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Immediate and subsequent effects of response blocking on self-injurious behavior.

Description: Abstract In many institutional settings, blocking, response restriction (e.g., restraint, protective equipment), and re-direction procedures are used extensively as intervention for self-injurious behavior (SIB) and other forms of problem behavior. In the current study, a three component, multiple-schedule analysis was used to examine the immediate and subsequent effects of blocking on SIB that persisted in the absence of social reinforcement contingencies. During the first and third components the participant was in the room, alone, with no social consequences for SIB. During the second component (response restriction) the therapist sat in the room with the participant and blocked occurrences of SIB. Results indicated that, although blocking was effective in decreasing SIB while it was being implemented, subsequent effects were idiosyncratic across participants. Evidence of increased levels of SIB following blocking was observed for some participants.
Date: August 2006
Creator: Atcheson, Katy
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Green To-Go: Evaluating the Effectiveness of an Intervention Package on Restaurateurs' use of Styrofoam Take-Out Containers

Description: Restauranteurs' use of Styrofoam take-out containers was evaluated using an intervention package containing informational components, a written commitment, and an incentive system. A decrease in the use of Styrofoam take-out materials was observed with 4 of 6 restaurants. Across all participants, we observed a 15.7% increase in alternative containers and a 15.7% decrease in Styrofoam containers. Overall, a decreased use of Styrofoam take-out containers was observed with restaurateurs who were able to identify suitable alternative products.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Ho, Kelly
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Assessment and Treatment of Multiple Topographies of Self-injury Maintained by Separate Reinforcement Contingencies

Description: Functional analysis procedures were used to assess and treat multiple topographies of self-injurious behavior exhibited by an individual. An experimental functional analysis indicated that one topography, hand biting, appeared to be maintained by social positive reinforcement in the form of delivery of tangible items. The analysis also provided evidence that a second form of self-injury, skin picking, was automatically reinforced. To treat positively reinforced hand biting, access to a preferred tangible was arranged contingent on the omission of biting for a prespecified time interval. Hand biting was nearly eliminated, and low rates were maintained as the schedule of reinforcement was thinned to 10 min. Competing stimulus assessments identified that magazines effectively suppressed all occurrences of skin picking; therefore, noncontingent access to magazines was implemented. Using a combination of multielement and multiple baseline designs, we were able to demonstrate that the two topographies of self-injury were maintained by independent reinforcement contingencies and that interventions corresponding to each topography and function effectively treated both behaviors.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Pace, Amy
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Progressing From Multiple-respondent Anecdotal Assessments to Test-control Analyses of Problem Behavior

Description: The current study was designed to evaluate the utility of progressing sequentially from multiple-respondent anecdotal assessments through test-control treatment analysis as an effective and efficient method of identifying the environmental determinants of problem behavior. the goal of the study was to evaluate overall agreement among multiple respondents on the primary function of aberrant behavior using the Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS) and Questions About Behavioral Function (QABF) and, if agreement was obtained, conduct a test-control evaluation to confirm anecdotal assessment findings while simultaneously evaluating the effects of function-based treatment. for 4 individuals, at least 4 of 5 respondents to the anecdotal assessments agreed (both within and across assessments) on the probable maintaining consequence for their problem behaviors. Test-control multielement evaluations were then conducted in which baseline sessions, corresponding to the suspected operant function of each individual’s problem behavior, were alternated with sessions in which the identified contingency was arranged for alternative behavior. Each evaluation showed substantial decreases in problem behavior and maintenance of alternative responses.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Staff, Martha Joe
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Interactions of equivalence and other behavioral relations: Simple successive discrimination training.

Description: The experimenter asked if documented equivalence class membership would influence the development of shared discriminative stimulus function established through simple successive discrimination training. In Experiment 1, equivalence classes were established with two sets of 9 stimuli. Common stimulus functions were then trained within or across the equivalence classes. Greater acquisition rates of the simple discriminations with stimuli drawn from within the equivalence classes were observed. In Experiment 2, a third stimulus set was added with which no equivalence relations were explicitly trained. The findings of Experiment 1 were replicated, but the Set 3 results were inconsistent across subjects. The outcomes of the two experiments demonstrate that equivalence classes have an effect on other behavioral relations which requires further investigation.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Brackney, Ryan
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

The Effects of Price and Durability on Individual Discounting Functions When Purchasing Hypothetical Goods in a Simulated Internet Store

