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Contingent reinforcement as an intervention to alter depressive thinking

Description: The problem of this study is to determine the feasibility of using an operant treatment procedure to ameliorate several manifestations of depression. The purpose is to apply contingent positive reinforcement to the detection of nondepressive thoughts and to examine the effects of this procedure upon the frequency of nondepressive thoughts, idiosyncratic depressive manifestations, and scores on the Depression Inventory.
Date: May 1976
Creator: Gairing, Robert L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The effects of commitment, commitment with rational justification, and an educational technique on smoking behavior with college students

Description: Eight groups of approximately ten college students each who smoked at least one package of cigarettes a day were observed for two 30 -minute sessions a week for a 5-week period. During the treatment session, students either made commitments not to smoke during post-treatment sessions, made commitments along with reasons, only gave reasons why they should not smoke, or made no statements.
Date: December 1975
Creator: O'Banion, Dan R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effects of Music and Operant Conditioning on Gross Motor Activity of Profound Mental Retardates

Description: It has not yet been demonstrated that music can be used therapeutically with profoundly retarded children. One way these children might be helped to respond to music, and therapeutically benefit from it, would be to use operant conditioning in an effort to enhance gross motor activity and then progressively shape responses until more complex behavior patterns are formed. Once these children can respond motorically in the presence of musical stimuli, continuation of responding may be possible by pairing motor activity with musical stimuli. This experiment investigated the effects of operant conditioning and music on the motor activity of profoundly retarded children in an effort to determine the therapeutic usefulness of music with such children.
Date: January 1968
Creator: Addison, Max R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Assessment and Treatment of Object Mouthing in the Classroom

Description: The object mouthing of a developmentally delayed 8-year-old girl was assessed and treated in a classroom setting. Two pretreatment assessments were conducted: A functional analysis indicated that object mouthing occurred across test conditions and persisted in the absence of social contingencies, and assessment of stimulus preference identified reinforcers to be used during treatments. Based on assessment outcomes, two treatments were implemented. Noncontingent sensory reinforcement was implemented during free-time and group activities, resulting in a 74.3% decrease in object mouthing across three settings. During one-on-one educational activities, presentation of academic task-trials at a high rate decreased object mouthing by 85.7%, relative to a condition in which tasks were presented at a slower rate.
Date: August 1997
Creator: Naftolin, Stacie (Stacie A.)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Operant Conditioning of the Tongue Flicker Response of Snakes

Description: Sixteen Nerodia rhombifera were used in each of two experiments investigating operant conditioning of the tongue flicker response. A yoked pair design was utilized throughout phases of baseline, continuous reinforcement, partial reinforcement, and extinction. During partial reinforcement, one-half of the experimental animals were reinforced FR-4 and the other half were reinforced continuously. Control subjects were treated as were their experimental partners, with the exception of noncontingent reinforcement. Statistical comparisons between means for groups during the CRF phase, partial reinforcement phase, and extinction phase were nonsignificant. However, because some snakes in the experimental groups appeared to show increases in response rate during CRF and FR conditions, the possibility exists that modification of task parameters will produce positive results in future research.
Date: May 1981
Creator: Ward, Rocky
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Behavioral-Technological Approach to Increasing Attention-to-Task Behavior in "Hyperactive" Children

Description: The present study sought to alleviate the response cost inefficiency of the behavioral approach to controlling classroom hyperactivity by increasing the observer-student ratio via behavioral-electronic technology. A portable, integrated-circuit, counting and timing device was developed to enable immediate time-sequenced data recording and reinforcing of eight target behaviors by a single observer. A multiple-baseline design, across matched individuals was utilized to demonstrate the reinforcing effects. The results indicated a significant increase over mean baseline frequency in attention-to-task behavior for the group of eight students. It was concluded that by utilizing the behavioral-technological intervention strategy applied in this study, one observer could accurately monitor and reinforce eight students simultaneously and subsequently increase task attentiveness.
Date: May 1976
Creator: Stevens, Larry Charles
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

Reinforcing Variability Produces Stereotypic Behavior

Description: Behaving in novel ways is essential to the development of the types of complex performances described by the term creativity, problem solving, and perseverance. Some research suggests that response variability is an operant and a critical component of novel behavior. However, other account of novel behavior may be more parsimonious. Topographical variability has rarely been examined, nor has operant variability with organisms with baselines featuring stereotypic responding. This study examined the effects of a variability-specifying contingency on the cumulative novel responses of undergraduate students. Using the PORTL apparatus, participants interacted with a ball with a single hand. When the variability-specifying contingency was in effect, novel topographies were reinforced. When a reinforce every response condition was implemented, the participants did not emit any novel responses. When variability-specifying contingencies were in effect, novel responses were rarely followed by subsequent novel responses. They were mostly followed by repeated emission of the same topography, or by other previously emitted topographies. Novel responding did not persist long, although the variability-specifying contingency remained in effect and the potential for novel responding was great. The variability-specifying contingency often resulted in stereotypic response chains. Each of these findings call into the question the assertion that variability is an operant and suggests other possible explanations for the observed novelty.
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Date: May 2017
Creator: Kieta, Andrew
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effect of a Program of Operant Conditioning of Autonomically Mediated Behavior on Manifest Anxiety

