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A Sequential Analysis of Therapist and Child Social Behavior Following a Conditioned Reinforcement Procedure

Description: 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.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Cortez, Kristi Cathleen
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

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

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
Partner: UNT Libraries

Can Observing Behavior Predict Performance in Conditional Discriminations?

Description: Prompts are implemented often in training procedures, to include conditional discriminations, and this can lead to prompt dependency. The current study extends a prior study that suggested that the effectiveness of supplementary visual stimuli displaying the sample and comparison was dependent on the timing in relation to the selection task, presented as a prompt or feedback, in a match-to-sample procedure. The current research examines if the differences in that effectiveness were due to differences in observing behavior in those two conditions. Measures of observing behavior were determined by making access to the individual visual stimuli contingent on clicking on the visual stimulus and keeping the cursor located on the stimulus. Participants viewed the sample comparison much less than the comparison stimulus in both the prompt and feedback conditions. Latency to select the comparison stimulus was much shorter for the prompt condition suggesting that the participants might have interacted differently with the selection task in the two conditions.
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Date: December 2016
Creator: Marchini, Kevin Julian
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

A Constructional Approach to Establishing and Maintaining Calm Canine Behavior

Description: Very few behavior-change programs with canines produce effects that persist beyond the training condition. The present study is an experimental demonstration of a constructional program that established calm patterns of behavior as alternatives to hyperactive ones. Three dogs that exhibited hyperactive patterns were chosen as subjects. Seven conditions common to canine-caretaker relationships were used to determine which factors resulted in the hyperactive patterns. Then, sitting and lying down were taught as beginning points using touch as a reinforcer. The final behavior, maintained by naturally occurring reinforcers, was established errorlessly. The study used a control-analysis strategy of behavior change with a changing-criterion design. The intervention resulted in an immediate reduction in hyperactivity and an increase in sitting and lying down for all dogs.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Owens, Chase
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

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

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

Increasing Problem Solving in a Special Education Class by Teaching Talk Aloud Problem Solving (TAPS)

Description: Although there is extensive research demonstrating the benefits of teaching problem solving repertoires to typically developing individuals, there is little research on the effectiveness of these kinds of procedures with individuals with special needs. In this study, a group of special education students in a public school were taught problem solving skills using a curriculum called Talk Aloud Problem Solving (TAPS), which was developed by Robbins (2014). TAPS teaches students five problem solving skills and five active listening skills. This study utilized a multiple baseline design to examine whether training in TAPS would change the way that students solve problems and increase their accuracy when solving problems. In addition, a reversal design was used for each participant, consisting of the presence and the removal of the active listener during different stages of the study. After TAPS training and guided practice sessions, all students demonstrated new problem solving repertoires and their accuracy improved. For some students, having an audience (an active listener) was necessary to maintain their behavior. Further research is needed to determine how to teach students to be their own active listener.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Will, Sean
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effects of Increasing Rates of Reinforcement Through an Alternative Fluent Behavior on the Acquisition and Extinction of Behavior in Dogs

Description: The purpose of the present study was to experimentally investigate the effects of interspersing the opportunity to perform a fluent behavior during the acquisition of a new behavior. The experimenter trained left and right paw movements in domestic canines using a multiple treatment design. One paw movement was trained with a typical shaping procedure while the other was trained with an opportunity to perform a fluent behavior, touching the dog’s nose to a plastic disc, following each successive approximation in the shaping procedure. Two extinction phases were implemented during the experiment. The results showed that higher rates of reinforcement were achieved primarily following changes in criteria for reinforcement for the behavior in acquisition. There were no effects on rate of acquisition of the behavior, but adding an alternative fluent behavior may have slowed the differentiation between the reinforced behavior and alternative behaviors for one dog. The behavior trained with the addition of an alternative fluent behavior extinguished more quickly than in the control condition and extinguished at similar rates to the opposite leg movement. This suggests that the technique of offering an alternative fluent behavior may facilitate the chaining of the opposite behavior with the behavior targeted for reinforcement.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Coulter, Laura E.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Fearful to Friendly (F2F): a Constructional Fear Treatment for Domestic Cats Using a Negative Reinforcement Shaping Procedure in a Home Setting

Description: Feral and fearful cats and kittens in animal shelters are not likely to be adopted as companion animals because they emit fearful or aggressive behaviors in the presence of humans. The purpose of the fearful to friendly (F2F) research was to investigate a shaping procedure to increase friendly behaviors of feral and fearful domestic cats and kittens with the goal of achieving animal shelters’ adoptability criteria. The results showed the F2F procedure was a safe and very effective procedure to quickly tame feral kittens deemed unadoptable. The day after implementing F2F, three out of four kittens approached me and accepted petting and holding without any additional training.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Rentfro, Angela Drake
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effects of Training History on Retention and Reacquisition of Stimulus Control

