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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

Evaluation of Agreement among Respondents to Anecdotal Assessments and Correspondence between Anecdotal and Experimental Analysis Outcomes

Description: Study 1 evaluated agreement among five respondents using the Functional Analysis Screening Tool (FAST), the Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS) and Questions About Behavioral Function (QABF). Respondents provided ratings for 20 target behaviors exhibited by 10 individuals. At least 4/5 raters agreed on the primary maintaining variable in 80% of cases with the FAST, 70% of cases with the MAS, and 55% of cases with the QABF. Study 2 evaluated correspondence between results of anecdotal assessments and experimental functional analysis for 10 target behaviors selected from Study 1. Correspondence between the experimental functional analyses was 60% with the FAST and the MAS, 50% with the QABF.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Frusha, Caroline J.
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

Teaching Water Safety Skills to Children with Autism Using Behavioral Skills Training

Description: Behavioral skills training (BST) and in situ training (IST) have been evaluated as methods to teach different safety skills to individuals with developmental disabilities. Research on BST has examined topics such as gun safety, abduction prevention, poison avoidance, and sexual abuse prevention. A large safety issue that is missing from the literature is drowning prevention and water safety skills. Drowning is one of the most prevalent issues facing facing children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), particularly those who elope from their homes or caregivers. The current study aimed the effectiveness of using BST+IST to teach three water safety skills to three children with ASD. The intial form of intervention was BST with total task presentation of the skill, using verbal instruction, modeling, rehearsal, and feedback. If this intervention did not result in an increase in performance, the skill was broken down into individual component presentation, in which each component of the skill was taught using the same procedures. Results from the current study showed that BST+IST was effective in teaching all skills to all participants.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Tucker, Marilyse
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Comparative Evaluation of Matrix Training Arrangements

Description: A common goal of instructional techniques is to teach skills effectively and efficiently. Matrix training techniques are both effective and efficient as they allow for the emergence of untrained responding to novel stimulus arrangements, a phenomenon known as recombinative generalization. However, it is unclear which type of matrix arrangement best promotes recombinative generalization. The current study compared two common matrix training approaches, an overlapping (OV) design and a non-overlapping (NOV) design, with respect to arranging relations targeted for training. We conducted a replication evaluation of a Wilshire and Toussaint study, and taught two typically-developing preschoolers compound object-action labels in Spanish and used either an OV or NOV matrix training design. Results from both studies demonstrated the participant trained with an OV design produced recombinative generalization and participants trained with a NOV design produced significantly low levels of emergence or none at all. These results suggest that an OV matrix design facilitates recombinative generalization more effectively than a NOV design. Implications for instructional arrangements are discussed.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Cliett, Terra N
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Preliminary Evaluation of an Indirect Assessment of Sensitivity to Aversive Stimulation

Description: Aversive tasks and activities are commonly encountered in the everyday routines of most individuals. For individuals with intellectual disabilities, a means to assess individual sensitivities to aversive stimulation could allow caregivers to avoid unnecessary contact with aversive events, teach appropriate ways to avoid or escape aversive situations, and condition tolerance to unavoidable aversive tasks and activities. The current study, conducted at a large, state-operated residential facility for adults with intellectual disabilities, used an anecdotal assessment, the Sensitivities to Aversive Stimulation Survey (SASS), to evaluate the relative aversiveness of an array of commonly encountered tasks and activities for each participant. Five caregivers complete the 25-question assessment, using Likert-type scales to rate individual participants' affect, compliance or tolerance, and severity of problem behavior related to each item. The mean scores of the raters were used to estimate the aversiveness of each task, condition, or activity. The outcomes from the SASS were then compared with outcomes of an experimental analysis in which participants could emit responses to escape situations that were ranked either high or low using the SASS. Relative aversiveness was evaluated by comparing the percentage of trials with escape behavior and duration of exposure for each stimulus. Preliminary results indicate that the SASS may be useful in identifying aversive tasks and stimuli.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Hope, Mariah L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effects of PECS Training on Symbolic Matching Skills in Learners with Autism

