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 #406
CE Offered: BACB
Clinical Utilization of the Technology of Positive Reinforcement in the Applied Setting
Monday, May 28, 2012
3:30 PM–4:50 PM
202 (TCC)
Area: PRA/CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Todd M. Streff (Great Strides Behavioral Consulting, Inc.)
Discussant: Jolene R. Sy (Saint Louis University)
CE Instructor: John M. Guercio, Ph.D.

The use of reinforcement in the clinical arena has typically employed a number of treatment strategies. Response classes have been acquired by human subjects using delayed reinforcement. The studies compiled in this symposium will detail the use of positive reinforcement as a treatment strategy in the applied setting. An investigation of the effects of both immediate and delayed reinforcement will be examined with respect to dually diagnosed adults in a residential treatment facility. A comparison of the effects of schedule based presentations of positive reinforcement compared to delays of reinforcement that were extended up to one week. Data will be presented that demonstrates the efficacy of both immediate and delayed reinforcement in the goal setting behavior and functional behavior of adults with severe developmental disabilities and psychiatric conditions. A similar methodology will be reported for children using a self-control procedure and progressive delays to reinforcement. Each of these applied studies will demonstrate this powerful behavioral technology in the treatment of both adults and children with special needs.


A Comparison of the Effects of the Transition From Immediate to Delayed Reinforcement via the Use of a Token System in Dually Diagnosed Males With Severe Aggressive Behavior


This project involved an investigation into the effects of changing schedules of reinforcement on functional goal completion in adults with dually diagnosed developmental disabilities/psychiatric issues and extensive histories of high risk aggressive behavior. Initially, each individual was placed on positive reinforcement contingencies using an FI 1 schedule of reinforcement for the absence of aggressive responding. Data were taken on the weekly frequency of aggressive behavior and reinforcement made available contingent upon passage of a pre-determined interval criteria for absence of the behavior. This was followed by the individuals being placed in a weekly goal setting program, which introduced a delay of reinforcement of 1 week. Finally a token system in the form of a coupon exchange system was put into place that further extended the response requirements and replaced tangible and social reinforcement with conditioned reinforcers. Data showed that individuals in the study displayed significant increases in functional goal completion scores and self-reported mood scores, as well as concomitant decreases in aggressive responding.


A Self-Control Procedure Using Conditional Discrimination Training With Children Who Have Impulsive Behaviors

AUTUMN N. MCKEEL (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)

The present study extends previous research on self-control procedures and the transformation of stimulus functions. Experiment 1 consisted of 3 participants who had been diagnosed with developmental delays between the ages of 6 and 8 years old who participated in a multiple baseline design. They were exposed to a preference assessment, a naturalistic baseline, and a choice baseline before the relational training and testing was implemented. Re-exposure to the choice baseline after the conditional discrimination training occurred to support the transformation of functions. Experiment 2 replicated the procedure with children with brain injuries from the ages of 9 to 14 years old. Results showed the alteration of preferences from the small, immediate reinforcer initially, to the larger, more delayed reinforcer following the intervention in both experiments.

A Comparison of the Effects of both Immediate and Delayed Reinforcement on the Display of Severe Aggression in Dually Diagnosed Adults
Abstract: This project involved an investigation into the comprehensive use of positive reinforcement contingencies in the management of severe aggressive behavior in adults with dually diagnosed developmental disabilities/psychiatric issues. A comprehensive behavioral incentive program based upon positive reinforcement was implemented with each of 8 females with extensive histories of high risk aggressive behavior. Each of the females was started on an FI 1 schedule of reinforcement for the absence of aggressive responding. This differential reinforcement program resulted in the immediate provision of reinforcement once they had gone for a specified period of time with no aggressive behavior noted. The schedule was then thinned to include progressively longer response requirements in order to obtain the identified reinforcer. The data show that each of the clients that was included in this program displayed significant reductions in physical aggression, property destruction, and other forms of aggressive behavior.



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