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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Poster Session #353
EDC Monday Afternoon Session
Monday, May 28, 2012
12:00 PM–2:00 PM
Exhibit Hall 4AB (Convention Center)
1. The Effects of Different Types of Attention on Responding in Young Children
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
AMY M. HARPER (University of Kansas), Claudia L. Dozier (University of Kansas), Julie A. Ackerlund Brandt (University of Kansas), Adam M. Briggs (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Attention is a stimulus that is provided for the purpose of increasing behavior; however, little is known about the reinforcing efficacy of attention in isolation as well as the effects of different types of attention for increasing appropriate behavior. The purposes of the current study were to (a) assess the relative preference of common types of attention (praise, physical attention, and conversation) using a concurrent operant arrangement, (b) evaluate the effects of the delivery of these types of attention on an fixed-ratio 1 schedule for correct task responding using a single operant arrangement, and (c) evaluate the effects of these types of attention using a progressive ratio schedule. Thus far, we found that four of the six children preferred conversation, two of six children preferred physical attention, and none of the children preferred praise. In addition, in the single operant arrangement, we have found that some children respond at a higher rate for attention types that were more preferred in the concurrent operant arrangement; whereas others do not. These data allow us to determine the most preferred type of attention for a particular child that may be used as a reinforcer for maintained responding and skill acquisition.
2. The Effects of Modality and Item Access on Preference in Young Children
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
JOSEPH DRACOBLY (University of Kansas), Claudia L. Dozier (University of Kansas), Skyler Rueb (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Researchers have found presenting actual items to be a valid method for identifying the preferences for a variety of populations (e.g., Fisher et al., 1994; DeLeon & Iwata, 1999). More recently, researchers have begun to evaluate the utility of determining preferences by using pictures of stimuli (e.g., Cote et al., 2006) or a vocal tact of stimuli (e.g., Tessing et al., 2006). Commonly, the actual items are not presented following a participant's selection in these methods. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the validity of pictorial and verbal preference assessments when the actual item either was or was not presented following selection. We conducted three administrations of each modality (verbal, pictorial, and actual) across no access and access arrangements with a preschool age child. We found inconsistent correspondence between the modalities of assessments and across the access and no access arrangements. In fact, we found that the least amount of correspondence occurred across the verbal assessments (access vs. no access assessments). The procedures will be replicated with several additional participants. Results of this study will allow us to determine the most efficient and accurate procedure for determining preferences of young children.
3. A Rapid Assessment of Skills in Young Children with Autism: A Replication
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
MEGAN HAFEN (University of Kansas), Pamela L. Neidert (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Poor academic performance may be a function of motivation (i.e., noncompliance) or performance deficits (e.g., Bonfiglio, Daly, Martens, Lin, & Corsaut, 2004; Noell, Freeland, Witt, & Gansle, 2001). Lerman, Vorndran, Addison, and Kuhn (2004) developed a skill-assessment procedure for separating skill deficits from noncompliance. The purpose of the present study was to attempt to replicate the procedures of Lerman et al. with typically developing toddlers. In the present study, age-appropriate tasks were selected from early education curriculum. Data were collected on the percentage of trials with correct responding under conditions of reinforcement only, prompting only, and/or reinforcement and prompting combined. Results suggested that (a) increases in correct responding were observed for the majority of tasks, (b) idiosyncratic outcomes were observed across children and tasks, and (c) a larger percentage of tasks required a combination of prompting and reinforcement procedures to increase responding than that observed by Lerman et al. Future directions may include (a) evaluating procedural modifications to increase the efficiency of the assessment procedure and (b) assessing the extent to which the assessment procedure can be successfully implemented by classroom teachers during the school day.