Description: This study evaluated whether picture exchange communication system (PECS) training would result in the development of conditional relations among corresponding pictures, objects (reinforcers) and spoken words used in PECS training with learners with developmental disabilities. Three participants with autism and mental retardation were trained to use PECS. Match-to-sample procedures were used to assess all possible conditional relations among stimuli before, during, and after PECS training. None of the three participants in this study acquired conditional discriminations involving the pictures, reinforcers, and spoken words used in their PECS training.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Cranmer, Elizabeth
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 Comparison of Transfer of Stimulus Control Or Multiple Control on the Acquisition of Verbal Operants in Young Children with Autism: an Extension

Description: One language intervention approach for individuals with autism involves teaching one response topography under multiple sources of control and then establishing that response under individual controlling variable. Another approach involves establishing one response topography under singular control and then using that response to establish the response topography under different controlling variables. The study sought to extend previous research by investigating the impact of each approach on the acquisition of verbal responses. Three of the eight participants acquired all target responses for at least one response topography. The results of previous research were not replicated directly and the findings were discussed in terms of preexperimental verbal repertoires and restricted interests.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Pasat, Irina V.
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

The Effects of Sucrose on Ethanol Consumption in Ethanol Naïve and Non-naïve Rats

Description: Sucrose fading and intermittent access are two common procedures that induce alcohol consumption in rodents. Sucrose fading procedures involve exposing ethanol naïve rats to a mixture of ethanol and sucrose and gradually reducing the concentration of sugar. Intermittent access procedures involve providing rats with access to ethanol on alternating days. Given that rats will consume ethanol without sucrose, the role of sugar in the sucrose fading procedure is unclear. Rats must be ethanol naïve when they are exposed to treatment with sucrose fading, so there is no point of comparison to show that exposure to sugar in sucrose fading produces higher levels of drinking. There has yet to be any work that isolates the effects of sugar on the consumption of alcohol. The purpose of the present experiment was to examine the effects of sucrose on ethanol consumption in rats with different alcohol histories. Two groups of six rats were exposed to two successive sucrose fading procedures, 30 days apart and their drinking was measured 30 days after each one. One group was exposed to an intermittent access procedure to establish drinking prior to treatment with sucrose fading, the other was ethanol naïve. Following sucrose fading, all rats drank pharmacologically active doses of ethanol. For both groups consumption correlated with the concentration of sucrose and decreased in a step-wise manner as it was faded. For the ethanol experienced rats, consumption dropped below baseline levels as sucrose was faded and decreased further with the second exposure. In contrast, the ethanol-naïve rats did not decrease consumption from the first sucrose fading procedure to the second. Slight differences in peak force of responses were also observed.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Dove, Rachel Jolene
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

Exploring Fundamental Principles in the Study of Derived Relational Responding in Pigeons

Description: A persistent challenge for behaviorally-based accounts of learning has been providing an account of learning that occurs in the absence of systematically programmed contingencies of reinforcement. Symmetry, one type of emergent behavior, has been repeatedly demonstrated with humans, but has been considerably more difficult to demonstrate with non-humans. In this study, pigeons were exposed to a go/no-go procedure in which hue stimuli were presented full screen on a touchscreen monitor. Pigeons learned 12 baseline relations in less than 30 days. Traditional measures used to evaluate symmetry indicated that, during tests, three of the four birds responded more to the reverse of relations that were reinforced in training than to the reverse of relations that were not reinforced in training. However, additional analyses of these data suggests that these differences were driven by one of two trial types and that symmetry was only observed for one of the two predicted relations. These data systematically replicate and extend work by Urcuioli and colleagues and point to areas where further research is needed.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Hinnenkamp, Jay Evan
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.
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Date: August 2005
Creator: Hayashi, Yusuke
Partner: UNT Libraries

A within-subject comparison of stimulus equivalence training.

