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open access

A neurobiology of learning beyond the declarative non-declarative distinction

Description: This article provides a literature review examining declarative and non-declarative forms of learning in neuroscience and psychology. The authors conclude that traditional taxonomy that distinguishes between neural systems supporting declarative and non-declarative forms of learning may be inadequate, as experimental and theoretical work suggests that other criteria may be more useful in categorizing the role of neural structures involved in learning such as the hippocampus and the basal ganglia.
Date: November 14, 2013
Creator: Ortu, Daniele & Vaidya, Manish
Partner: UNT College of Health and Public Service
open access

The Effects of an Electronic Feedback Sign on Speeding

Description: Although a handful of experiments have utilized indirect feedback in attempts to reduce speeding on roadways, fewer experiments have utilized direct feedback as a means to reduce incidences of speeding. The current study evaluated the effects of direct and individualized feedback provided by a large electronic feedback sign that displayed the speed of oncoming vehicles as they approached the sign along the roadways of a college campus. The effects of the sign were evaluated using a non-simultaneous multiple baseline experimental design employing two control conditions and intervention phase. Each condition was implemented at three sites on the college campus. The results showed that intervention produced significant decreases in both measures of vehicle speeds at each site, relative to measures collected during both control conditions.
Date: May 2006
Creator: Flores, Jaime
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Stimulus Equivalence and Competing Behavior: Individual Differences in Accuracy and Reaction Time

Description: The present study investigated how engaging in a behavior that is potentially incompatible with covert verbal behavior, singing aloud, affected the percent of correct responses and reaction time during equivalence tests as compared to engaging in a behavior considered compatible with covert verbal behavior, alternating foot tapping, during testing. Results varied between participants with some participants showing higher accuracies in the incompatible condition and some in the compatible condition. Performance in terms of accuracy and reaction time were correlated, with higher accuracies in the compatible condition being correlated with faster reaction times in the compatible condition. Limitations discussed include a low number of participants due to COVID-19, the covert nature of the behavior of interest, the length of time required to complete the experiment, and the challenges to monitoring the incompatible behavior due to social distancing requirements. Potential future research is discussed in light of these limitations.
Date: May 2021
Creator: Lovitz, Elizabeth
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Exploring the Efficacy of Percentile Schedules with the Amplitude of Muscular Contractions

Description: Percentile reinforcement schedules have been used to systematically alter inter-response times, behavioral variability, breath carbon monoxide levels, duration of social behaviors, and various other properties of behavior. However, none of the previous studies have examined the effectiveness of percentile schedules in relation to the magnitude of muscular contractions. This control over magnitude of muscular responding has important implications relating to the strengthening of muscles and correct movements for patients receiving physical rehabilitation. There would be great utility in percentile schedules that can be implemented in rehabilitation situations by physical therapists and patients themselves to improve treatment outcomes – all of which could be possible without any behavioral training if the procedure is implemented via body sensors and smartphone applications. Using healthy adults and the aforementioned technology, this thesis focused on the design and testing of three percentile reinforcement schedule procedures to increase the strength of the vastus medialis muscle. Results indicate that the magnitude of muscular responses can be shaped using body sensors and contingent feedback, and the percentile schedule procedures have promising applications in the domain of physical therapy.
Date: May 2022
Creator: Goodhue, Rob
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

A Behavioral Analysis of the Stroop Effect

Description: Participants demonstrate the Stroop effect when, in naming the color in which a word appears, reaction times are longer when the color and word are incongruent (e.g., "yellow" printed in blue) compared to when they are congruent (e.g., "yellow" printed in yellow). The literature commonly refers to the difference in reaction times as a measure of the interference of word stimuli upon color stimuli, and is taken as support for the theory of automaticity. This study asks whether the Stroop effect can be analyzed as interactions within and across stimulus classes. Adult participants learned three 3-member classes (color, word, and pattern) in a serialized order of training. In the testing phase, participants were presented with compound stimuli formed from combinations of members within and across classes (e.g., word and color), and reaction times were recorded in similar fashion to the Stroop task. Results show that averaged participants' reaction times are faster to compound stimuli comprised of members within the same class, compared to compound stimuli formed with members from different classes. These group-level data are consistent with the Stroop literature in that congruent compounds produce faster reaction times relative to incongruent compounds. However, individual participant data do not consistently reflect the Stroop effect. Further considerations for future research in this area are discussed.
Date: August 2019
Creator: Luc, Oanh
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

