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A Behavioral Economic Analysis of Different Reinforcers: Sound-Clips Versus Points Exchangeable for Money

Description: Human operant studies frequently use points exchangeable for money as reinforcers. Some studies employ more immediately consumable reinforcers to emulate properties of food reinforcers. This study examined demand for points/money and for sound-clips to compare their economic characteristics. Across four participants, demand was often higher and less elastic for points/money than for sounds. During subsequent exposures at each response requirement, demand for sounds often decreased to a greater degree than demand for points/money. Thus, sound-clips seem less durable than points/money across prices and across repeated exposure to the same price. Response rates for points/money were often higher than for sounds, suggesting that reinforcers that generate higher response rates may be less elastic than reinforcers that generate lower response rates.
Date: December 2000
Creator: Alvey, Debi A.
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Behavioral Economic Analysis of the Demand for Money in Humans

Description: This study investigated the effects of unit price structure, unit price descriptions, and unit price sequence on the demand for money in humans. Six groups of 3 participants solved multiplication problems in exchange for money under various unit prices. Consumption of money decreased as the unit price increased across all conditions. However, the data also showed that: (a) fixed price structures produced slightly more elastic demand than did variable price structures, (b) price descriptions produced more elastic demand under variable price structures but had little or no effect under fixed price structures, and (c) the alternate sequence used with fixed price structures produced slightly more elastic demand.
Date: December 2000
Creator: Reyes, Jorge R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effects of Shaping and Instruction-based Procedures on Behavioral Variability during Acquisition and Extinction

Description: 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.
Date: December 1999
Creator: McCary, Donald
Partner: UNT Libraries

Elasticity of Money as a Reinforcer: Assessing Multiple Compositions of Unit Price

Description: 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.
Date: December 1999
Creator: Viken, Kjetil
Partner: UNT Libraries

Effects of Goal Setting, E-mail Feedback and Graphic Feedback on the Productivity of Public School Attendance Clerks

Description: 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.
Date: August 2000
Creator: Rexroat, Robin D.
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Attempt to Dissociate Effects of Response Requirements and Sample Duration in Conditional Discrimination Learning with Pigeons.

Description: Attempts to control various aspects of response requirements and sample viewing durations of sample stimuli show that an increase in both facilitates acquisition of conditional discriminations. Despite these attempts, few empirical data exist that demonstrate the relative contributions of both response- and time-dependent schedules. In addition, viewing opportunities of sample stimuli are present outside of the researchers' control, allowing for 'unauthorized sample viewing.' This study employed a titrating delay matching-to-sample procedure to systematically control various aspects of response requirements and sample viewing durations to independently assess their relative contributions towards conditional discrimination performance. Four pigeons worked on a titrating delay matching-to-sample procedure in which the delay between sample offset and comparison onset continuously adjusted as a function of the accuracy of the pigeons' choices. Results show sample viewing durations contribute most toward conditional discrimination performance. The data show 'unauthorized sample viewing' improved acquisition of conditional discriminations and should be a consideration in design of future research.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Levine, Joshua
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Behavioral Economic Analysis of the Effects of Unit Price Sequence on Demand for Money in Humans.

Description: Three groups of participants were exposed to different unit price sequences. Unit prices for all groups ranged from unit price 1 to 21. Analyses of demand curves, response rates, session duration, and elasticity coefficients suggest that the sequence of exposure to unit prices can affect the elasticity of demand. In addition, the size of unit price contrast, direction of unit price change, and proximity to experimental milestones also may affect the consumption of monetary reinforcers.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Williams, Jack Keith
Partner: UNT Libraries

Improving Performance in a Global Logistics Company: Operational Performance Before and After Process Improvement

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of an intervention designed to eliminate damage notification failures in a customer-specific standard operating procedure used by a global logistics company. Process maps identified locations in the process where damage notification failures could most likely occur. A revised process was designed overnight to eliminate as many notification failure points as possible. In addition, a job aid was included to help facilitate the process change for the drivers. The results of the intervention showed a rapid and profound decrease in damage notification failures leading to the retention of a large, profitable account with a minimal initial investment of time and money.
Date: December 2004
Creator: Dearman, Shawn Kale
Partner: UNT Libraries

Shaping Cows' Approach to Humans Using Positive and Negative Reinforcement

Description: 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.
Date: May 2005
Creator: Morehead, Melissa L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Generalized identity matching in the pigeon: Effects of extended observing- and choice-response requirements.