Description: The purpose of this experiment was to initiate research into the use of operant conditioning of autonomically mediated behavior (OCAM) in the modification of maladaptive behavior. Anxiety was chosen as a target behavior because of its apparent pervasiveness among many different maladaptive behaviors.
Date: May 1973
Creator: Noblitt, James R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Operant Conditioning of Counselor Verbal Responses Through Radio Communication

Description: The problem of this study was to determine whether using radio communication can facilitate learning in counseling practicums. This study had four purposes: 1. To determine whether the use of radio communication would be effective in providing positive reinforcement to the counselor during counseling sessions. 2. To determine whether the use of radio communication would be effective in enhancing the learning of facilitative responses by counselors in practicum situations. 3. To determine the effect of positive reinforcement on the student counselors' performance. 4. To provide information that might be beneficial with regard to future research involving the use of radio communication in counselor training.
Date: May 1974
Creator: Tentoni, Stuart Charles
Partner: UNT Libraries

Conditioned Reinforcement with an Equine Subject

Description: Historically, horse trainers have relied primarily upon repetition, negative reinforcement, and punishment to teach new behaviors. Positive reinforcement has been eschewed, largely on the basis of the wides read belief that positive reinforcement is not effective with horses. Additional difficulties in the timely application of such reinforcement have further inhibited its use. After repeated pairing of an auditory stimulus with an established primary reinforcer, the auditory stimulus was predicted to be a reinforcer. An equine subject was then successfully trained to perform five different, novel tasks using only the auditory stimulus. Subsequently, extinction of behavior was noted in the absence of the conditioned reinforcer. Implications for many phases of horse training were discussed. Some weaknesses of the present study were noted along with suggested issues for future investigations.
Date: May 1980
Creator: Flynn, Karen Kolb
Partner: UNT Libraries

Effect of Operant Behavior on the Metabolism of 5-Hydroxytryptamine

Description: The role of operant behavior in the metabolism of brain 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) turnover was investigated. Two and one-half hours following the administration of 150 mg/kg of para-chlorophenylalanine (PCPA), a specific inhibitor of tryptophan hydroxylase, levels of 5-HT were compared in sedentary and performing rats. Whole brain levels of serotonin were reduced in both responding and sedentary animals; however, differences between these groups were not statistically significant. The drug induced decrease in 5-HT levels was accompanied by a significant decrease in session responding. The degree of suppressed responding could be correlated with the level of 5-HT following PCPA, suggesting that the metabolism of serotonin is in part modulated by the rate of responding as maintained by the operant schedule.
Date: August 1979
Creator: Shepard, Paul
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effect of Response-Contingent Positive Stimulation of the Frequency of Intervals of Specified Fluent Verbal Behavior of Stutterers

Description: Intervals of specified fluent verbal behavior of two stutterers received response-contingent positive stimulation in the form of an accumulating points system, Assessment was made o the effect of experimental manipulation on the frequency of fluent speech intervals as well as on the frequency of subject-identified stuttering behaviors observed during the experimental session. The results indicated significant change in fluent interval frequency in the spontaneous speech of one subject. Effect of the experimental contingency was not demonstrated in the oral reading of a second subject. Stuttering. behavior data indicated that an indirect effect of the positive stimulation can change the frequency of behavior not being contingently stimulated.
Date: August 1976
Creator: Scarborough, John L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Analyzing Contingencies of Behavioral and Cultural Selection

Description: A choice paradigm was used to evaluate allocation of interlocking behavior of two groups of two participants between responses having operant consequences only and responses having cultural consequences. In a discrete trial BABABAB design, each participant could select one of three options, which delivered either 3 or 5 points. In B (cultural consequence) conditions, two of the options had additional effects: the 3-point option also added 3 points to the other participant's earnings, and one of the 5-point options also subtracted 5 points from the other participant's earnings. The third option was unchanged in both conditions and delivered 5 points to the participant who selected it. Results indicated that participants in both groups initially frequently produced response combinations that earned 8 points for one or the other individual (and 0 or 3 points for the other), but allocation of responding increasingly changed to combinations that produced 6 points for each individual. This shift in performances away from maximum individual reinforcement towards maximum group reinforcement indicates cultural contingencies did not act in concert with operant contingencies, suggesting they are different mechanisms of selection.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Hunter, Chad S.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Immediate and subsequent effects of fixed-time food presentations on automatically maintained mouthing.