A Masking Procedure for Stimulus Control Assessment

Description: The present series of experiments were designed to investigate the utility of the use of a masking system to assess the development of stimulus control. The first experiment compares sample observing time with response accuracy in a match-to-sample task. The second experiment more closely examines this relation by subdividing the sample stimulus mask into four quadrants. The third experiment compares sample observing time during training with accuracy during a subsequent testing condition to determine if the observed differentiation between the quadrants was correlated with the development of stimulus control.
Date: August 2019
Creator: Condon, David
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

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
open access

Musical Priming and Operant Selection

Description: Language is a cultural construct, and the relationship between words is taught. Priming research has long investigated the relationship between related and unrelated words. Similar research has been seen in music relationships, but most of these investigate harmonic relations despite the melodic relationship being the one listeners are mostly likely to describe. Further, these studies typically measure existing relationships and do not attempt to teach a new relationship, nothing that most adults are experienced musical listeners. This study seeks to establish a new melodic relationship (the enigmatic Scale) in addition to a familiar one (the major Scale) while measuring response time to the musical sequences. A baseline was conducted in which participants listened to a musical sequence and selected via response box if the final note is consonant (major Scale) or dissonant (enigmatic Scale). Following baseline a training section occurred in which participants heard sequences ranging from 2-7 notes and were provided feedback for correct and incorrect responses. Following completion of the training participants completed a post-test identical to baseline. Behavioral results are discussed in relation to Palmer's (2009) concept of the repertoire.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Vail, Kimberly Gail
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Teaching Observational Learning to Children with Autism: An In-vivo and Video-Model Assessment

Description: Observational learning (OL) occurs when an individual contacts reinforcement as a direct result of discriminating the observed consequences of other individuals' responses. Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may have deficits in observational learning and previous research has demonstrated that teaching a series of prerequisite skills (i.e., attending, imitation, delayed imitation, and consequence discrimination) can result in observational learning. We sequentially taught these prerequisite skills for three young children with ASD across three play-based tasks. We assessed the direct and indirect effects of training by assessing OL before and after instruction across tasks and task variations (for two participants) during both in-vivo and video-model probes using a concurrent multiple-probe design. All participants acquired the prerequisite skills and demonstrated observational learning during probes of directly-trained tasks. Generalization results varied across participants. Observational learning generalized to one untrained task for one participant. For the other two participants, observational learning generalized to variations of the trained tasks but not to untrained tasks. Generalization additionally occurred during the in-vivo probes for both participants for whom we assessed this response. Implications of these findings, as well as directions for future research, are discussed.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Sansing, Elizabeth M
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

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
open access

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
open access

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
open access

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
open access

Improving administrative operations for better client service and appointment keeping in a medical/behavioral services clinic.

Description: Appointment no-shows are a problem in healthcare organizations. It is important that appointment intake and scheduling processes are effective in both meeting client needs and efficient in meeting organizational business requirements. This study examined baseline levels of appointment keeping in a not-for-profit medical/behavioral pediatric services clinic, analyzed existing administrative processes, introduced additional appointment keeping reminders, and presented systematic, performance management tutorials for clinic employees. Results indicate an increase in percentage of appointments kept and a decrease in appointment lag time.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Hackett, Stacey Lynn
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