4. Interspersed Training: An Evaluation of Variables That Affect Response Acquisition
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
JULIE A. ACKERLUND BRANDT (University of Kansas), Claudia L. Dozier (University of Kansas), Joseph Dracobly (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Interspersed teaching procedures have been shown to be effective for teaching various tasks; however, the mechanism by which it is effective is unknown. Possible mechanisms include (a) increased stimulus variation with the alternation of various known and unknown items and (b) increased reinforcement density with the increase in reinforcers delivered due to known items being correct. In the absence of external reinforcement, the increased reinforcement may be automatic reinforcement in the form of getting the response correct. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate young childrens acquisition of sight words under various conditions that included combinations of high or low stimulus variation and reinforcement density (high stimulus variation, high reinforcement density; high stimulus variation, low reinforcement density [unknown items interspersed]; low stimulus variation [same unknown presented], high reinforcement density). In addition, we assessed child preference for the different conditions. For all three participants, we found that all conditions were effective at teaching sight words. For two participants, the combination of high stimulus variation and high density of reinforcement was most effective and most preferred. For one participant, the condition using high stimulus variation was most effective, and the condition using low stimulus variation was most preferred.
5. The Use of Attention as a Reinforcer With Young Children
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
MAKENZIE WILLIAMS BAYLES (University of Kansas), Pamela L. Neidert (University of Kansas), Kimberley L. M. Zonneveld (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Although it is clear that attention is an important variable in the acquisition and maintenance of child behavior (appropriate and inappropriate), further investigation of the characteristics that influence attention as a reinforcer is warranted. The purpose of this study was to identify topographies of attention typically delivered in preschool classrooms and to evaluate the relative reinforcing value of identified topographies. Results of a descriptive analysis showed that teachers typically delivered verbal attention, physical attention, and positive facial expressions (eye contact and smiles) to children following appropriate behavior. A concurrent operant arrangement and reversal design were used to evaluate the reinforcing effectiveness of each of these topographies of attention on levels of activity engagement. Idiosyncratic results were observed. For one participant, all topographies of attention increased responding. For two participants, only verbal attention increased responding. For four participants, attention alone did not increase responding. Preliminary results suggest that (a) attention alone may not be sufficient to increase some types of appropriate child behavior, and (b) specific stimulus characteristics that establish attention as a reinforcer may be unique across children and difficult to identify. Thus, additional research regarding the effectiveness of attention as a reinforcer with this population seems warranted. Data for 3 participants are depicted below as an example.
6. The Effects of Stimulus Control on Vicarious Reinforcement Effects
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
DANIELLE L. GUREGHIAN (University of Kansas), Pamela L. Neidert (University of Kansas), Jonathan R. Miller (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Vicarious reinforcement (VSR) refers to a change in behavior as a result of observing another individual receive reinforcement (Kazdin, 1973). VSR has implications for programming reinforcement-based procedures in classroom and therapeutic settings. The purpose of the study was to conduct a systematic replication of Camp and Iwata (2009; unpublished dissertation) on the extent to which vicarious reinforcement effects are influenced by stimulus control. Six typically developing preschool children have participated in the study to date. During each phase of the study, sessions were conducted in each of two different rooms (SD and S?), and the participant was seated next to a peer model. During baseline (BL), the model did not engage in the target response in either the SD or the S? setting, and no programmed consequences were delivered to the model or to the observer. During VSR, the model engaged in the target response in both the SD and the S? settings. Model responses resulted in reinforcement only in the SD setting, but observer responses were never reinforced. During Discrimination (Dis.) Training, both model and observer responses resulted in direct reinforcement (SD setting only). Overall, results showed that vicariously reinforced responding (a) was more likely following a history of direct reinforcement, but (b) rarely maintained across sessions. Results are discussed in terms of the implications for operant mechanisms involved in vicarious reinforcement effects and programming reinforcement in classroom settings. Data for three observers are presented below as examples.
