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open access

A Shaping Procedure for Introducing Horses to Clipping

Description: The purpose of the current study is to evaluate a procedure that can be used to introduce horses to clipping. Negative reinforcement was used in a shaping paradigm. Shaping steps were conducted by the handler, starting with touching the horse with the hand, then touching the horse with the clippers while they are off, culminating with touching the horse with the clippers while they are on. When a horse broke contact with either the hand or the clippers, the hand or the clippers were held at that point until the horse emitted an appropriate response. When the horse emitted an appropriate response, the clippers were removed, and the handler stepped away from the horse. For all eight horses, this shaping plan was effective in enabling the clipping of each horse with minimal inappropriate behavior and without additional restraint. The entire process took under an hour for each horse.
Date: December 2019
Creator: Hardaway, Alison K
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Equines Do Not Live for Grass Alone: Teaching Equines with Social Interaction

Description: Most horse training methods heavily rely on negative reinforcement and punishment. However, there is a movement in the horse community to utilize positive reinforcement to meet training goals. Although food has been used effective as a reinforcer with horses, social interaction has also been demonstrated to function as a positive reinforcer for animals. Utilizing social interaction as a reinforcer may lead to several benefits for both the trainer and animal. Some of the benefits can be improved relationships between animals and their caretakers and improved animal welfare. The purpose of this study was to apply Owens and Owens et al. previous research protocols to three equines to assess if social interaction, in the form of petting and gentle scratching, would function as a reinforcer. Using a changing criterion design, this study demonstrated that petting and gentle scratching could function as a reinforcer to teach three equines to stay and come in their natural environment.
Date: May 2020
Creator: Nishimuta, Maasa
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

The Use of Instructive Feedback to Promote Emergent Verbal Responses: A Replication

Description: Previous research has incorporated instructive feedback (IF) within mastered listener-by-name trials with two children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Participants in a previous study acquired the secondary targets and also demonstrated emergent responding (i.e., listener-by-feature, tact-by-feature, intraverbal, and reverse intraverbal). The current study replicated a previous study on IF with two children with ASD. Therapists conducted a series of three sessions of mastered listener-by-name trials (e.g., "Show me otter," and the participant selecting the picture of the otter) and provided IF statements for features of the target stimuli (e.g., "It lives in rivers."). We measured participants' echoic responding and required attending to the target stimulus during IF trials, and we evaluated acquisition of secondary targets and emergent responses using a concurrent multiple probe design across sets. We observed increased correct responding for secondary targets and emergent responses for the first set of stimuli with both participants. However, one participant did not engage in emergent responses for the two remaining sets. Results suggest that related verbal operant response relations of secondary targets may result after IF, but the extent of emergence may be idiosyncratic.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Laddaga Gavidia, Valeria
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

The Effects of Using Arbitrary Symbols in Naming Procedures with Adults

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

A Safe and Fast Deworming Procedure for Horses

Description: Most horse owners administer oral deworming medication to their horses on a set schedule, often six times per year. The deworming process involves using a plastic syringe to inject a thick paste into the horse's mouth. Most horse owners do not specifically train their horses to accept this procedure. Consequently, many horses resist the procedure and some horses engage in behaviors, such as head shaking, pulling away, or even rearing, that may be dangerous to humans or to themselves. This study used a negative reinforcement shaping procedure to train six horses to accept dewormer medication. The procedure consisted of a food sampling phase followed by three shaping phases that simulated the deworming task, first using only the experimenter's hand, then a small syringe, and finally a large syringe. Once the horse was acclimated to the syringe, the horse's preferred liquid food was delivered through the syringe at the end of each trial. By the end of the study, all participants successfully completed the procedure and were able to stand still with no or minimal head movements while being dewormed.
Date: May 2022
Creator: Ward, Jessica Lauren
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

An Evaluation of Problem Behavior during a Preference Assessment

Description: There is a limited amount of research that has evaluated all three types of modalities and consequences during stimulus preference assessments (SPA) or examined problem behavior during preference assessments with individuals with tangible maintained problem behavior. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to extend this line of research in two ways: (a) compare results of SPAs across three modalities and two consequence, (b) evaluate problem behavior during these SPAs with individuals with problem behavior maintained by access to tangible items. The results indicated that for all participants, there was preference stability across modalities and conditions. For all participants, problem behavior occurred during the no access condition or removal regardless of modality.
Date: August 2019
Creator: Tinney, Ashton Corinne
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

An Evaluation of a Waiting Period and DRL on Reducing Mands serving as Precursors to Self-Injurious Behavior