A Comparison of Fixed- and Variable-Ratio Token Exchange-Production Schedules with Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Description: The token economy is a widely used and versatile motivational system within applied behavior analysis. Moreover, token reinforcement procedures have been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In the experimental analysis of behavior, token reinforcement contingencies are conceptualized as three interconnected schedule components: (1) the token-production schedule, (2) the exchange-production schedule, and (3) the token-exchange schedule. Basic work with nonhuman subjects has demonstrated that the exchange-production schedule is the primary driver of performance in these arrangements, and that variable-ratio exchange-production results in reduced pre-ratio pausing and greater overall rates of responding relative to fixed-ratio exchange-production schedules. However, little applied research has been conducted to assess the generality of these findings within applied settings. The purpose of this study was to determine if fixed- and variable-ratio token exchange-production schedules would exert differential effects on pre-ratio pausing and overall rates of responding for three children with ASD during a free-operant sorting task. The results showed that pre-ratio pausing and overall rates of responding were not differentially effected by the fixed- and variable-ratio exchange-production schedules. Discrepancies between the experimental work and the current study are discussed along with additional limitations.
Date: December 2018
Creator: McNeely, Mitchell P
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

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
open access

Effects of Conditional Discrimination Training on Symmetry and Semantic Priming

Description: Psychologists interested in the study of language find that people are faster at making decisions about words that are related than they are at making decisions about words that are not related – an effect called semantic priming. This phenomenon has largely only been document in laboratory settings using natural languages as contest and real words as stimuli. The current study explores the relation between the semantic priming effect and a laboratory procedure designed to give rise to performances that can be described as linguistic. Six adult participants learned to partition a collection of eight stimuli into two sets of four stimuli. Following this, the subjects showed the semantic priming effect within a set of stimuli but not across sets. These data suggest that it may be possible to study linguistic phenomenon in laboratory-based procedures allowing better control and the ability to ask very precise questions about linguistic functioning.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Hudgins, Caleb D.
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

The Effects of Common and Uncommon Elements on the Emergence of Simple Discriminations

Description: A computerized program was designed to test whether arranging a common element in two, otherwise independent, 2-term correlations (stimulus-stimulus and response-stimulus) would result in emergent simple discriminative-stimulus properties for the antecedent stimulus relative to an arrangement with no common elements programmed. Data from 8 adult participants in this experiment indicate that common element arrangements led to relatively high rates of responding in the presence of the putative discriminative stimulus and relatively low rates or no responding in the presence of the putative s-delta during testing in extinction. Conversely, the uncommon element arrangements produced no clear discriminative control. The current data reflect a comparison of arrangements across subjects. These data support Sidman's (2000) suggestion that common elements among contingencies are sufficient to produce stimulus classes and cause class mergers. The data also have implications for thinking about the mechanism by which and the conditions under which discriminative control develops. Finally, these data have the potential to inform the programming and implementation of reinforcement contingencies in applied settings.
Date: May 2019
Creator: Niland, Haven Sierra
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Contingency Management of Physical Rehabilitation: The Role of Feedback

Description: Modern advances in technology have allowed for an increase in the precision with which we are able to measure, record, and affect behavior. These developments suggest that the domains in which behavior analysis might contribute are considerably broader than previously appreciated, for instance the area of behavioral medicine. One way the field of behavior analysis can begin to address problems in behavioral medicine is with biosensor technology, like surface electromyography (sEMG). For sEMG technology to be useful in behavioral medicine, specifically recovery from total knee arthroplasty, a reference value (the maximum voluntary individual contraction-MVIC) must be established. The MVIC value allows for the comparison of data across days and may allow the programming of contingencies. However, current MVIC methods fall short. Study 1 compares MVIC values produced by a participant given the typical instruction only method with two alternative methods: instruction + feedback, and instruction + feedback in a game context. Across 10 participants both feedback conditions lead to higher MVIC values then the instruction only condition. Study 2 applies the MVIC techniques developed during Study 1 to an exercise procedure. Using an MVIC value as the criteria for feedback Study 2 compares the same three conditions, however this time assessing for the conditions under which exercise performance is optimal. Across all 9 participants the instruction + feedback in a game context lead to the participant ‘working harder' and 8 out of 9 participants exceeded the MVIC value more often during this condition then in the other two conditions.
Date: December 2018
Creator: Armshaw, Brennan P
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Assessment of Caregiver Generalization of Reinforcement to the Natural Environment in a Large Residential Facility and Use of Prompting and Feedback to Improve Performance

