Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Symposium #151
CE Offered: BACB
Applied Research on Basic Learning Processes: Implications for Assessment and Treatment
Sunday, May 27, 2012
10:00 AM–11:20 AM
305 (TCC)
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Eileen M. Roscoe (New England Center for Children)
CE Instructor: Eileen M. Roscoe, Ph.D.

In the current symposium, 4 individuals will present research on basic learning processes for the assessment and treatment of problem behavior or for increasing appropriate task engagement. The first presenter, Gracie Beavers, will review functional analysis data of target and precursor behavior for 3 trained relations, a response class, a behavior chain, and a precurrent-current relation. The second presenter, Jill Harper, will review a study evaluating the effects of different types of group contingencies on appropriate behavior and problem behavior. The third presenter, Kevin Schlichenmeyer, will present data on the assessment and treatment of automatically-reinforced stereotypy and on an inhibitory stimulus control procedure for promoting treatment generalization across novel settings. The fourth presenter, Erin Leif, will review a study on a component analysis of self-monitoring for increasing appropriate task engagement and decrasing problem behavior.

Keyword(s): group contingencies, inhibitory control, self-monitoring, stimulus-stimulus relations

Analysis of Response-Response Relations: The Response-class, Chain, and Precurrent Sequences

GRACIE ALLEN BEAVERS (University of Florida), Brian A. Iwata (University of Florida), Kathryn Guenevere Horton (University of Florida)

Severe problem behavior poses a challenge to assessment due to the potential risks during the course of a functional analysis (FA). One proposed solution is the precursor FA (Smith & Churchill, 2002), in which assessment contingencies are placed on responses that precede and are assumed to be members of the same response class as the target behavior. However, a response class is only 1 example of a relation in which 1 response reliably precedes another: Response-response relations also include the chain or precurrent-current relation, which may be obscured in an FA of precursor behavior. The purpose of this study was to show how programmed contingencies in a precursor FA may obscure known response-response relations. First, response classes, behavior chains, and precurrent-current relations were established using arbitrary responses. Contingencies analogous to those used in an FA of target and precursor behavior subsequently were implemented with each relation. Results for 4 subjects show similarities and differences in response patterns under the 3 trained relations.


Patterns of Social Interaction During Group Contingencies

JILL MARIE HARPER (University of Florida), Brian A. Iwata (University of Florida), Kathryn Guenevere Horton (University of Florida)

Group contingencies are distinct from individual contingencies in that performance of one individual influences the delivery of reinforcement to another. Thus, group contingencies may occasion other, nonprogrammed social contingencies of a cooperative or competitive nature. It is often unclear how behavior was changed because this unique feature of group contingencies has rarely been examined. The purpose of this study was to examine the types of social interaction, as well as performance, generated by competitive and cooperatve group contingencies relative to those observed under an independent contingency. In addition, we examined both behavior acquisition (sorting task) and behavior reduction (out-of-seat behavior) because it seemed likely that reinforcement and punishment might occasion different types of interactions. Three groups, each comprised of 3 individuals diagnosed with intellectual disabilities, participated. All subjects exhibited a minimum vocal repertoire of 2-word utterances. Results will be discussed in terms of performance, general patterns of interaction, and the specific types of interactions observed across contingencies.


Evaluation of an Inhibitory Stimulus Control Procedure for Promoting Treatment Generalization of Automatically-Reinforced Stereotypy

Kevin J. Schlichenmeyer (Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center), Eileen M. Roscoe (New England Center for Children), CALEB R. DAVIS (The New England Center for Children)

Individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often exhibit stereotypy, a behavior that has been correlated with academic and social impairments. Although there are a number of empirically validated treatment options for stereotypy, there is a paucity of research aimed at programming generalization and maintenance of treatment effects. In this study, we conducted a functional analysis and treatment assessment for stereotypy exhibited by 4 children diagnosed with an ASD. We evaluated a 10-s hands down procedure or a response interruption and redirection procedure, using a reversal design to demonstrate experimental control. In an effort to promote generalization of treatment effects across novel settings, we presented a stimulus during intervention sessions. Using a concurrent multiple baseline across settings design, we evaluated the effects of the previously paired stimulus in the absence of intervention to determine whether inhibitory stimulus control had been established. Although stereotypy was successfully reduced during treatment, we did not observe generalized suppression during nonintervention test sessions, suggesting that the stimulus paired with intervention sessions did not establish inhibitory control. We will review the implications of these findings and offer suggestions for further research on treatment generalization and maintenance for automatically reinforced stereotypy.


Component Analysis of a Self-Management Intervention for Increasing Appropriate Behavior and Decreasing Automatically-Reinforced Problem Behavior

ERIN S. LEIF (New England Center for Children), Eileen M. Roscoe (New England Center for Children), Amanda Karsten (Western New England University)

Increasing independence is an important goal for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID). Self-monitoring has been proposed as one strategy for increasing independence in individuals with ID because it involves transferring control of some aspect of treatment from the service provider to the direct consumer. However, self-monitoring is typically included as one component of treatment packages. Thus, it is unclear which component or combination of components is critical for the success of the intervention. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the effects of a self-monitoring intervention on appropriate task engagement and automatically-reinforced problem behavior of 3 individuals with ID. First, we taught participants to accurately self-monitor their behavior prior to treatment using both video and in-vivo training. Second, we assessed the effects of self-monitoring intervention components by sequentially adding them across successive phases until clinically acceptable increases in the appropriate behavior were observed. We withdrew and reintroduced the effective treatment phase, using a reversal design to demonstrate experimental control. Results indicated that self-monitoring was only effective when combined with differential reinforcement for (a) accurate self-monitoring, or (b) appropriate task engagement and accurate self-monitoring. Increases in appropriate task engagement were accompanied by collateral decreases in automatically reinforced problem behavior.




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