Description: Extensive research has been conducted demonstrating the utility of differential reinforcement as an effective intervention for self-injurious behavior. However, the majority of this literature requires teaching an alternative response to access reinforcement. Further evaluation of treating self-injurious behavior in individuals that already possess the repertories to contact reinforcement appropriately. Prior to initiating the study, functional assessments were completed for both participant that demonstrated high-rate bursts of mands served as a reliable precursor to self-injurious behavior. In the present study, we evaluated a waiting period and differential reinforcement of low rate behavior on reducing mands while keeping self-injurious behavior at or near zero levels. Results indicated that shorter waiting periods and DRL values were effective at reducing mands and maintaining near zero levels of self-injurious behavior.
Date: May 2020
Creator: Baak, Sara Ann
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effects of a Contingent S-Delta

Description: This thesis attempted a cross-species replication of Bland, et. al., 2018. Human participants went through a computerized, automated shaping procedure that trained them to click on and discriminate between a blue square (SD) and red square (S-delta) on a VR 12 schedule of reinforcement. Three conditions were then presented to the participants consisting of a baseline, punishment, and control condition. In the punishment and control conditions, the SD was replaced by the S-delta or a novel stimulus respectively for 1-second on a VR 5 schedule. With each click, the reaction time and specific object clicked on were recorded. While the present study partially replicated the effect seen in earlier research, our results suggest that, depending on the lens of analysis used, either a punishment or an extinction effect may be causing the results seen.
This item is restricted from view until January 1, 2023.
Date: December 2021
Creator: Ochoa, Jules A
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Using Concurrent Schedules of Reinforcement to Decrease Behavior

Description: We manipulated delay and magnitude of reinforcers in two concurrent schedules of reinforcement to decrease a prevalent behavior while increasing another behavior already in the participant's repertoire. The first experiment manipulated delay, implementing a five second delay between the behavior and delivery of reinforcement for a behavior targeted for decrease while no delay was implemented after the behavior targeted for increase. The second experiment manipulated magnitude, providing one piece of food for the behavior targeted for decrease while two pieces of food were provided for the behavior targeted for increase. The experiments used an ABAB reversal design. Results suggest that behavior can be decreased without the use of extinction when contingencies favor the desirable behavior.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Palmer, Ashlyn
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

An Evaluation of Effectiveness and Efficiency of Matrix Training Permutations

Description: Recombinative generalization is a generative outcome that involves responding to novel stimulus combinations, and it can be facilitated through an instructional approach called matrix training. A learner's history with constituent stimuli and the arrangement of combination stimuli within the instructional matrix may affect the likelihood of recombinative generalization. To investigate this further, the current project assessed recombinative generalization with novel combinations of abstract stimuli by programming specific training histories for undergraduate student participants. The matrix training conditions were: (a) trained constituents with overlap training, (b) untrained constituents with overlap training, (c) trained constituents with nonoverlap training, and (d) untrained constituents with nonoverlap training. We evaluated whether and the extent to which recombinative generalization occurred in each matrix training condition in comparison to a condition that included training the constituents and providing a word-order rule. Finally, we compared the training trials in experimental conditions to directly training all constituents and combinations. The results suggested both overlap conditions and the trained constituents with nonoverlap condition produced recombinative generalization, and the trained constituents with nonoverlap condition was the most efficient. These results could inform the training order and stimulus arrangements practitioners employ to program for recombinative generalization.
Date: May 2020
Creator: Durham, Rebecca
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Neurociencia Bicultural: Testing the Effects of Culture on Recognition Memory in Bicultural Latinxs

Description: Past research has provided evidence for cultural differences in episodic memory when comparing European American and East Asian samples. However, cultural cognitive neuroscience has become over-dependent on European American vs. East Asian samples, which has left very little research into groups outside of this dichotomy. The aim of this dissertation was to address the need of more diverse samples in cultural cognitive neuroscience and to address the lack of research on Latinx biculturals. In this dissertation I explored how language could serve as a priming method to activate specific cultural systems, how bicultural Latinxs may switch cultural frames through language priming, and how priming of cultural systems affects their perception and recognition memory for certain visual information. The present study was designed to include a specific technique to investigate the potential cross-modal effect of cultural priming through language on visual cognition in bicultural and bilingual Latinxs. Results suggest that language did prime bicultural Latinxs to perform differently in a behavioral task, where images encoded in Spanish were more likely to be identified as incorrect and images encoded in English were more likely to be identified as correct. Additionally, we found that Cultural Blendedness directly predicted recognition accuracy, where higher identification led to more incorrect answers, and lower identification led to more correct answers. Implications, limitations, and areas of future study are discussed.
Date: May 2021
Creator: Carbajal, Ivan
Partner: UNT Libraries

Reliability of Treatment Integrity Assessment with Multiple Observers: Can Agreement Be Assumed?