7. An Experimental Analysis of Matching Using Schedule Parameters From the Natural Environment
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
TONYA LAMBERT (Syracuse University), Brian K. Martens (Syracuse University), Robert McCardell (Syracuse University), Juliana S. Peng (Syracuse University), Kelsey B. Barber (Syracuse University), William Sullivan (Syracuse University)
Abstract: Both experimental and descriptive research has shown the generalized matching equation (GME) to provide a good description of childrens choice behavior with two caveats: (a) the GME describes functional reinforcers and other consequences that may not be functional based on pre-experimental functional analyses, and (b) variable-interval schedules are typically used in experimental analyses, but schedules in the natural environment cannot be so strictly defined. This study mapped the parameters of naturally occurring attention schedules in a preschool classroom and examined the extent to which matching obtained when attention was experimentally manipulated according to those parameters. Two teachers were observed interacting with a 4-year old boy during individual activity centers over 12, 5-min sessions (12 behavior categories, mean interobserver agreement = 87.42%). Three concurrent schedules of experimenter attention with parameters similar to those observed were manipulated using a reversal design favoring either on-task (90%/10%), off-task (10%/90%), or neither (50%/50%) (Figure 1). Applying the GME to the final two data points in each condition showed approximations to matching with a slope of 1.19 and a bias toward on-task behavior (intercept of .64). We are currently replicating these results which suggest that matching may also hold for hybrid schedules common in natural environments.
8. Measuring the Effects of Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support With Direct Observation
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Z. GABRIELA SIGURDARDOTTIR (University of Iceland), Kolbrun Ingibjorg Jonsdottir (University of Iceland), Ragnheidur Sif Gunnarsdottir (Town of Reykjanes), Gylfi Jon Gylfason (Reykjanes Education Office)
Abstract: The effects of implementing School-Wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) in three elementary schools in Iceland were evaluated with a multiple baseline design across schools for many behaviors. Former studies on effects of SWPBS have used office discipline referral data and questionnaires to measure the effects of the implementation. In this study the effects were measured with direct observation of staffs and students behavior. Data were collected among three different age groups twice yearly, 2-3 weeks each time, both before and after the implementation began. Results are presented for two schools where implementation has lasted for 2 years and for one school where implementation has lasted 3 years. Results indicate that significant increases have taken place with regard to positive attention given to students by staff (praise, rewards, incentives, etc) as well decreases in ignoring of students behavior. However, staff has not yet increased their reactions to problem behavior, e.g., they dont use redirection or other programmed consequences. The effects of SWPBS on students behaviors are most noticeable in the oldest age group (13-16). Other effects will be mentioned. This study will continue for at least the next two years.
9. Successfully Teaching Music Note Reading to Teenage Guitar Students: A Direct Instruction Approach
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Z. GABRIELA SIGURDARDOTTIR (University of Iceland), Rafn Emilsson (Private Practice)
Abstract: A multiple baseline design across subjects was used to examine the effects of Direct Instruction (DI) on musical sight reading performance with teenage guitar students. All students had received 3- 4 years of traditional musical training where sight reading was part of the curriculum but still had difficulties sight reading. During baseline the students were taught by a conventional curriculum and teaching method, during intervention the students were taught by the methods of Direct Instruction and customized teaching materials. Performances on rhythmic reading, pitch reading, and melodic reading were assessed. All participants improved their performance on all variables during intervention and only then. Visual inspection of the data showed improvement in performance after 1-5 lessons and variability during baseline was reduced or disappeared after the intervention began. A direct replication of the study showed compatible results. All students improved their performance during intervention and only then.
10. Evaluation of an Errorless Learning Procedure in Braille Pre-Requisite Training
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
MINDY CHRISTINE SCHEITHAUER (Louisiana State University), Jeffrey H. Tiger (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Joanna Lomas (Louisiana State University), Jessica P. Alvarez (Louisiana State University), Sarah J. Miller (Louisiana State University)
Abstract: There is currently a deficit of research concerning instruction for the visually impaired. Specifically, there is little guidance on how to train braille reading skills and only slight support for the programs that are available. The current study attempted to address this deficit by targeting the braille pre-requisite skill of line tracking involving tactually following a row of raised braille characters in a smooth motion while contact remains with the line throughout the movement. Specifically, this study targeted the ability to continuously line track despite spaces being inserted between characters. This is a crucial skill because it is necessary for other training mechanisms, such as matching-to-sample or same-different procedures, where there are gaps between a target and sample stimuli as well as reading print that may be written with abnormal spacing such as signs or titles. The current training procedure utilized an errorless learning procedure in which spaces were gradually inserted contingent on successful tracking. In addition to successfully training line-tracking across space, this study also provides a demonstration of the generality of errorless teaching procedures to a new population and skill. By gradually inserting spaces, error-correction procedures were used scarcely, which is especially important with children with visual impairments due to this populations tendency to find physical contact especially aversive.
