|Application of Behavioral Economics to Task Completion, Response to Directives, and Skill Acquisition|
|Sunday, May 27, 2012|
|3:30 PM–4:50 PM |
|Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research|
|Chair: Kate E. Fiske Massey (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey)|
|CE Instructor: Kate E. Fiske Massey, Ph.D.|
The use of behavioral economics in applied behavior analysis has long been applied to understand areas of study such as addiction, gambling, and consumption. More recently, the application of behavioral economics has been extended to the treatment of individuals with developmental disabilities. Researchers have begun to manipulate such common economic concepts as unit price and pay rate to alter the behavior of individuals with disabilities, leading to more efficient skill acquisition and reductions in maladaptive. In the current symposium,4 groups of researchers have applied the principles of behavior economics to alter motivation for appropriate behavior and/or responding in skill acquisition programs. The first study examines the manipulation of the "cost" of reinforcement and "pay" for task completion to increase student completion of nonpreferred tasks. The second study considers student preference for how instructions are provided, and how directive modality is related to work output. The third investigation applies the relation between work output and size of reinforcement to the use of differential reinforcement in the classroom. The final study evaluates the use of differential reinforcement to decrease prompt dependency in a least-to-most prompting hierarchy.
|Keyword(s): Behavioral Economics, Differential Reinforcement|
Treatment of Maladaptive Behavior by Manipulating Pay Rate and Unit Price
|CHRISTOPHER MANENTE (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Robert LaRue (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Lauren Alison Pepa (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Anton Shcherbakov (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), James Maraventano (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Erica Thomas (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Suzanne Corinne Wichtel (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), David Michael Fincke (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey)|
The prevalence of problem behavior among individuals with autism is heightened relative to other populations (Holden & Gitlesen, 2004; Lowe, Allen, Jones, Brophy, Moore, & James, 2007). This can be especially problematic among adults with autism as challenging behavior among this population is often more intense (Hastings & Brown, 2000), more complex (Fox, Holtz, & Moist 2009), and more established in comparison to that of school-age children (Matson, 1988). Consequently, many people often avoid working with adults with developmental disabilities who exhibit challenging behavior for fear of injury (Hastings & Brown, 2000). These fears may understandably make staff less likely to use assessment and treatment procedures that would increase the likelihood of challenging behavior, even though such environmental manipulations have the most empirical support for their use. The purpose of the current investigation is to explore the utility of manipulating economic variables within the environment to address ritualistic and escape-maintained maladaptive behavior among a group of adults with autism as an alternative to traditional, potentially more dangerous forms of treatment. Preliminary results suggest that the manipulation of a cost-pay structure can be successful in treating various topographies of maladaptive behavior. These results have broad implications for the treatment of a variety of escape-maintained, complex stereotyped, ritualistic behavior and restricted interests among learners with autism across the lifespan.
Does Neuropsychological Profile Influence Unit Price? A Comparison of Preference for Visual and Verbal Directives and Effort in Children With Language Learning Disabilities
|THOMASIN E. MCCOY (University of Iowa), Patrick Romani (University of Iowa), Yaniz C. Padilla Dalmau (University of Iowa), David P. Wacker (University of Iowa), Kelly M. Vinquist (University of Iowa)|
The current study, which was based in behavioral economic literature, was designed to assess whether preference for mode of directive could be predicted by patterns of neuropsychological performance. In addition to a detailed case presentation analysis, we will present aggregate data for this participant and four other children diagnosed with an expressive language learning disability. Based upon neuropsychological research, it was hypothesized that the children would prefer a visual relative to verbal mode of directive. Interobserver agreement was calculated across at least 30% of all sessions and averaged 100%. Within a concurrent operant design, participants completed a series of tasks varying in both nature and degree of difficulty; for each task, participants chose either a visual or a verbal directive. Results indicate that all five participants preferred the visual directive (visual chosen = 60% of trials) relative to the verbal. Moreover, all five children completed more work (our case study participant completed eight times the work) in order to access the visual directive. Results are discussed in light of potential educational and clinical implications for children with learning disabilities.
Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Differential Reinforcement in Skill Acquisition
|KATE E. FISKE MASSEY (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Amy Paige Hansford (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Meredith Bamond (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey)|
A common recommendation in teaching skill acquisition to children with autism is to apply differential reinforcement by reserving high-quality reinforcement for unprompted responses (Sundberg & Partington, 1998). However, student response to this use of differential reinforcement may be dependent upon their ability to discriminate between high and low levels of reinforcement and their willingness to put forth more effort to gain access to high-quality reinforcement. Two students with autism were included in the current study, which assessed whether the students demonstrated preference for a large or small amount of reinforcement in a paired choice preference assessment and whether they demonstrated greater persistence in working for the larger amount of reinforcement during a progressive ratio schedule. A skill acquisition program was then taught with and without the use of differential reinforcement for unprompted responding. Both learners evidenced preference for larger amounts of reinforcement and demonstrated greater persistence during a task when reinforced with the larger amount of reinforcement than with the smaller. However, the use of differential reinforcement for responding in skill acquisition program did not have an appreciable effect on the rate of acquisition.
|Differential Reinforcement to Decrease Prompt Dependency|
|LINH B. LY (Kennedy Krieger Institute), SungWoo Kahng (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Cindy T. Graham (Spectrum Behavioral Health)|
|Abstract: Prompt dependency is a problem that may arise with individuals with developmental disabilities (Clark & Green, 2004; Oppenheimer, Saunders, & Spradlin, 1993). Differential reinforcement has been successful in increasing independent responding (Hausman, Kahng, & Ingvarsson, unpublished manuscript; Karsten & Carr, 2009). However, some tasks require an initial instruction to indicate the desired response (e.g., letter identification). The purpose of the current study is to evaluate the effects of manipulating the reinforcement schedule contingent upon compliance with verbal and/or gestural prompts. That is, an edible and praise were provided following compliance after the verbal prompt in one condition or after the verbal and gestural prompts in the second condition. To date, a 12-year-old boy diagnosed with autism and mental retardation has participated in the current study. Results indicated that when reinforcement was contingent on compliance after the verbal prompt, the percentage of compliance after the verbal prompt was high. Further, when reinforcement was provided after compliance after both the verbal and gestural prompts, the percentage of compliance after both the verbal and gestural prompts was low or zero.|