Description: Online shopping has rapidly expanded in the last decade. Online shopping necessarily imposes delays on all transactions. Behavior analysis has long studied the effects of delay on choice. Additionally, a number of researchers are beginning to study consumer behavior using a behavior-analytic approach. The current study attempted to extend research focusing on consumer behavior in online contexts. The experimenters attempted to evaluate whether goods acquire functional properties and whether these properties influence consumer choice. The researchers were specifically interested in studying acquisition costs and durability and in simulating a natural online shopping environment. Results from the current study extend the findings showing that delay and price influence choice. The data from the current study provide mixed evidence for control by item durability.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Gesick, Jeffrey Glen
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Response Patterns in Functional Analyses: a Preliminary Analysis

Description: Functional assessment procedures have proven effective in identifying the operant contingencies that maintain problem behavior. Typically, the evaluation of responding during functional analyses is conducted at the condition level. However, some variables affecting occurrences of behavior cannot be evaluated solely through the use of a cross-session analysis. Evaluating within-session patterns of responding may provide information about variables such as extinction bursts, discriminative stimuli, and motivating operations such as deprivation and satiation. The current study was designed to identify some typical response patterns that are generated when data are displayed across and within sessions of functional analyses, discuss some variables that may cause these trends, and evaluate the utility of within-session analyses. Results revealed that several specific patterns of responding were identified for both across- and within-session analyses, which may be useful in clarifying the function of behavior.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Gibson, Christine M.
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Evaluation of Ethanol’s Effects on the Biophysical Characteristics of Licking

Description: Alcohol use disorders are a public health issue related to adverse effects for individuals and society. A low level of response, or decreased sensitivity, to alcohol has been identified as a heritable risk factor for development of alcohol use disorders. One method for researching level of response to alcohol is through the use of rodent models, which are developed to mimic human conditions while eliminating barriers to conducting research with people. Current rodent models used to evaluate effects of ethanol on motor performance have been criticized for not being well matched to human tasks that measure level of change in body sway after alcohol consumption. This study looks at oromotor behavior as a potential alternative to gross motor performance in hopes of increasing correspondence between human and rodent measures of intoxication. To evaluate rodent oromotor performance a force transducer lickometer is used to measure several dimensions of licking behavior after administration of different concentrations of ethanol solution via gavage. Results show that force of licking is not sensitive to dose of ethanol. The total number of licks per session show dose related decreases and licking rhythm, evaluated by the length and distribution of interlick intervals, either increased or decreased for three of the four subjects. Recommendations are made for procedural modifications in order to reduce variability in data and further investigate oromotor performance and level of response to alcohol.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Stewart, Daryl Ellen
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Using Progressive Ratio Schedules to Evaluate Edible, Leisure, and Token Reinforcement

Description: The general purpose of the current study was to evaluate the potency of different categories of reinforcers with young children diagnosed with developmental delays. The participants were two boys and one girl who were between the ages of seven and eight. In Phase 1, we evaluated the reinforcing potency of tokens, edible items, and leisure items by using a progressive ratio (PR) schedule. For two participants, we found that tokens resulted in the highest PR break points. For one participant, edibles resulted in the highest break points (tokens were found to have the lowest break points). In Phase 2, we evaluated the effects of presession access on the break points of edibles and tokens. This manipulation served as a preliminary analysis of the extent to which tokens might function as generalized conditioned reinforcers. During Phase 2, presession access altered the break points of edibles, but not tokens. The findings of the current study suggest that PR schedules may be useful as a means to better assess certain dimensions of tasks and how they affect reinforcer effectiveness (e.g., amount of effort the client is willing to exert, the duration at which the client willing to work, how many responses the client will emit, etc.), and to evaluate to what extent tokens actually function as generalized conditioned reinforcers.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Russell, Danielle M.
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

An Analysis of the Value-altering Effect of Motivating Operations

Description: Motivating operations (MOs) may affect behavior in two ways; A) an MO momentarily alters the frequency of behavior for which a particular consequence has served as reinforcement (evocative-effect) and B) an MO momentarily alters the behavioral effects of the relevant consequence (value-altering effect). Many studies have empirically demonstrated the evocative function of MOs, however, few if any studies have attempted to systematically manipulate and measure the value-altering effect. The focus of this study was to investigate the value-altering effect by measuring choice and response allocation across two alternative tasks. Participants were two female girls diagnosed with autism. During conditioning sessions, experimenters created a history for the children in which clicking on a moving square on a computer monitor produced a small piece of edible. Prior to some conditions, the participants were allowed 5 min of free-access to the edibles, and in other sessions, access to edibles prior to session was restricted. During these sessions, the square was either red or blue depending on the condition type (pre-access or restricted-access). During probe sessions, both colored squares were concurrently available and participants were allowed to allocate their responding to whichever square they chose. One participant preferred the square associated with restricted-access, which may support the notion of the value-altering effect. Difficulties during conditioning sessions interfered with the ability to run sufficient probes with the other participant to evaluate a value-altering effect. Results suggest that the use of these procedures may be useful to differentiate evocative and function-altering effects of MOs.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Devine, Bailey
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Evaluating the Effects of Public Postings on Energy Conservation Behavior at a Public University