Description: Behavioral skills training (BST) is often used to train caregivers to implement various behavior management procedures; however, additional strategies are sometimes required to promote the generalization of skills from a contrived setting to the natural environment. Generalizing skills to the natural environment requires that the caregiver's behavior transfer from control of stimuli in the contrived setting to stimuli in the natural environment, and the skill continues to be performed with high levels of accuracy. The purpose of this study was to assess the extent to which caregivers generalized the use of social reinforcement, in the form of descriptive praise, from the contrived setting to the natural environment. When caregivers failed to respond to opportunities, a progressive prompt delay was used to bring caregivers' responding under the control of relevant client behavior; feedback was used to improve the accuracy with which caregivers implemented reinforcement. Five caregivers in a large residential facility participated in the study; single-opportunity probes were used to assess caregiver's identification of opportunities and accuracy in implementing reinforcement for two defined client behaviors, compliance and appropriate attention-getting behavior. Results of the study suggest that skills failed to generalize from the contrived setting to the natural environment. However, prompting was effective in training caregivers to identify opportunities to provide reinforcement, and feedback improved implementation of reinforcement.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Licausi, Ashley
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Teaching Children How to Stay Still Using Movies to Provide Continuous Feedback

Description: External beam radiation therapy is often used as a form of treatment for individuals diagnosed with cancer. However, because staying completely still can often be difficult for children, sedation is often used daily to remedy the need for stillness. In this document, we introduce the development, implementation, and testing of a technology designed to teach healthy children to self-monitor and control their movements. This technology monitored a child's body movement and created a continuous feedback loop, playing a preferred movie based on the amount of body movement observed. Study 1 compares the amount of body movement observed when children were instructed to remain still (instructions alone) to access to a movie contingent on maintained low rates of movement (contingent movie). Study 2 compares the amount of body movement observed in the instructions alone condition with two other conditions: non-contingent access to a movie (non-contingent movie) and contingent movie. Study 3 compares the amount of body movement observed in the instructions alone condition to the contingent movie condition over an extended period of time. Lastly, Study 4 compares the amount of body movement observed when children have previously been taught to stay still using the technology described above across various days throughout various conditions. Generally, we found three things: a) instructions alone were insufficient to produce the level of control over motion required; b) some control over motion was established in the non-contingent movie condition relative to the instructions alone condition; and c) the combination of movies and feedback contingent on movement was necessary to gain the level of control over body motion necessary to adhere to the medical protocol.
Date: December 2019
Creator: Otero, Maria Jose
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Encouraging Tolerance of and Cooperation with Dental/Medical Routines

Description: The participant is a 61-year-old woman, diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder and profound intellectual disability who was referred to a behavior-disorders clinic, to increase cooperation with routine dental procedures. I used a behavioral treatment package consisting of stimulus fading, differential reinforcement, and extinction to establish tolerance of, and cooperation with, routine dental procedures. Results showed that cooperative responding varied throughout the progression of teaching the prerequisite steps (sitting in a chair, sitting in a variety of chairs, then working on sitting in the dental chair). However, by the end of the study, the participant engaged in the behavior of open mouth for 30 s and tolerated/cooperated with the experimenter using a plastic visual inspection tool for 30 s. Further research should evaluate the effectiveness of a similar treatment package to develop a more streamlined and systematic framework to improve compliance and tolerance.
Date: May 2020
Creator: Rawlings, Jordan
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

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
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