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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
open access

Adolescent Goals and Their Reports of What They do to Achieve Those Goals

Description: 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.
Date: May 2000
Creator: Lucky, Derek
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

The Effects of Interspersed Trials and Density of Reinforcement on Accuracy, Looking Away, and Self-Injurious Behavior of a Child with Autism

Description: 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.
Date: May 2000
Creator: Ybarra, Rita
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Topographical analysis of reinforcement produced variability: Generalizations across settings and contingencies.

Description: This study evaluated the effects of programming a variability contingency on one object and the generalization of variability across other objects and contingencies when the defining features of the variable responses were topographical differences. A dog's interactions with five different objects were measured under both ANY (where any physical contact with the object would be reinforced on a fixed ratio schedule) and the VAR contingencies (where only the novel responses per trial would be reinforced). The ANY contingency produced stereotyped responding of behavior with all objects. When one of the dog-object interactions was changed to the VAR contingency, a marked decrease in stereotypic behavior and an increase in novel responses in the form of topographical combinations were observed across both contingencies.
Date: August 2007
Creator: Gomez, Francisco
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.
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Date: May 2003
Creator: Blevins, Travis
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

The Effects of Fluency-Based Instruction on the Identification of Component Reading Skills

Description: 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.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Bandy, Darren
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Post-Hoc Analysis of Challenging Behavior by Function: A Comparison of Multiple-Respondent Anecdotal Assessments, Functional Analyses, and Treatments

Description: 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.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Dignan, Kathleen
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

Constructional Fear Treatment for Dogs in Shelters

Description: Of the approximately 3.9 million dogs that enter US animal shelters each year, many exhibit behaviors related to fear, which can affect their likelihood of adoption. Current dog training procedures to treat fear include counterconditioning and desensitization, which can often take months or years to show any behavior change and do not teach specific behaviors aimed to increase the dog's chance of being adopted. The current study used a negative reinforcement shaping procedure to teach fearful dogs to approach and and interact with people. The results showed that constructional fear treatment increased the amount of time the dog spent at the front of the kennel, and increased sniffing, tail wagging, and accepting petting for all 3 participants.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Katz, Morgan
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

The Correspondence between Receptive and Expressive Task Performances: A Further Analysis of Necessary Conditions

Description: This study was a replication and an extension of the 2021 research performed by Spurgin and Borquez on the correspondence between receptive and expressive behavior. Spurgin examined the role of the echoic in a hear-say procedure with adult learners, while Borquez examined the role of the echoic in both hear-say and see-say procedures. Both studies found that receptive and expressive correspondence did not occur consistently across participants. The present study asked if the fading steps used during training contributed to the results of the previous researchers. In the present study, the fading steps were changed to minimize the chance that the participant developed a position bias. The conditions were also counterbalanced to analyze the effects of hear-say vs. see-say, easy vs. difficult words, and the order in which the words were trained on the acquisition of receptive labels and the emergence of expressive labels. The study consisted of five phases: pre-training, hear-say teaching, see-say teaching, receptive testing, and expressive testing. Results indicated that although that acquisition of receptive labels improved, the change in fading steps did not make a significant difference in the correspondence of receptive and expressive language. Results showed similar correspondence in the hear-say and see-say procedures. Easy words and words taught more recently were correlated with increased receptive-expressive correspondence.
Date: December 2021
Creator: Nachawati, Noor
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Evaluating the Effects of the D.A.N.C.E Training System on Staff and Child Responding

Description: The purpose of this study was to evaluate and systematically replicate the effectiveness of the DANCE training for a staff member to be an effective change agent for the children in her care, while maintaining the organization's and family's values. The study was conducted in an organization that values and focuses on building rapport, avoids the use of coercive procedures, and teaches children in a caring and meaningful way. A multiple baseline across indoor and outdoor settings was used to evaluate the effects of the package. Results demonstrated that DANCE training was an effective procedure to teach a staff member how to increase teaching interactions. Harmonious engagement, instructional engagement and vocal approximations also increased while challenging behavior maintained at zero levels.
Date: December 2019
Creator: Morales, Erendira
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

The Emergence of Receptive and Expressive Language through Stimulus-Specific Consequences