Description: This study evaluated the effects of public postings on energy conservation behavior at a public university, using a multiple baseline design across three settings; bathrooms break rooms, and conference rooms. The behavior of building occupants was recorded to assess the frequency at which those individuals would turn lights off upon exiting an unoccupied room. The independent variables implemented by experimenters (light-switch plate stickers and laminated signs) had little to no effects on cumulative instances of lights turned off however, the installation of motion sensor lights produced better results. Across all conditions, lights were turned off most frequently in conference rooms (65% of observations) followed by break rooms (9% of observations), and bathrooms (3% of observations).
Date: August 2011
Creator: Canisz, Eleni
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Effect of a Stimulus Shaping Procedure on Fluent Letter Sound Acquisition.

Description: Numerous studies have evaluated and confirmed many benefits of errorless learning and fluency-based procedures. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the benefits of combining an errorless learning procedure, stimulus shaping, and fluency-based procedures to teach see/say letter sound discriminations to three preschool children. Participants were taught 6 letter sounds using a hear/point stimulus shaping procedure followed by a see/say fluency-based procedure. A second letter set was taught using only the fluency-based procedure. Results showed that combining the procedures reduced the amount of teaching time by up to 40% and the percent of errors by up to 50%. This preliminary evidence shows exceptional promise in application of this combination of procedures to teach letter sounds to preschool children.
Date: August 2009
Creator: Maxwell, Larisa Ann
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Immediate and Subsequent Effects of Fixed-Time Delivery of Therapist Attention on Problem Behavior Maintained by Attention

Description: The purpose of the current study was to investigate the immediate and subsequent effects of fixed-time attention on problem behavior maintained by therapist attention utilizing a three-component multiple-schedule design. The treatment analysis indicated that fixed-time attention produced a significant immediate decrease in the frequency of physically disruptive behavior (PDB), represented by low frequencies of PDB in Component 2, as well as a continued subsequent effect, represented by lower frequencies of problem behavior in Component 3 when compared to Component 1. The possible behavioral mechanisms responsible for the observed suppression in Component 2 of the treatment analysis are discussed. Evidence of behavioral contrast was observed in Components 1 and 3 of the treatment analysis in conditions in which Component 2 contained a fixed-time schedule of stimulus delivery. In addition, limitations and future research are outlined.
Date: August 2009
Creator: Walker, Stephen Frank
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

The Evaluation of Task Preference on Reinforcer Efficacy

Description: Stimulus preference assessments have determined high and low preferred items that increase the rate of frequency of responding for various skills. Within applied settings, high preferred items may not attain the same reinforcing value across tasks which might decrease responding. The preference of the task might have an effect on reinforcer efficacy that is being presented. The purpose of the current study is to evaluate changes in reinforcer efficacy as a function of preference for the task. Three children diagnosed with ASD participated in the study. HP/LP items and HP/LP tasks were identified through paired-choice assessments, and each item was presented as a consequence for each task in a counterbalanced multi-element format. Results indicated that preference for the task had little effect of the rate of responding across items.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Lowery, Wesley J.
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Examining the Relationship between Variability in Acquisition and Variability in Extinction

Description: Using the "revealed operant" technique, variability during acquisition and extinction was examined with measures of response rate and a detailed analysis of response topography. During acquisition, subjects learned to emit four response patterns. A continuous schedule of reinforcement (CRF) for 100 repetitions was used for each pattern and a 30 min extinction phase immediately followed. One group of subjects learned the response patterns via a "trial-and-error" method. This resulted in a wide range of variability during acquisition and extinction. Only one subject emitted a substantial amount of resurgent behavior. A second group of subjects was given instructions on what keys to press to earn reinforcers. This group had less variability in acquisition and extinction and resurgent responding was prevalent.
Date: December 1997
Creator: Neff, Bryon (Bryon R.)
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Determining the Relation Between the Moments of Acquisition of Baseline Conditional Discriminations and the Emergence of Equivalence Relations

