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 #166
Translational Research: Toward Clinical Applications Through Experimental Analyses of Behavior
Sunday, May 27, 2012
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
608 (Convention Center)
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Kathryn M. Kestner (Western Michigan University)
Discussant: Jennifer J. McComas (University of Minnesota)

In this series of presentations, one study investigating variables affecting choice and two studies exploring variables affecting resurgence of previously extinguished behavior, will be presented with an interest in better understanding two phenomena relevant to applied settings. Patrick Romani (University of Iowa) will present a behavioral economic analysis of the effects of unit price on choice when providing the opportunity to choose work in order to earn preferred reinforcers to participants referred for noncompliance with academic tasks. Kathryn Kestner (Western Michigan University) will present a nonhuman laboratory assessment of a potential method for reducing unwanted resurgence. This study looked at the effects of superimposing a punishment schedule on a differential reinforcement of alternative behavior procedure on resurgence of the target response when the alternative behavior was put on extinction. Ryan Redner (Western Michigan University) will present data from an investigation exploring the conditions under which punishment-induced resurgence may occur. Jennifer McComas as the discussant will provide a general summary of the findings of these studies, as well as reactions regarding potential implications and areas for future research. The implications for applied research and practice as well as further translational work will be a main focus.

Keyword(s): Behavioral Economics, Resurgence, Translational Research, Unit Price

Use of Unit Price as a Means to Evaluate Preference in an Outpatient Clinic

PATRICK ROMANI (University of Iowa), David P. Wacker (University of Iowa), Jennifer Kuhle (University of Iowa), Thomasin E. McCoy (University of Iowa), Brooke Natchev (University of Iowa)

The current study investigated the use of unit price (UP) to evaluate two childrens preference for attention, tangible items, and escape from demands (Participant 2 only). Participants were referred to a behavioral outpatient clinic to address noncompliance with academic demands. Interobserver agreement was calculated across 30% of all sessions and averaged 100%. During Phase One, each participants preference for reinforcers was evaluated under low response requirements. In a concurrent operants design, each participant was presented with academic work and preference for the previously mentioned reinforcers was evaluated under a UP of 1. During Phase Two, in a concurrent operants design, the UP for the most preferred reinforcer was systematically increased, while the concurrently available reinforcers remained at a UP of 1. Results identified two patterns of responding. Participant 1s choices between reinforcers were influenced by UP. Preference for either reinforcer was not sufficiently motivating to compete with increasing task requirements. Participant 2 chose to complete work until a UP of 2. Preference for attention competed with concurrently available reinforcers at a lower UP. These findings suggest that evaluating preferences for reinforcers under different schedule requirements may be an efficient strategy for developing behavioral interventions in settings such as outpatient clinics.

Reducing Unwanted Resurgence: A Translational Approach
KATHRYN M. KESTNER (Western Michigan University), Ryan Redner (Western Michigan University), Jessica Steele (Western Michigan University), Alan D. Poling (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: The resurgence of a previously extinguished response can be an undesired result when implementing behavioral interventions in applied settings. Many behavioral interventions are based on differential reinforcement procedures where reinforcement is withheld for engaging in aberrant behavior (extinction), and reinforcement delivery is instead implemented as a programmed consequence for engaging in an appropriate alternative behavior. Reinforcement may become unavailable for engaging in appropriate behavior either due to unintentional lapses in procedural fidelity or the removal or thinning of the alternative reinforcement schedule. This study investigated one possibility for reducing the probability of resurgence, or the extent to which a response resurges, in the event a behavioral intervention is removed or compromised. A punishment procedure was superimposed on a differential reinforcement schedule in laboratory rats to determine to what extent, if any, the previously extinguished behavior resurged. The resurgence patterns in the experimental group were compared to a control group that experienced differential reinforcement without punishment. The data indicate that the addition of concurrent punishment to the alternative reinforcement procedure can reduce, and in some cases eliminate, future resurgence. The results will be discussed in terms of immediate findings, conceptual implications, and suggestions for future research.
Punishment-Induced Resurgence
RYAN REDNER (Western Michigan University), Kathryn M. Kestner (Western Michigan University), Alan D. Poling (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Two experiments with rats as subjects examined the possibility that punishment, instead of extinction, could induce resurgence. Three conditions were implemented: (a) initial acquisition of lever pressing for food reinforcers, (b) extinction of lever pressing and initial acquisition of nose poking, and (c) continued reinforcement for nose poking with a schedule of shock delivery. Experiment 1 compared a control group, that did not receive shock in condition 3, to a group that did receive shock. There was no significant increase in rate of lever pressing following the delivery of shock, although proportion of lever responding increased significantly in 3 of 4 subjects. Experiment 2 examined the possibility that a shock value that decreased the rate of nose poking, but did not decrease it to near zero levels, could induce resurgence. Rates of lever pressing were not affected, but the proportion of lever pressing increased. To date, no one has investigated whether responses that were previously extinguished and replaced by an alternative response resurge when the alternative response is punished. By implication, findings will be of potential interest to practitioners implementing procedures to reduce inappropriate responses by their clients.



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