Description: Interobserver agreement (IOA) was calculated across three participant dyads for a generalized treatment integrity tool. No dyads achieved 80% agreement during baseline. Task clarification was piloted as an intervention for two of the three dyads. Form agreement produced stabilization in both dyads and improvement in one dyad. Time agreement did not improve but demonstrated marked trends in one dyad.
This item is restricted from view until December 1, 2022.
Date: May 2022
Creator: Cohen, Lindsay Anne
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Effect of Trauma-Related Stress during Acute Alcohol Intoxication on Driving-Related Risky Decision-Making

Description: Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes are a major preventable cause of death in the United States. One potential factor that may modulate the influence of alcohol intoxication on driving-related decision-making is posttraumatic stress. The current study evaluated the influence of induction of acute trauma-related stress (via script-driven imagery) during alcohol intoxication (.06% BrAC) on driving-related risky decision-making – willingness to drive, driving-related decision-making (i.e., attempted red light runs), and driving-related reaction time (i.e., braking latency) – among 56 trauma-exposed (currently symptomatic) adult drinkers from the community (M = 25.32; 46.4% female). Results indicated that trauma-related stress may exacerbate willingness to drive during a state of acute alcohol intoxication, but, alternatively, may have only a minimal-to-moderate effect on performance-based, driving-related decision-making (i.e., red light runs), and a potentially mitigating impact on driving-related reaction time (i.e., braking latency) under the influence of alcohol. Generally, results suggest that trauma-related stress may differentially impact varying aspects of driving-related risky decision-making, above and beyond the influence of alcohol. Implications for theoretical modeling for driving-related decision-making during acute intoxication and for the advancement of education and intervention efforts, as well as suggestions for future directions, including methodological and procedural improvements, are discussed.
Date: August 2020
Creator: Kearns, Nathan T
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

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

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

Exploring the Effects of Cultural Consequences Identified through a Ranking Task on the Interlocking Behavioral Contingencies of Ethically Self-Controlled Responses with Participants with Pre-Existing Relationships

Description: This study explored the effects of cultural consequences identified through a ranking task on the selection of interlocking behavioral contingencies and aggregate products constituting ethically self-controlled responses when participants had pre-existing relationships. Two experiments were conducted to explore these effects. Experiment 1 had two triads of three participants each recruited from a university-based autism center. Experiment 2 had three triads of three participants each; participants in Triads 3 and 4 were recruited from a university-based rock-climbing club while participants in Triad 5 were recruited from the same university-based autism center as in Experiment 1. All participants were exposed to a task that involved choosing odd or even rows from a matrix displayed throughout the experimental session. Individual contingencies were programmed in all conditions while metacontingencies were programmed in some conditions. Participants selected the topography of the cultural consequence through a pre-experimental ranking task prior to the onset of the experimental session. A change was made to the experimenter's verbal behavior in all operant and metacontingency conditions for Experiment 2. The results of both experiments indicate that identification of the cultural consequence through a ranking task with participants having pre-existing relationships did have an effect on the continued selection of the cultural consequence across all triads with quicker selection occurring during Experiment 2. This study extends the current literature on ethical self-control and provides new procedures and designs to further understand the variables involved in the selection of cultural consequences when there is competition with an immediate operant consequence.
This item is restricted from view until June 1, 2023.
Date: May 2022
Creator: Elwood, Chelsea Christina
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

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

Description: This study examined the effects of fluency-based instruction on the identification of six component-composite relations for early reading skills. Five participants (ages 5-8) who struggled with reading participated. A multiple probe design was used to assess the effects of frequency building on prerequisite skills on the emergence of composite reading skills. The results show that the prerequisite skills taught did not have an effect on the composite skill probes but did have an effect on the assessment scores. The data expand the research pertaining to Precision Teaching, fluency-based instruction, and component-composite relations. These data suggest that additional skills may be needed to be taught in order to effects on the composite skills. In addition, these authors identify the need for the identification of the component skills necessary to teach rapid autonomic naming.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Bandy, Darren
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

The Effects of Contingency Type on Accuracy and Reaction Time

Description: Positive and negative reinforcement contingencies have been compared in terms of preference, but the differential effects of positive and negative reinforcement on reaction time and accuracy with other variables controlled remain unclear. Fifteen undergraduate students participated in a sound discrimination task that involved random mixed-trial presentations of positive and negative reinforcement contingencies. The participants' goal was to correctly identify whether the tone was shorter or longer than 600 milliseconds. On positive reinforcement trials, the participants received feedback and money tallies only if they identified the sound length correctly, with each correct response in the positive reinforcement trials earning the participant 10 cents. On negative reinforcement trials, the participants received feedback and money tallies only if they identified the sound length incorrectly, with incorrect trials subtracting 10 cents from the participants' total money (which began at $4.00 to equalize the weights of the positive and negative reinforcement contingencies). Accuracy analyses showed a relatively curvilinear relationship between the number of errors for each participant and the binned duration of the sound stimulus, with no differences across the positive and negative reinforcement conditions. Results also indicated weak linear negative correlations at the single subject level between comparison stimulus duration and reaction time, with similar slopes between positive and negative reinforcement trials, and strong curvilinear correlations at the group level, indicating differences between grouped and individual analyses. Overall our results appear to support abandoning the distinction between positive and negative reinforcement as two separate behavioral processes.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Adams, Owen James
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Variability in the Natural World: An Analysis of Variability in Preschool Play