Description: The experiment was an attempt to gain a more precise understanding of the temporal relation between the development of analytic units and equivalence relations. Two prompting procedures were used during training to pinpoint when eight subjects learned the conditional discriminations. Near simultaneous presentation of probe and training trials allowed for examination of the temporal relation between conditional discrimination acquisition and derived performances on stimulus equivalence probes. The data show that, for seven of eight subjects, a decreased reliance on prompts was coincident with the development of equivalence-consistent choices on either all or some probe trials, which suggests that the development of analytic units is sufficient to give rise to equivalence relations among stimuli.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Swisher, Melissa J.
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

A Clinical Case Study of Rumination and Emesis in an Adult Male with Intellectual Disability

Description: An evaluation of a series of interventions was conducted for an individual who engaged in life-threatening rumination and emesis. There is substantial research indicating that the delivery of peanut butter (Barton & Barton, 1985; Greene, Johnston, Rossi, Racal, Winston, & Barron, 1991) and/or chopped bread following meals (Thibadeau, Blew, Reedy, & Luiselli, 1999), chewing gum (Rhine & Tarbox, 2009), and satiation procedures (Dudley, Johnston, & Barnes, 2002; Lyons, Rue, Luiselli, & DiGennario, 2007; Rast, Johnston, Drum, & Conrin, 1981) can be effective treatments for rumination. In the current case, each of these interventions was found to be either ineffective or contraindicated based on the participant's fragile health status. Previous literature has shown that liquid delivery can affect rates of rumination in some clients (Barton & Barton, 1985,; Heering, Wilder, & Ladd, 2003). We examined how liquid affected the rate of rumination during and after meals. Based on the individual's medical condition, oral nutrition and fluids were discontinued indefinitely and a gastronomy-jejunostomy tube was used for nutrition. All rumination ceased when fluids and nutrition were delivered via the jejunostomy tube. Finally, a fluid analysis procedure was implemented in which the participant received small amounts of fluid while NPO. Color and flavor were manipulated systematically, and results suggested that flavor impacted the rate of rumination.
Date: May 2016
Creator: DeLapp, Christina M.
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Correspondence between Multiple-Respondent Anecdotal Assessments and Functional Analysis: Analyses of Rank-Order, Magnitude-of-Difference, and Overall Outcomes

Description: We administered the Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS) and the Questions About Behavioral Function (QABF) to five raters and compared the results with functional analysis outcomes for 12 cases in which agreement was obtained for at least four out of five raters on either anecdotal assessment. The scores for functional categories on the MAS and QABF were ranked by averaging the scores for the raters who agreed on the primary maintaining variable. Functional analysis results were ranked by examining average responding across all conditions. A comparison showed correspondence between the highest category and the highest functional analysis condition for 10 out of 11 cases for the MAS and all 10 cases for the QABF. Correspondence for the category and condition ranked second was found for 2 out of 11 cases for the MAS and 2 out of 10 cases for the QABF. The magnitude of difference between categories on the MAS/QABF did not appear to predict the amount of difference in responding in the corresponding functional analyses.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Arnalds, Holmfridur Osk
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Preschool Life Skills: A Systematic Replication with Children with Developmental Disabilities

Description: School readiness literature indicates that skills which lend themselves to readiness and success in primary school are not amongst the skills generally taught in center based care facilities. Furthermore, children enrolled in non- maternal care settings are at greater risk for developing problem behavior. To address this issue, the Preschool Life Skills (PLS) program was created as a preventative intervention to teach functional communication and social skills to typically developing children. Children diagnosed with developmental disabilities are not immune to these concerns and are also at risk for developing problem behaviors in non-maternal settings, due to insufficient instruction and contingency management. The current study aimed to evaluate and identify the dose of instruction necessary for the PLS curriculum to be a successful and efficient teaching tool for children with developmental disabilities. Twelve preschool life skills were taught to 9 participants across 4 instruction units. Instruction was provided by means of a three-tiered instructional approach, which incorporated class-wide instruction, followed by small group and individual instruction as necessary. Skills were sequentially introduced and unit probes were conducted following mastery of all 3 skills within a unit. Results indicated that the adaptations made to the original preschool life skills curriculum led to skill acquisition with all nine participants.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Lopez, Melinda Alysha
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Teacher Implementation of a Pretreatment Assessment Procedure in a Public Middle School