11. The Effects of Multiple Exemplar Instruction on the Emergence of Untaught Spelling Responses
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Derek Jacob Shanman (Teachers College, Columbia University), R. Douglas Greer (Teachers College, Columbia University), CARRIE PARKER (Teachers College, Columbia University)

We tested the effects of Multiple Exemplar Instruction (MEI) across production and selection responses for spelling –ing words and words ending in -s, on the emergence of untaught spelling responses for 6 elementary school students. The independent variable was the MEI procedure. MEI was conducted across production and selection responses across 3 or 4 rules for spelling –ing words or words ending in –s. The dependent variables were the percentages of correct untaught spelling responses to –ing words/words ending in -s emitted by the participants during pre- and post-MEI probe sessions. Abstraction responses to –ed words following the same rules were also studied for words ending in –s. Experimenters utilized a multiple probe design across behaviors (rules for –ing words and rules for words ending in –s). The results demonstrated the number of correct untaught spelling responses increased for all participants across both sets of rules (rules for –ing words and rules for words ending in –s), following MEI. Abstraction responses to –ed words for words ending in –s also increased following MEI for 3 participants.

12. The Effects of Multiple Exemplar Instruction on the Acquisition of Telling Time
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Katherine Baker (Teachers College, Columbia University), JoAnn Delgado (The Fred S. Keller School), ANNELLE WATERHOUSE KIRSTEN (Teachers College, Columbia University)
Abstract: We tested the effects of multiple exemplar instruction across two response classes: intraverbal speaker responses and production "make + time" listener responses to teach two participants telling time (or clock) skills. We implemented a time-lagged delayed multiple probe design across two developmentally delayed preschool students who were unable to textually response to time or manipulate an analogue clock to produce time. Pre-experimental probe data showed that neither participant emitted correct textual responding or listener responses to make an instructed time. Following multiple exemplar instruction across listener and speaker responses to teach the hour, quarter hour, and half hour for two operants per set, both participants emitted correct responses for the untaught operants.
13. Using a Whole Class-Level System to Decrease Transition Latency: A Case Study with a First-Grade Class
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
ERICA L. KRAHN (St. Cloud State University), Tyler Kelly Krueger (St. Cloud State University), John T. Rapp (St. Cloud State University)
Abstract: Token economies are a popular treatment package that is used to decrease excessive inappropriate behavior and to increase deficient appropriate behavior. The typography of token economy programs has evolved and improved over the last 40 years; however, the basic behavioral principles in inherent of the treatment have remained the same. One recent adaptation of to token economies is the level system (Filcheck, McNeil, Greco, & Bernard, 2004). Like traditional token economies, the level system uses principles of reinforcement, response cost, and feedback. The purpose of this data-based case study was to use a whole-classroom level system to decrease transition latencies between activities in a typical first grade classroom. The results of this study indicated that the level system was both effective for decreasing the latency between tasks and easy for a classroom teacher to implement. Some implications of the findings and limitations of the design are discussed.
14. Listening Training of English Reading Skills for English as a Second Language Korean and Japanese College Students
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
JIKYEONG KANG (Keio University), Mikimasa Omori (Keio University), Jun'ichi Yamamoto (Keio University)
Abstract: Students learning English as a second language often show the difficulty in English reading especially for Korean and Japanese students because they dont have phonics-based reading skills. Previous study showed that phonics based training and auditory input listening training were effective for acquiring English reading skills. While Korean students need to decompose and reconstruct the vowel and consonant as the unit of a phoneme, Japanese students only need to do as the unit of a letter in reading. In the present study, we examined English reading accuracy and fluency for six of each Korean and Japanese college students. We then compared the effect of whole sentence listening training and word sequence listening training. We first asked participants to read the two English stories presented on the computer. And then participants took our listening trainings. Participants were required to listen to and observe the spoken words, presented from the computer. After that, they were asked to read three stories including one new story. As a result, both Korean and Japanese group improved their reading fluency and accuracy after whole sentence listening training. These results suggest that repeated sentence listening training was effective for ESL college students in Asia.