Description: The purpose of this experiment was to study the effects of training history on retention and re-acquisition of stimulus control of previously learned behaviors. In Phase I, two pairs of behaviors were alternately trained. Circle and touch behaviors were trained concurrently until two consecutive errorless sessions were run. Spin and down behaviors were trained together in the same manner. Probe sessions, in which all four cues were presented, were conducted each time a pair of behaviors reached this criterion. Training of one pair did not occur until the other pair had reached criterion and probe sessions were run. Despite achieving the designated criterion during training, stimulus control changed during probes. During probe sessions, errors increased under the cues that were not currently being trained. In most cases, the type of errors emitted for each cue was the same as the behavior that was trained concurrently. The number of training sessions required to reach criterion accuracy was high during the first set of sessions and decreased over the course of the experiment. In Phase II, spin and circle behaviors were trained concurrently. The number of sessions required to reach stimulus control criteria remained low, and the number of errors emitted under the spin and circle cues during probe sessions decreased. However, the number of errors increased under the touch cue. In Phase III, a reinforce-all procedure was used instead of extinction to test stimulus control. The highest frequency of errors occurred under the touch cue, but the down error was almost exclusively emitted under every cue during the last several sessions.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Tucker, Kathryn Lynn
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

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

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

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

Tracking to Pliance: Effects of Punishment on Non-Compliance

Description: Inaccurate instructions have been shown to interfere with or override the effects of otherwise effective behavioral contingencies. This effect may be mediated by such factors as the discriminability of current contingencies, histories with accurate and inaccurate instructions, and consequences associated with following instructions. The current experiment investigated the effects of instructions (both accurate and inaccurate) on response patterns when paired with feedback regarding correspondence between responding and instructions, feedback indicating potential point loss for non-correspondence, and point loss for non-correspondence. Inaccurate instructions produced only small and temporary disruptions in response patterns, as did the addition of feedback alone and feedback indicating potential point loss. The introduction of escalating point losses contingent on non-correspondence, ranging from 20%-50% of points earned, produced changes in response patterns that corresponded to the inaccurate instructions. These outcomes indicate that the imposition of direct consequences for noncompliance may alter the effects of other contingencies. Depending on the point at which point losses disrupt responding, such effects may be interpreted in terms of point loss avoidance or, alternatively, maximizing point gains.
Date: August 2005
Creator: Harmon, D. Austin
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Behavioral Economics of Effort

Description: Although response effort is considered a dimension of the cost to obtain reinforcement, little research has examined the economic impact of effort on demand for food. The goal of the present study was to explore the relationship between effort and demand. Three Sprague Dawley rats were trained to press a force transducer under a series of fixed-ratio schedules (1, 10, 18, 32, 56, 100, 180, 320, and 560) under different force requirements (5.6 g and 56 g). Thus, nominal unit price (responses / food) remained constant while minimal response force requirements varied. Using a force transducer allowed the measurement of responses failing to meet the minimal force requirement (i.e. “subcriterion responses”), an advantage over prior approaches using weighted levers to manipulate effort. Consistent with prior research, increasing the unit price decreased food consumption, and raising minimum force requirements further reduced demand for food. Additionally, increasing the force requirement produced subcriterion responses. Analysis indicated that subcriterion responses did not create incidental changes in unit price. Obtained force data revealed that including obtained forces in unit price calculations provided better predictions of consumption when compared to using criterion force requirements.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Nord, Christina M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Stimulus Control Analysis of the Misinformation Effect

Description: This paper explores research on the misinformation effect and hypothesizes a new explanation for the occurrence misinformation effect. Current psychological theories states the misinformation effect occurs when memories are skewed by the presentation of new information after an initial event. This effect has been tested in a multitude of ways, including testing words lists, pictures, colors, and change blindness. Socially, the misinformation effect has been used to explain the inaccuracies of eyewitness testimony. The current judicial system relies on the fallible memory of people and has wrongfully imprisoned numerous innocents. The purpose of this research is to show the misinformation effect is not a problem with memory storage and retrieval, but rather a product of selective stimulus control.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Tait, Kelly M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Easter Seals North Texas Autism Treatment Program Evaluation: Child Progress

Description: This study reports and evaluates child outcome measures at a non-profit autism treatment program providing applied behavior analysis (ABA) based services to children age 3 to 8. To accomplish this, a review was conducted of available outcome data for a 1 year period. Several categories of outcome measures have been reported in the autism treatment literature (post-intervention educational placement, cognitive status, developmental and achievement status and/or progress, autism symptom reduction, and diagnostic reclassification). This study found that the program relied on 2 sources of data to evaluate child outcome: Hawaii Early Learning Profile® and program goal mastery. Children are making progress as indicated by these measures. The findings are discussed in relation to broader outcome recommendations.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Brunson, Lashanna Yvette
Partner: UNT Libraries