Description: Several studies have demonstrated that fixed-time (FT) schedules of stimulus delivery can function to reduce a variety of behaviors. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the immediate and subsequent effects of FT food deliveries on mouthing. In Phase 1, a preference assessment showed that caramel popcorn, chocolate cookies and pretzels were highly preferred food items. Thus, providing the basis for use of food items during treatment. In Phase 2, a functional analysis showed that mouthing was a nonsocially maintained problem behavior. Phase 3 demonstrated the use of FT schedules of food deliveries as treatment for nonsocially maintained mouthing. Results indicated that FT schedules of food significantly reduced mouthing. In addition, levels of mouthing observed during post-FT observations were reliably lower than pre-FT observations. Treatment effects, operative mechanisms responsible for the treatment effects and the experimental arrangement used to investigate varying FT schedules are discussed.
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Date: December 2001
Creator: Simmons, Jason N.
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Behavioral Economic Analysis of Different Reinforcers: Sound-Clips Versus Points Exchangeable for Money

Description: Human operant studies frequently use points exchangeable for money as reinforcers. Some studies employ more immediately consumable reinforcers to emulate properties of food reinforcers. This study examined demand for points/money and for sound-clips to compare their economic characteristics. Across four participants, demand was often higher and less elastic for points/money than for sounds. During subsequent exposures at each response requirement, demand for sounds often decreased to a greater degree than demand for points/money. Thus, sound-clips seem less durable than points/money across prices and across repeated exposure to the same price. Response rates for points/money were often higher than for sounds, suggesting that reinforcers that generate higher response rates may be less elastic than reinforcers that generate lower response rates.
Date: December 2000
Creator: Alvey, Debi A.
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Comparison of Points Versus Sounds as Reinforces in Human Operant Research

Description: Research shows that human operant behavior typically differs from non-human operant behavior on schedules of reinforcement. These differences in performance may be related to differences between the experimental preparations used to study human and non-human operant behavior. One such difference is the type of reinforcer used. This experiment analyzed the differential effects of points alone, points backed up by money, and sounds on schedule performance of human subjects. Results show that sounds generated moderate rates of responding, capable of change in either direction. When points backed up with money were the reinforcers, however, high rates of behavior were generated, disrupting the previously established baseline performance. This suggests that while points may be effective in generating high rates of behavior, they may be ineffective in producing sensitive baselines needed to study human operant behavior on schedules of reinforcement.
Date: August 1999
Creator: Rouse, Susan L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Topographical analysis of reinforcement produced variability: Generalizations across settings and contingencies.

Description: This study evaluated the effects of programming a variability contingency on one object and the generalization of variability across other objects and contingencies when the defining features of the variable responses were topographical differences. A dog's interactions with five different objects were measured under both ANY (where any physical contact with the object would be reinforced on a fixed ratio schedule) and the VAR contingencies (where only the novel responses per trial would be reinforced). The ANY contingency produced stereotyped responding of behavior with all objects. When one of the dog-object interactions was changed to the VAR contingency, a marked decrease in stereotypic behavior and an increase in novel responses in the form of topographical combinations were observed across both contingencies.
Date: August 2007
Creator: Gomez, Francisco
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effects of Reinforcing Operant Variability on Task Acquisition

Description: Neuringer, Deiss, and Olson (2000) was replicated and extended to determine the effect of variability contingencies on task acquisition for twelve 7-9 year old children. Subjects first learned to press a computer's shift keys with increasing response variation. Each subject was then exposed to one of three experimental conditions during which they received a point for target responses. Variability condition subjects received additional points on a variable interval schedule for nontarget responses occurring less than 3% of the time. The any condition subjects received additional points on a variable interval schedule for any nontarget response. Control subjects received points only for target responses. All variability condition and two control subjects learned the target response. All any condition subjects and two control subjects did not.
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Date: December 2002
Creator: Seymour, Kail H.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Effects of Concurrent Fixed Interval-fixed Ratio Schedules of Reinforcement on Human Responding.

Description: The present study contributes an apparatus and research paradigm useful in generating human performances sensitive to concurrent schedules of reinforcement. Five participants produced performances observed to be under temporal and ratio control of concurrent fixed interval-fixed ratio schedules. Two aspects of interaction between FI and FR schedules were distinguishable in the data. First, interaction between two schedules was observed in that changes in the value of one schedule affected behavior reinforced on another schedule. Second, switching from one pattern to the other functioned as an operant unit, showing stability during schedule maintenance conditions and sensitivity to extinction. These effects are discussed in the context of current views on behavior under concurrent schedules of reinforcement, and some implications for the conceptualization, measurement, analysis, and treatment of complex behavior are presented.
Date: August 2005
Creator: Parsons, Teresa Camille
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

Effects of Click + Continuous Food Vs. Click + Intermittent Food on the Maintenance of Dog Behavior.

Description: There is disagreement among clicker trainers on whether or not food should be delivered every time the clicker (conditioned reinforcer) is used. However, presenting a conditioned reinforcer without food can weaken the strength of the conditioned reinforcer and also disrupt its discriminative stimulus function. A within subjects reversal design was used with 2 dogs to compare the behavioral effects of continuous pairings (C+F condition) vs. intermittent pairings (C+C+F condition) of the clicker with food. Results show that the C+C+F condition affects the frequency, accuracy, topography, and intensity of the behavior, and increases noncompliance and other unwanted behaviors. This study adds to the literature by evaluating the effects of conditioned reinforcement in an applied setting using discrete trials without undergoing extinction.
Date: May 2007
Creator: Wennmacher, Pamela L.
Partner: UNT Libraries