15. The Effects of Repeated Reading vs. Audio-Assisted Reading on Oral Reading Fluency
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Vanlam Luu (Mercyhurst University), THOMAS P. KITCHEN (Mercyhurst University)
Abstract: Several authors (e.g., Heward, 2003; Kaufmann, 1996; etc.) have indicated that there is a gap between research and practice in special education. Therefore, educators must turn to the literature when selecting instructional interventions. When the literature suggests the efficacy of multiple interventions, educators must choose. Factors that lead to selection of one over another include resource availability, intervention efficiency, etc. The current study evaluated the effects of two research-based interventions for oral reading fluency: Repeated Reading (e.g. Therrien & Kubina, 2006; Kostewicz & Kubina, 2010) and Audio-Assisted Reading (e.g. Lesnick, 2006; Shany & Biemiller, 1995). In the current study, both interventions were implemented with 4th-grade general education students referred for remedial fluency instruction. The reading interventions were evaluated via an alternating treatments design. Both interventions resulted in improvements over baseline fluency levels for each participant. The effect size for two participants was much greater than that for the third. Comparative evaluation showed that the repeated reading was more effective for all three students, but only minimally more effective than audio assisted reading for one of the students. Despite this outcome, both interventions have resulted in improvement over baseline rates for all students. The study is ongoing.
16. Assessing the Effectiveness of a Computerized Program to Teach Reading When Applied in a School Setting
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
DANIELA M. RIBEIRO (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos), Raquel Melo Golfeto (Universidade federal de Sao Carlos), Leonardo Brand�o Marques (Universidade federal de Sao Carlos), Nathalia Zoppellari (Universidade federal de Sao Carlos), Deisy de Souza (Universidade federal de Sao Carlos)
Abstract: Learning to read and write in small steps is a computerized, individualized teaching program employing conditional discrimination tasks between dictated words, pictures and printed words. It has 17 teaching units, three (Portuguese) words per unit. Previous experimental studies have shown that matching tasks promote the emergence of textual behavior and dictation-taking; generalized repertoires also develop as the student progresses through the program. This study sought to evaluate the effectiveness of the program when implemented in a school setting, through the internet. Participants were 48 children, aged between 7 and 11, divided into three groups, according to their entrance reading repertoire (>70%; between 40-70%; < 40%). The program was applied during six months. Most of the students progressed through the teaching units, but there was a high variability in the amount of units completed. The mean number of sessions to criterion was higher for the group with the lower reading scores. On the other hand, this group showed, on average, the largest increases in reading and writing scores on the final assessment. The results suggest that the teaching program requires revision (the size of the teaching units, the mastery criterion, and correction procedures) and the staff requires better training.
17. Effects of Visual Prompts on Story Retelling Behaviors
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
ANA CAROLINA SELLA (University of Kansas), Daniela M. Ribeiro (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos), Carmen Silvia Motta Bandini (Universidade Estadual de Ciencias da Saude de Alagoas), Helo�sa Helena Motta Bandini (Universidade Estadual de Ciencias da Saude de Alagoas), Hilton Caio Viera (Universidade Federal da Grande Dourados)
Abstract: Many studies from the cognitivist literature argue that the mere presence of visual prompts is enough to yield good performance in story retelling tasks. Under a behavior analytic perspective, this study assessed if the presence of pictures illustrating story categories would facilitate the insertion of these categories in retelling tasks. Three at-risk first graders - age range 7 to 10 - participated. The experimental design followed the multiple probe design logic. The dependent variables were: (a) number of retold words in relation to the total number of words in each story; (b) number of story categories inserted in the retelling tasks. In testing sessions no pictures were presented. In teaching sessions, the experimenter read a story and participants were required to retell it. The teaching procedures consisted in the presentation of one picture (characters) in the first teaching session; two pictures (character and place) in the second session and so forth, until six pictures, representing the six categories, were presented in the sixth session. There was no significant increase in performance. The results suggest that the sheer presence of pictures does not increase performance in retelling tasks without additional teaching procedures (e.g., mastery criterion, observation responses, and/or accuracy feedback).