Description: An important question in teaching language is, what accounts for the emergence of either receptive or expressive labels when teaching only one of them? The teaching procedures in the present study were intended to reproduce the natural development of bidirectional naming in which caregivers comment on the items a child is interacting with and children echo those vocalizations they hear. Thus, the only vocalizations presented by the researcher during teaching occurred after the learner pointed to a specific stimulus, and were specific to the stimulus being targeted. These vocalizations are referred to in this study as stimulus-specific consequences. The purpose of this research was to investigate if the stimulus-specific consequences could become discriminative stimuli for receptive labels, and lead to the emergence of expressive labels. Three studies were conducted, each with four adults. Results demonstrated that using a stimulus-specific consequence during teaching led to receptive labels for all participants, but led to the emergence of expressive labels for only four participants. In other words, bidirectional naming did not occur for the majority of participants. Factors that may improve interrelations between receptive and expressive labels were analyzed, but further evaluations are needed to account for the inconsistent demonstrations of naming.
Date: May 2021
Creator: Spurgin, Destiny
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

The Effects of Using Arbitrary Symbols in Naming Procedures with Adults

Description: Naming refers to encountering a new word and subsequently being able to use it both expressively and receptively. Sometimes, this can happen in as little as a single experience. Several recent studies have explored factors that influence the acquisition of naming in adults. However, these studies used familiar stimuli for which the participants already had names. In these studies, preexisting stimulus-response relations with the stimuli could have impeded the acquisition of new names for some participants. In contrast, the present study used unfamiliar ("arbitrary") stimuli. In addition, an equivalence test was used to validate the findings because some theorists have claimed that naming is required for equivalence. The results revealed some advantages to teaching naming with arbitrary stimuli. Interestingly, a subset of participants had high scores on equivalence tests without having high scores on expressive tests. This indicates that, contrary to naming theory, naming may not be necessary for equivalence and match-to-sample tests may not be the best test of equivalence. These findings support the independence of the expressive and receptive repertoires both in the development of naming and equivalence.
Date: May 2022
Creator: Jaramillo, Andia
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

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
open access

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
open access

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
open access

The Effects of Combining Positive and Negative Reinforcement During Training.

Description: 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.
Date: May 2007
Creator: Murrey, Nicole A.
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

The Power of One Reinforcer

Description: Animal trainers use shaping to teach many behaviors. However, during shaping, the organism may engage in behaviors other than the target behavior or approximations to the target behavior. If the animal is engaged in other behaviors, the rate of reinforcement may decrease and the trainer may resort to what is sometimes referred to as a “desperation click.” That is, the trainer delivers one reinforcer for a behavior that is not a successive approximation to the target response. Anecdotal reports from trainers suggest that sometimes the animal continues to repeat this other behavior that received only one reinforcer, even in the absence of further reinforcement for that behavior. This study compared whether, during a one minute extinction period, participants spent more time engaged in a behavior that had been reinforced only once after a brief period of no reinforcement or in a behavior that had been reinforced multiple times. Participants, who were university students, played a tabletop game that involved touching and manipulating small objects. Five conditions were repeated twice for each participant: reinforcement for interacting with a training object alone, reinforcement for interacting with a training object with other objects present, reinforcement for interacting with a target object, one reinforcer for interacting with a third object immediately following a brief period of no reinforcement, and reinforcement for interacting with any object. Results from this study show that a desperation click situation can be reliably produced in a controlled setting. When participants received one reinforcer for interacting with a new object following a period of no reinforcement, they interacted with the new object for a longer or equal amount of time as compared to an object that had a history of reinforcement.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Hunter, Mary E.
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Do contingency-conflicting elements drop out of equivalence classes? Re-testing Sidman's (2000) theory

Description: 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.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Silguero, Russell V.
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

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
open access

Evaluation of the Easter Seals North Texas Autism Treatment Program: Progress in Meeting Program Mission

Description: Applied behavior analysis (ABA) remains at the forefront of effective interventions for children with autism. In some cases, the high cost of treatment and other environmental factors limit families from accessing services. The Easter Seals North Texas (ESNT) Autism Treatment Program (ATP) was created to reach high risk, underserved families in the North Texas area by providing early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) services to children with autism. This evaluation was conducted to analyze the success of meeting the ESNT ATP program mission to provide culturally responsive ABA to children. The evaluation includes the design of assessments, the analysis of the assessment data, and a set of recommendations to maintain and increase program accessibility.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Pritchett, Malika Naomi
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

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
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