Description: Training structures have been defined as the order and arrangement of baseline conditional discriminations within stimulus equivalence training. The three training structures most often used are, linear (trains A:B and B:C discrimination), many-to-one (trains B:A and C:A discriminations) , and one-to-many (trains A:B and A:C discriminations). Each training structure trains a different set of simultaneous and successive discriminations that are then needed in the test for derived relations (symmetry, reflexivity, transitivity, and symmetrical transitivity). The present experiment seeks to extend the research on stimulus equivalence training structures by using a within-subject design and adult human subjects. Three sets of 9 arbitrary stimuli were trained concurrently each with a different training structure. From the beginning, training and testing trials were intermixed. The likelihood of producing stimulus equivalence formation was equal across structures.
Date: August 2005
Creator: Rawls, Medea
Partner: UNT Libraries

Do Shared S-minus Functions Among Stimuli Lead to Equivalence?

Description: We examined the claim that equivalence classes contain all positive elements in a reinforcement contingency by asking whether negative stimuli in a reinforcement contingency will also form an equivalence class, based on their shared function as S-minus stimuli. In Experiment 1, 5 subjects were tested for equivalence for positive and negative stimuli. Testing of positive stimuli preceded testing of negative stimuli. Two of five subjects demonstrated equivalence for positive stimuli, and three subjects demonstrated equivalence for negative stimuli. In Experiment 2, order of testing was reversed. Four of six subjects demonstrated equivalence for positive stimuli, and none demonstrated equivalence for negative stimuli. In Experiment 3, positive and negative stimuli were tested together. Only one of five subject demonstrated equivalence for positive and negative stimuli. These data suggest that negative stimuli may enter an equivalence class, and so Sidman paradigm should be expanded. Order of testing was found as a meaningful variable.
Date: August 2005
Creator: Kassif-Weiss, Sivan O.
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

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 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

Teaching Children with Autism Three Different Questions

Description: Children with autism often exhibit deficits in question-asking. This study replicated and extended Williams, Donley, and Keller.s (2000) training package: a modeling and reinforcement procedure to teach the use of 3 different questions about hidden objects. Two boys, aged 13 and 12, with primary diagnoses of autism, participated. A multiple baseline design across questions was used. Both children learned to ask all three questions: .What.s that?. .Can I see (item name)?. and .Can I have (item name)?. Question-asking generalized to novel locations, people, and stimulus materials with minimal additional training. These results support the efficacy of this training package as an efficient way to teach children with autism to ask questions about objects in their environment.
Date: December 2003
Creator: Cramer, Heather
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.
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Date: May 2004
Creator: Hartman, Carrie
Partner: UNT Libraries

An 8-Step Program: Shaping and Fixed-Time Food Delivery Effects on Several Approximations and Undesired Responses in Goats.

Description: This study investigated the effects of a shaping program for halter training across 8 steps in the program and 4 trial-terminating, or "undesirable," responses. Three La Mancha goats (Capra hircus) located at the Frank Buck Zoo in Gainesville, Texas were used for the study. A fixed-time 15 s (FT-15 s) was used during the baseline conditions, to examine the effects of response contingent and response-independent food deliveries, as well as to examine what preliminary steps might not necessarily have to be shaped. All 3 goats successfully learned to allow the halter to be placed on them and to lead on the halter, although 2 of the 3 goats required an additional task analysis for the fifth step to further break down that approximation. Several of the early steps selected by the researchers were not necessary to complete the program, as determined by the baseline condition.
Date: May 2003
Creator: Fernandez, Eduardo J.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The role of common stimulus functions in the development of equivalence classes.

Description: College students were exposed to training designed to teach nine simple discriminations, such that sets of three arbitrary visual stimuli acquired common functions. For seven of eight participants, three 3-member contingency classes resulted. When the same stimuli were presented in a match-to-sample procedure under test conditions, four participants demonstrated equivalence-consistent responding, matching all stimuli from the same contingency class. Test performance for two participants was systematically controlled by other variables, and for a final participant was unsystematic. Exposure to a yes/no test yielded equivalence-consistent performance for one participant where the match-to-sample test had not. Implications for the treatment of equivalence as a unified, integrated phenomenon are discussed.
Date: August 2004
Creator: MacIver, Kirsty
Partner: UNT Libraries