and money tallies only if they identified the sound length incorrectly, with incorrect trials subtracting 10 cents from the participants' total money (which began at $4.00 to equalize the weights of the positive and negative reinforcement contingencies). Accuracy analyses showed a relatively curvilinear relationship between the number of errors for each participant and the binned duration of the sound stimulus, with no differences across the positive and negative reinforcement conditions. Results also indicated weak linear negative correlations at the single subject level between comparison stimulus duration and reaction time, with similar slopes between positive and negative reinforcement trials, and strong curvilinear correlations at the group level, indicating differences between grouped and individual analyses. Overall our results appear to support abandoning the distinction between positive and negative reinforcement as two separate behavioral processes.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Adams, Owen James
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

An Evaluation of a Waiting Period and DRL on Reducing Mands serving as Precursors to Self-Injurious Behavior

Description: Extensive research has been conducted demonstrating the utility of differential reinforcement as an effective intervention for self-injurious behavior. However, the majority of this literature requires teaching an alternative response to access reinforcement. Further evaluation of treating self-injurious behavior in individuals that already possess the repertories to contact reinforcement appropriately. Prior to initiating the study, functional assessments were completed for both participant that demonstrated high-rate bursts of mands served as a reliable precursor to self-injurious behavior. In the present study, we evaluated a waiting period and differential reinforcement of low rate behavior on reducing mands while keeping self-injurious behavior at or near zero levels. Results indicated that shorter waiting periods and DRL values were effective at reducing mands and maintaining near zero levels of self-injurious behavior.
Date: May 2020
Creator: Baak, Sara Ann
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Induced “motivation”

Description: In the avian training community, a procedure has been utilized to maintain food reinforcer efficacy at high body weights. Elements of this procedure include limited holds and closed economies. To test this procedure, a baseline performance of keypecking on an FR 15 schedule at 80% ad lib weight for two pigeons was established. By imposing limited holds and a closed economy, rates of responding were increased compared to baseline, even while the pigeons were over 90% of their ad-lib body weights.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Becker, April Melissa
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Why Dance? The Effects of a Group Dance Period on Social Attending, On-Task Behavior, Affect, Stereotypical Behavior, and Disruptive Behavior of Clients of an Autism Treatment Program

Description: Dance is an enjoyable activity that children can engage in across the lifespan. Many children with autism have limited leisure activity, such as dance, and also have challenges in terms of overall health related to physical activity. Previous research suggests that there are both immediate and prolonged benefits of exercise. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effects of a group dance period on on-task behavior, social attending, affect, stereotypic behavior, and disruptive behavior of three girls diagnosed with autism. The experimenter employed a reversal to evaluate the effects of a "dance party" on a range of behaviors over time. During dance activities, staff and children danced as a group and were observed before and after the dance period. During baseline there was no dance party. While no differences were found across measures, the children did have high levels of favorable affect during the dance party. The results are discussed in the context of previous literature and directions for future studies.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Allen, Emerald Elizabeth
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

The Development of a Three Minute Realtime Sampling Method to Measure Social Harmony during Interactions between Parents and their Toddlers with Autism

Description: Training parents of a child with autism to increase the frequency of their child's social behavior may improve the quality of parent-child interactions. The purpose of this methodological study was to develop a direct observation method for rapidly sampling social harmony between parents and their toddlers with autism during parent training interactions. The current study used a pre and post probe design, with benchmark comparisons to test the discriminability of the measurement protocol across two sets of data. The first set of data came from pre and post training videos from a parent training program for children with a diagnosis of autism or at risk for a diagnosis. The second set of data came from videos of typically developing toddlers and their parents. The results of the study show that the measurement system differentiated in the level of harmonious engagement between the benchmark sample and the sample including children diagnosed with autism. The results are discussed in the context of future directions and the utility of the measurement system for behavior analytic practices in parent training and other settings where rapport and complex interactional behaviors are an intervention priority.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Cunningham, Isabel L.
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Variability in the Natural World: An Analysis of Variability in Preschool Play

Description: Children acquire many skills through play. These range from fine and gross motor skills, social skills, problem-solving, to even creativity. Creativity or creative engagement is frequently a component in early preschool curricula. A pivotal repertoire to engage in behaviors deemed creative, such as art, storytelling, problem-solving, and the like, is the ability to vary one's responses regardless of the specific repertoire. Researchers have developed methods to produce response variability. However, notwithstanding the significant contributions from the literature for prompting response variability, it remains unclear how much variation in responding is socially appropriate. To fill this research gap, the purpose of this study is to characterize and understand the different ways preschool children commonly interact with the activities and materials present in a preschool classroom. In our study, we assessed children's repeat item interactions, novel item interactions, and time allocation across seven concurrently available activity centers. A multifarious pattern for item interactions emerged across children. Some children had restricted levels of novel item and center interactions, while other children had more varied novel item and center interactions. However, the variance in interactions was predominantly controlled by the center type. This study bolsters our understanding of variability and creativity within a school setting, but more importantly, it informs the task of selecting goals for applied practice with children who have restricted play or interests.
Date: August 2020
Creator: Armshaw, Jared T
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

An Exploration of Cooperation during an Asymmetric Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma Game