Description: Children acquire many skills through play. These range from fine and gross motor skills, social skills, problem-solving, to even creativity. Creativity or creative engagement is frequently a component in early preschool curricula. A pivotal repertoire to engage in behaviors deemed creative, such as art, storytelling, problem-solving, and the like, is the ability to vary one's responses regardless of the specific repertoire. Researchers have developed methods to produce response variability. However, notwithstanding the significant contributions from the literature for prompting response variability, it remains unclear how much variation in responding is socially appropriate. To fill this research gap, the purpose of this study is to characterize and understand the different ways preschool children commonly interact with the activities and materials present in a preschool classroom. In our study, we assessed children's repeat item interactions, novel item interactions, and time allocation across seven concurrently available activity centers. A multifarious pattern for item interactions emerged across children. Some children had restricted levels of novel item and center interactions, while other children had more varied novel item and center interactions. However, the variance in interactions was predominantly controlled by the center type. This study bolsters our understanding of variability and creativity within a school setting, but more importantly, it informs the task of selecting goals for applied practice with children who have restricted play or interests.
Date: August 2020
Creator: Armshaw, Jared T
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Self-Efficacy and Competence: A Physical Activity Experimental Comparison

Description: Sedentary behavior has been shown to lead to overweight and obesity, which are risk factors for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular heart diseases (CHD) and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Two constructs have been used to attempt to enhance motivation in order to promote long-term physical activity behavior change: self-efficacy (from Self-Efficacy Theory) and competence (from Self-Determination Theory). Though these constructs are from two different theories and purportedly measure two different concepts, they have been used interchangeably in physical activity research. This project examined similarities and differences in the theoretical explanations of self-efficacy and competence. Participants were college students ages 18 to 53 (n = 194, 65.8% female) who were randomized to one of two intervention groups (competence vs. self-efficacy) or an attention control group, with an overall attrition rate of 0.6%. Repeated measures ANCOVAs controlling for strenuous exercise and BMI showed no within groups or between-groups differences in competence or self-efficacy. Measures of competence and self-efficacy were strongly correlated (r = .74). Further inspection showed both measures were tapping into a third variable: confidence. Additionally complicating the findings is documented evidence of college students over-reporting high confidence levels. Recommendations include incorporating items measuring growing mastery into competence scales and examining this same question for older sedentary adults.
Date: August 2019
Creator: Phillips, Amanda S.
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 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

Acceptability of Behavioral Interventions for Autism

Description: Caregivers' evaluation of evidence-based behavioral interventions may differ dependent upon the type of language used to describe the intervention. We administered a survey to 24 parents of children with autism to assess social validity measures of behavioral interventions described in one of three communication styles: technical, conversational, and conversational with intended outcome. Participants were presented with a description of two behavior-reduction and two behavior-acquisition interventions. Overall, interventions described in conversational with intended outcome style received the highest social validity ratings, while interventions described in the technical style received the lowest ratings. Moreover, behavior-acquisition interventions were rated significantly higher than behavior-reduction interventions when described in either conversational or conversational with intended outcome style. The current study supports the requirements of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board's Compliance Code that behavior analysts should inform the client/consumer of the treatment/interventions in an understandable language. Findings are also discussed in terms of verbal communities.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Fatema, Afshaan
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

A Behavior Analytic Account of Humor Responses: Taking a Joke Way Too Seriously

Description: Compared to other examples of human behavior, humor responses have received relatively little attention from the scientific community and by the behavior analytic community in particular. This study investigated what some of the controlling variables for humans to emit a humor response may be. Participants were randomly presented two types of word sequences/jokes: one with a matching punchline and one without a matching punchline. Participants rated whether the jokes were funny or not funny, and reaction time was measured for all stimuli presented. Generally, the results showed that reaction times to punchlines rated as not funny were shorter than punchlines that were rated funny. These differences in reaction time were interpreted with priming, intraverbal control, and multiple control as an experimental foundation. Limitations include the absence of physiological measures due to COVID-19 restrictions and the forced choice of two rating responses. The implications of this research reveal opportunities for future research of humor responses.
Date: December 2021
Creator: Amezquita IV, Edward Brandon
Partner: UNT Libraries
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