Description: In an attempt to determine the effectiveness of a pretreatment assessment procedure known as the scatter plot (Touchette, MacDonald, & Langer, 1985), direct observational data was collected by 13 middle school teachers on four "problem" students. After four weeks of data collection, interobserver agreement probes were calculated and a visual analysis of the plotted data was performed to ascertain a possible pattern of problem behavior. Additionally, in an attempt to assess the teachers' perceptions of the scatter plot, the 13 teachers were asked to complete a questionnaire. Although a visual analysis of the plotted data suggested a possible pattern of problem behavior, interobserver agreement probes failed to achieve a desired overall reliability of 90% or higher. Despite a low IOA, results of the questionnaire administered to the 13 teachers generally supported the use of the scatter plot as a means of assessing student behavior. Possible reasons for failing to attain an IOA of 90% or higher include the total number of students in a class, the number of subjects observed per period, the teacher's location in the classroom, and the subjects ability to recognize if the teacher was "looking." Recommendations are provided regarding future research concerning the scatter plot and other more formal approaches to assessing student behavior.
Date: May 1999
Creator: Alcala, Angelo L. (Angelo Lee)
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

An Analysis of Interrater Agreement Between the Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS), Questions About Behavioral Function (QABF), and Analog Assessment Outcomes

Description: An analysis of interrater agreement across multiple respondents on anecdotal assessments was compared with experimental functional analysis outcomes for correspondence. Experiment 1 evaluated the agreement of multiple respondents on the function of problem behavior for 22 individuals across 42 target behaviors using the Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS) and the Questions About Behavioral Function (QABF). Results showed agreement on the primary maintaining consequence for 4 or 5 of the 5 respondents in 52% (22/42) of the individual's target behaviors with the MAS and 57% (24/42) with the QABF. Experiment 2 examined whether correspondence occurred between the anecdotal assessment results and experimental functional analysis (EFA) results for 7 individuals selected from Experiment 1. Correspondence between the QABF assessment and the EFA was found for 6 of 7 participants, and 4 of the 7 showed correspondence between the EFA and the MAS. This study showed that the QABF had higher correspondence with analog assessments than the MAS thus, supporting the previous findings of Paclawskyj et al. (2001).
Date: May 2010
Creator: Smith, Carla Michelle
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

A Multimodal Investigation of Renewal of Human Avoidance, Perceived Threat, and Emotion

Description: Many people who receive exposure-based treatments for anxiety disorders exhibit a return of fear and avoidance which is often referred to as renewal or relapse. Human and nonhuman research on fear conditioning and renewal has been instrumental in helping understand relapse in anxiety disorders. The purpose of this investigation was to examine renewal of human avoidance and assess whether avoidance may aid in sustaining renewal of fear responses. We adopted a multimodal measurement approach consisting of an approach-avoidance task along with ratings of perceived threat and fear and measures of skin-conductance, a widely used physiological measure of fear. A traditional, single-subject research design was used with six healthy adults. All tasks employed a discrete trial procedure. Experimental conditions included Pavlovian fear conditioning in which increased probability of money loss was paired with a “threat” meter in Context A and later followed extinction in Context B. Fear and avoidance increased to higher threat levels in Context A but not Context B. Renewal testing involved presenting the threat meter on a return to Context A to determine if it evoked fear and avoidance (i.e., relapse). As predicted, renewal testing in Context A showed that increased threat was associated with increased avoidance, ratings of perceived threat and fear, and higher skin-conductance. Moreover, results showed that renewal maintained over six blocks of trials. This is the first investigation of renewal of threat and avoidance in humans that highlights avoidance as a mechanism that may contribute to maintaining fear in anxiety pathology.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Ludlum, Madonna L.
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

A Laboratory Human Operant Examination of Extinction Bursts

Description: The present study examined operant extinction in a controlled setting using a human operant paradigm. Participants watched a preferred video. During the video, either the video or audio portion of the video was selectively removed, on average every 15 s. Participants could restore the video by pressing a force transducer. In one group, relatively low forces were required (250 g) and in the other relatively high forces were required (750 g). At the 20th and 30th minute during the session, the video or audio was removed but the participants could not restore the component for 30 s. The results showed that responding during the probe increased relative to 30-s periods prior and following the probe, characteristic of an extinction burst. The results also showed that overall we saw increases in force under high force conditions during extinction when presses no longer produced sound or video, and force changed little during the low force conditions. We conclude that extinction bursts are a robust phenomenon that can be demonstrated in humans. Additionally, the topographies, i.e. force, established during baseline and the modality of the consequence appear to be two variables determining the short-term course of extinction.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Lilly, Bryanna
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

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 Jonathan
Partner: UNT Libraries
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