Description: Researchers investigated how the contingent delivery of a cultural consequence on target culturants in an asymmetric iterated prisoner's dilemma game (IPDG) affected players' choices. The asymmetric IPDG creates an analogue to income disparities created by wage gaps and other cultural practices that create wealth inequalities between different members of the population and allows researchers to explore how these inequalities affect cooperation between players. Six undergraduate students divided into three dyads participated in an ABABCDCD reversal design. An asymmetric IPDG was arranged in Condition A and C such that one player received a greater number of points regardless of the second participants' selections - analogue to contingencies that produce income inequalities from wage gaps. In Condition B and D, a metacontingency was arranged such that delivery of a cultural consequence (CC; bonus points equally distributed among the dyad) was contingent on the oscillating production of target aggregate products (AP) across two consecutive cycles. When participants' coordinated responding and contacted the target AP→ CC relation, the wage gap was reduced. However, individual contingencies are in direct competition for the "wealthier" player, reducing the probability of cooperative responding. Results showed the CC selected certain oscillations between target APs resulting in a decrease of a point disparity between the players while also establishing equal points between the players during certain conditions.
Date: August 2020
Creator: Lopez, Carlos Ramiro
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

The Influences of a Topographically and Functionally Unrelated Operant on Response Allocation under Concurrent Continuous Reinforcement Schedules

Description: In the experimental analysis of behavior, response allocation is typically studied under concurrent interval schedules, with two response alternatives, in a static environment. The natural environment of the unfettered organism, however, is dynamic insofar as even frequently visited environments are rarely identical from encounter to encounter. Additionally, natural environments usually offer more than two concurrently available behaviors that are often scheduled for reinforcement contingent on rate of responding. The purpose of this study was to determine how the addition or removal of a third response alternative affected response allocation between two topographically dissimilar operants on independent concurrent ratio schedules in a dynamic environment. Results indicate that the addition of the third operant served to temporarily suppress response rates of the first two operants but had no or only minor and inconsistent effects on relative allocation. The reintroduction of the third operant in a new location again suppressed response rates in three of four subjects and slightly shifted response allocation for one subject. Highly individual anecdotal patterns could be seen in tangential observations of each of 4 subjects. The results suggest the possibility that new alternatives have temporary effects on response bias, and that these effects may be variable and dependent on details of individual history and stimulus control.
Date: December 2020
Creator: Davidson, Alex J
Partner: UNT Libraries

Exploring the Effects of Cultural Consequences Identified through a Ranking Task on the Interlocking Behavioral Contingencies of Ethically Self-Controlled Responses with Participants with Pre-Existing Relationships

Description: This study explored the effects of cultural consequences identified through a ranking task on the selection of interlocking behavioral contingencies and aggregate products constituting ethically self-controlled responses when participants had pre-existing relationships. Two experiments were conducted to explore these effects. Experiment 1 had two triads of three participants each recruited from a university-based autism center. Experiment 2 had three triads of three participants each; participants in Triads 3 and 4 were recruited from a university-based rock-climbing club while participants in Triad 5 were recruited from the same university-based autism center as in Experiment 1. All participants were exposed to a task that involved choosing odd or even rows from a matrix displayed throughout the experimental session. Individual contingencies were programmed in all conditions while metacontingencies were programmed in some conditions. Participants selected the topography of the cultural consequence through a pre-experimental ranking task prior to the onset of the experimental session. A change was made to the experimenter's verbal behavior in all operant and metacontingency conditions for Experiment 2. The results of both experiments indicate that identification of the cultural consequence through a ranking task with participants having pre-existing relationships did have an effect on the continued selection of the cultural consequence across all triads with quicker selection occurring during Experiment 2. This study extends the current literature on ethical self-control and provides new procedures and designs to further understand the variables involved in the selection of cultural consequences when there is competition with an immediate operant consequence.
This item is restricted from view until June 1, 2023.
Date: May 2022
Creator: Elwood, Chelsea Christina
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Selecting Variability in Interlocking Behavioral Contingencies

Description: The current study explored how the variability or lack thereof in interlocking behavioral contingencies (IBC) may be brought under contextual control. Four undergraduates (two dyads) students participated in the current study. Dyads were instructed to play a game on a computer screen with the goal to earn as many "Congratulations" as possible. An ABABAB reversal design was used. A Lag 1 schedule of cultural consequence delivery for IBC topography was set in the variability (VAR) condition. During the repeated (REP) condition only one IBC topography was reinforced. For one of the two dyads, the variability of IBC topography was brought under contextual control. It is important to explore the behavioral processes at the cultural level to understand prediction and control of cultural phenomena.
Date: December 2020
Creator: Urbina III, Tomas
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

A Preliminary Analysis of the Effects of a Training Program to Teach Skilled Dialogue to a Behavior Analyst Working in a Culturally Diverse Setting

Description: Diversity can serve as both a unifying force as well as grounds for intolerance of differences. Behavior analysts working in applied settings often encounter diversity and it is in these settings that meaningful relationships and harmonious collaboration are vital. Skilled dialogue has been recommended as an approach to capitalizing on diverse perspectives so that new solutions and meaningful relationships are developed. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effects of a training workshop to teach skilled dialogue to behavior analysts. The participant was trained to provide welcoming, allowing, sense-making, appreciating, joining, and harmonizing statements using instructions, rationales, models, role-plays, and feedback. The effects of the training workshop were evaluated using a multiple baseline design across training components. Audio responses to role-play scenarios were recorded, transcribed, and scored in order to assess the effects of the training workshop on communication skills. The results of the study indicated that this training workshop is an effective method to teach behavior analysts to engage in the components of skilled dialogue, hopefully contributing to harmonious collaborative communication in their work settings.
Date: December 2021
Creator: Reese, Ashlee Keisha-Nikol
Partner: UNT Libraries
Back to Top of Screen