Description: Four experimentally naïve white Carneau pigeons learned to match three colors to each other in a variant of an Identity matching-to-sample procedure with an FR20 on samples and a response-initiated FI8-s on comparisons. In Experiment 1, the extent to which subjects were matching on the basis of identity was assessed by presenting, in extinction, test trials comprising novel stimuli serving as the sample (and matching comparison) or as the nonmatching comparison. The results from Experiment 1 suggested intermediate or little to no transfer on the basis of identity. Experiment 2 reassessed transfer on the basis of identity with differential reinforcement on the test trials. Under these conditions, two of the four birds demonstrated substantially better than chance levels of performance. These data imply that while the extended response requirements may be necessary, other procedural aspects may be responsible for generalized identity matching in the pigeon.
Access: This item is restricted to UNT Community Members. Login required if off-campus.
Date: August 2005
Creator: Hayashi, Yusuke
Partner: UNT Libraries

Clarifying Variables associated with Problem Behaviors Using Structured Descriptive Assessment

Description: This study evaluated the utility of a structured descriptive assessment (SDA) as an alternative method of functional assessment. Initially, an analogue functional analysis, conducted to assess the problem behavior of two adults with developmental disabilities, produced inconclusive results. Subsequently, SDAs was conducted in the individuals' natural environment with the direct-contact caregivers acting as therapists. This assessment manipulated antecedent variables similarly to the analogue functional analysis but allowed for consequences to occur naturally. The results from SDAs suggested that problem behaviors, for both participants, were occasioned by removal of personal items and maintained by their return. Treatments based on the results of SDAs were implemented in a reversal design and resulted in a notable reduction in the occurrences of problem behavior for both participants. These outcomes suggest that SDA procedures may be useful when results from the analogue functional analysis are inconclusive.
Date: August 2005
Creator: McAllister, Amanda Jo
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effect of Verbal and Graphic Feedback on Direct Care Trainers' Data-Tecording Behavior

Description: This study investigated the effects of verbal and graphic feedback alone and in combination with praise on the data-recording behavior of 12 direct care trainers (DCTs) who recorded their reinforcer deliveries as they interacted with mentally retarded clients. An additional variable examined was the effect of time of delivering feedback on subsequent data-recording behavior. Feedback was delivered by the experimenter. Correspondence checks were conducted and a three-phase multiple condition experimental design was used. All feedback conditions produced an observable difference in DCT data-recording behavior. Time of delivery of feedback also appeared to have an effect on the amount of data recorded by DCTs.
Date: May 1994
Creator: Morris, Timothy Jewlon
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Constructional Canine Aggression Treatment: Using a Negative Reinforcement Shaping Procedure With Dogs in Home and Community Settings.

Description: 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.
Date: December 2007
Creator: Snider, Kellie Sisson
Partner: UNT Libraries

An evaluation of two performance pay systems on the productivity of employees in a certified public accounting firm.

Description: This study examined the effects of switching from an incentive pay system solely based on productivity to a scorecard-based incentive pay system. Performance of staff and senior accountants was analyzed across three departments for a two-year baseline and a three-year intervention period. Results showed that percent of charge hour goal remained high during the study. Once the scorecard-based incentive system was implemented, performance on the other line items increased or remained at or above goal levels. Incentive payouts were generally higher under the second incentive plan than under the first for top performers. Possible explanations for data trends, weaknesses of the measures within the scorecard, measure/line item alternatives and implications for future research are also discussed.
Date: December 2005
Creator: Shelton, Bryan
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