18. Teaching Reading Skills to Illiterate Adults Using Teaching Software Based on Exclusion and Matching-to-Sample Procedures
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Carmen Silvia Motta Bandini (Centro Universitario CESMAC), HELOISA HELENA MOTTA BANDINI (Universidade Estadual de Ciencias da Saude de Alagoas), Ana Carolina Sella (University of Kansas)
Abstract: The Brazilian state of Alagoas has high rates of adult illiteracy (about 30%). Therefore, it is important to develop and test new reading and writing teaching strategies to help this population. Studies show that teaching software has been developed and successfully applied with many populations. However, illiterate, typically developing adults are rarely targeted. The goal of these two studies was to assess if a teaching software, that has been successfully used with children, would have similar outcomes with typically developing adults. In Study 1, four illiterate adults were exposed to Portuguese regular word-reading tasks, which were based on exclusion procedures. Participants had to (a) match printed to dictated words (or syllables), (b) match dictated words to pictures, and (c) construct printed words with letters. In Study 2, five adults were exposed to complex word-reading tasks. Participants had to (a) match printed to dictated words and (b) construct printed words with letters. Reading and handwriting tests were conducted in both studies. Results indicate that all participants learned to read all target words and their handwriting also improved. The use of this teaching software can be an effective approach to increasing reading and writing skills among typically developing adults.
19. Using Supported Etext to Teach Science to Students with Austim Spectrum Disorders and Moderate and Severe Disabilities
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
VICTORIA KNIGHT (University of Kentucky)

This poster presentation will provide results of a series of studies will be in which researchers used single subject research designs to evaluate the effects of the Book Builder program on the acquisition of vocabulary and comprehension of science content by middle school students with various disabilities (MSD, ASD). In the first study, three phases of the study included: (a) Book Builder with comprehension supports as recommended by CAST; (b) Book Builder with explicit instruction (i.e., use of model, lead, test, and examples and non-example), and (c) Book Builder with explicit instruction (including a referral to the definition). Visual inspection of the graphed data showed the strongest functional relation was between the intervention that used explicit instruction including a referral to the definition and the number correct on the probes. Another study using a multiple probe across participants design replicated the previous study using the most effective phase (e.g., Book Builder with explicit instruction including a referral to the definition) as the intervention. Findings from this study show that all students made progress on the comprehension probes. Finally, presenters will discuss the limitations of the studies, practical implications for teachers, and future research.

20. A Replication of the Effects of Video Feedback on the Conversational Skills of Included Middle School Students Diagnosed With Autism
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
TRACY REILLY-LAWSON (Caldwell College), Frank Ammirata (New York City Board of Education)
Abstract: The purpose of this replication was to test the effects of video feedback as a self-monitoring procedure on the conversational skills of two additional middle school students diagnosed with autism in an inclusion setting. In Experiment 1, two 7th grade males, aged 12 and 13, diagnosed with autism exhibited deficits in the areas of eye contact, turn taking and body language which inhibited their ability to maintain conversations with peers. A multiple baseline design across students was implemented in which intervention consisted of the implementation of the self monitoring procedure in which the participants viewed video feedback of themselves during five minutes conversations and self-recorded their emissions of one target behavior (Participant A: body language and Participant B: eye contact). Data were recorded using whole interval recording for ten second intervals for five minute sessions. In Experiment 2, the same procedures were replicated with two additional male participants, aged 12 and 13. The results of the study demonstrated increases in the targeted behavior that was self-monitored, as well as increases in conversational behaviors that were not recorded by the participants. Video feedback was successful in increasing appropriate conversational behaviors for the participants.



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