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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Paper Session #174
On Reinforcement and Punishment
Sunday, May 27, 2012
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
605 (Convention Center)
Area: TPC
Chair: Catalina Rey (New Way Day)

Aggression Reinforcers: A Brief Review of Related Literature and Its Significance to Practice

Domain: Service Delivery
ERIC M. MESSICK (University of Waikato)

Aggressive behaviour that has no clear function may involve aggression reinforcers. These kinds of reinforcers (or at least stimuli that are given this label) are not well discussed in contemporary behaviour analysis literature and therefore may not be considered in practice. Theoretical and empirical literature relating to aggression reinforcers will be reviewed and their implications for practitioners will be discussed.


DRO: Punishment in Disguise

Domain: Theory
CATALINA REY (New Way Day Services, Inc.), Joshua K. Pritchard (Florida Institute of Technology)

The current paper will elucidate the behavioral processes underlying the procedure currently called DRO. We will argue why we believe that DRO is a misnomer, and explain why it should be classified as a punishment procedure rather than differential reinforcement. In addition, we will introduce a term that better describes the type of negative punishment that is analogous to the avoidance type of negative reinforcement (contrasted with escape). If there are2 types of negative reinforcement (escape and avoidance), then it should follow that there are also2 types of negative punishment. This subset of negative punishment will allow for a more complete and coherent understanding of negative punishment and ultimately allow for the creation of new procedures that are least restrictive.


Unto Others: An Extrapolation of Research on Differential Punishment to the Golden Rule

Domain: Theory
LEE L. MASON (University of Texas at San Antonio)

This presentation examines the current literature on bringing challenging behavior under stimulus control as a means of developing a discrepancy paradigm. In order to differentially reinforce incompatible behavior, it is often necessary to bring the behavior targeted for punishment under stimulus control. This is especially true when the desired replacement behavior is actually the nonoccurrence of behavior all together (e.g., vocal stereotypy, barking dogs, etc.). In this session, the current knowledge-based for achieving stimulus control for differential punishment is extrapolated to the maxim of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. The purpose is to stimulate discussion on issues of hedonism and altruism in everyday behavior, within the context of rule governance and contingency shaping. Additional consideration will be given to group and individual selection from an evolutional perspective. Finally, the science of behavior analysis will be framed in terms of doing for and unto others.


Deviation in Primary Reinforcers as an Etiological Interpretation of Autistic Behaviors.

Domain: Theory
LARS KLINTWALL (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences), Svein Eikeseth (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences)

The principle of reinforcement might bridge behavior analysis and other related fields such as diagnostics, biology and genetics. For example, primary reinforcers are stimuli whose reinforcing properties are not from conditioning. Rather, they are a result of the species phylogenic history, and hence, are genetically coded. Since genomes vary between organisms, even within species, what type of stimuli that function as primary reinforcers might vary across individuals. This variation might explain why some individuals develop unusual behavioral repertoires even when no correspondingly deviant environmental factors can be ascertained. Autistic behaviors can be interpreted as being an example of this. In this presentation, studies indicating that children with autism may have deviant primary reinforcement profiles are reviewed, and the results are interpreted within a behavior analytic framework. Conceptual problems with using primary reinforcer valences in research are discussed. Finally, studies that might combine such interpretation of autism and knowledge from genetics and biology are suggested. A successful interpretation of the etiology of autism is not only strategically important; it may also lead to interventions aimed at preventing autism in high-risk infants.




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