Description: Behavioral economic theory describes a relation between response requirement and magnitude of reinforcement, and combines these variables into one independent variable (unit price) affecting operant behavior. This study investigated the relative effects of cumulative feedback on consumption for money as a commodity. Subjects were exposed to ranges of unit prices with or without a cumulative feedback bar on the computer screen indicating monetary earnings. For all participants in this study, consumption of money was a decreasing function of unit prices and the results from the present study are consistent with the behavioral economic prediction that increasing the unit price of a commodity will decrease consumption of that commodity. Analyses of demand curves, elasticity coefficients and response rates suggested differences between Feedback and No Feedback groups, although these were small and not statistically significant. The small differences observed were consistent with a behavior strengthening effect of feedback.
Date: May 2001
Creator: Bailey, Kathleen
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

Description: The case study described in this thesis involves a process improvement project in the Tax Department of a Certified Public Accounting firm. A process map was created by interviewing employees involved in the process. A process analysis identified problems and possible solutions. The Partners in the firm decided to streamline the process for simple tax returns in order to make them more profitable. This study examined what impact, if any, the process improvement intervention had on key financial and operational measures. Results indicated that the tax returns prepared in the new process were faster, cheaper, and more profitable. This study indicates that organizations conducting process improvement interventions can beneficially affect key financial and operational measures.
Date: December 2000
Creator: Chhabra, Meeta Kaur
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

Description: Methods for the determining the functional properties of problem behaviors are necessary for the design of successful treatments. Many of the currently utilized methodologies are chosen based on their speed, ease of application or for the perceived risk-reduction they afford. However, when thoroughly analyzed many of these methods fall short of their intended purpose. The current study attempted to assess dangerous problem behavior through a functional assessment of functionally related precursor behaviors during analog sessions. Results indicate that for three participants, placing the reinforcing contingencies on these related precursor behaviors produced differentiated outcomes during the assessment. These outcomes matched the outcomes of assessments of the more dangerous problem behaviors.
Date: May 2001
Creator: Churchill, Robert
Partner: UNT Libraries

Second-Order Conditional Control of Members of an Equivalence Class

Description: 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.
Date: August 1997
Creator: Cammilleri, Anthony Peter
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Comparison of Points Versus Sounds as Reinforces in Human Operant Research

Description: 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.
Date: August 1999
Creator: Rouse, Susan L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

On the Relation between Stimulus Equivalence and Extension of Stimulus Function

Description: 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.
Access: This item is restricted to UNT Community Members. Login required if off-campus.
Date: May 2004
Creator: Hartman, Carrie
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effects of Response Restriction on Non-Socially Maintained Self-Injury

Description: 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.
Access: This item is restricted to UNT Community Members. Login required if off-campus.
Date: May 2003
Creator: Blevins, Travis
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effects of Biofeedback and Verbal Feedback on the Training and Maintenance of Diaphragmatic Breathing

Description: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a computer program on the training and maintenance of diaphragmatic breathing. The biofeedback portion was visual computer training and the results were displayed concurrently with participants' breathing responses to monitor display. The verbal feedback portion was praise that was given and recorded when participants responded with predominantly diaphragmatic breathing at the scheduled moment and response instruction that was given when participants responded with predominantly thoracic breathing. The results of this study indicate the computer program's effectiveness needs to be increased by supplementation with verbal feedback.
Date: May 2003
Creator: Armstrong, Earl E.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Suppressive effects of a stimulus correlated with reprimands for automatically-maintained eye poking.

Description: 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.
Access: This item is restricted to UNT Community Members. Login required if off-campus.
Date: May 2003
Creator: McKenzie, Scott Daniel
Partner: UNT Libraries

Mediated Generalization of the Effect of Reprimands Across Two Topographies of Self-Injury

Description: This study sought to assess the effects of pairing a neutral stimulus with a reprimand contingent on occurrences of two topographies of problem behavior. Using a multiple baseline withdrawal with a nested multi-element design, contingencies were first applied to eye poking and, subsequently, to a second behavior, skin picking. In each case, the participant wore wristbands (a previously neutral stimulus) during treatment sessions. Results indicated that the reprimands were effective in decreasing both behaviors. In addition, when skin picking resulted in reprimands, eye poking also decreased. However, when reprimands were contingent on eye-poking, the effects did not appear to generalize to skin-picking. Some possible accounts for this asymmetrical pattern of generalization are discussed.
Date: May 2004
Creator: Kliethermes, Lana L.
Partner: UNT Libraries