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 #355
PRA Monday Afternoon Session
Monday, May 28, 2012
12:00 PM–2:00 PM
Exhibit Hall 4AB (Convention Center)
1. Differential Responding of Problem Behavior Related to Therapist
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
JAMES KING (SEEK Education, Inc.), Jie Shao (SEEK Education, Inc.), Michele D. Wallace (California State University, Los Angeles)
Abstract: The present study examined the effects of a female and a male therapist on the latency of response-class members (reaching for the item, whining, screaming, kicking, and slapping face) that served the function of accessing edible items. The female and male therapist were arranged to conduct trials that provided an edible item contingent on slapping face, and the latency of all response-class members was measured. Results indicate a pattern of brief latencies with the female therapist and prolonged latencies with the male therapist for face slapping. Additionally, conditional probabilities of each topography was calculated and the results suggest that slapping face occurred in all of the trials with fewer response variations with the female therapist (i.e., the participant quickly slapped his face and did not engage in other responses). Slapping face occurred less with the male therapist and with more variations in responses (i.e., the participant engaged in more variable responses and there was a long latency until he slapped her face). Implications for treatment design include the initial use of a male therapist to prolong the latency of slapping face to generate potential opportunities for training functionally equivalent alternative responses. Discussion and implications of gender differences in the assessment and treatment of problem behavior will be discussed.
2. Divide Attention: Social Positive or Social Negative Reinforcement
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
VICKI MEECHAN (SEEK Education, Inc.), James King (SEEK Education, Inc.), Michele D. Wallace (California State University, Los Angeles)
Abstract: Standard functional analyses typically test for problem behavior maintained by social positive reinforcement in the form of attention, social negative reinforcement in the form of escape from task demands, and automatic reinforcement. A number of methodological variations have been developed to identify various idiosyncratic variables (e.g., escape from noise, effects of transitions, etc.) and the relation of such variables to problem behavior. One variation of the typical attention condition is the divided attention condition. During the divided attention condition, the therapist is engaged in a conversation with another individuals and delivers attention contingent on the display of problem behavior (Mace, Page, Ivancic, & OBrien, 1986). Although those who have utilized this condition have assumed it is a variation of the attention condition and thus demonstrates that the problem behavior is maintained by attention, other interpretations are possible. During this condition, not only does the person receive attention contingent on problem behavior, but they also terminate the conversation. We sought to determine if an individuals problem behavior was maintained by access to attention (social positive reinforcement) vs. escape from conversation (social negative reinforcement) within a divided attention condition. Results demonstrated that the participants problem behavior was maintained by the termination of the conversation and not the delivery of attention. Both clinical and research implications are discussed.
3. A Descriptive Assessment of Problem Behavior and Appropriate Behavior in a Preschool Classroom
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
ELIZABETH KOOISTRA (WIABA, LLC), Nicole Heal (Melmark New England), Lindsay E. Behrens (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
Abstract: This study examined the extent to which peers in a preschool classroom provide the typical antecedents and consequences that are manipulated in experimental functional analyses. Ten children who attended a half-day preschool program were included in this study. A descriptive assessment was carried out in which data were collected in a natural preschool environment on the antecedents (e.g., demand), behaviors (e.g., aggression), and consequent events (e.g., escape) of child-peer interactions. Conditional and response-independent probabilities were calculated to analyze the relation between the behavior of the target child (participant) and peer. Results show that peer attention was the most common consequence following problem behavior and appropriate behavior for all participants (100%), followed by material presentation (90% of participants for problem behavior; 80% of participants for appropriate behavior) and escape from demands for 20% of participants (both for problem behavior and appropriate behavior).
4. The Use of a Progressive Ratio Schedule to Identify Break Points
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
ELIZABETH DAYTON (Melmark, Inc.), Amanda Jean Kowalski (Melmark, Inc.), Christopher J. Perrin (Melmark, Inc.)
Abstract: Preference assessments are frequently used to identify putative reinforcers, however, the identified items do not always function as reinforcers. This may be the case if the response effort for a particular task is higher than the reinforcing value of the preferred item. The purpose of this assessment was to determine if items identified in a paired-stimulus preference assessment would maintain responding across three tasks of varying response effort and to identify the break point for each item by using a progressive ratio schedule. High preferred, moderately preferred and low preferred items were selected to be used as putative reinforcers in a progressive ratio analysis. Results from the progressive ratio schedule indicated that all three items from the preference assessment maintained responding for two of the three tasks (move block, touch lid). Only the high preferred item maintained responding for all sessions of the high effort task (transitioning). The low preferred item functioned as a punisher for the high effort task (transitioning). A further analysis of breakpoints for reinforcers and conditioned reinforcers is warranted.
5. A Web-based Tool to Support Data-Based Intervention Decision Making for Infant and Toddlers at Risk for Language Delay
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
JOSEPH FURMAN BUZHARDT (Juniper Gardens Children's Project), Charles Greenwood (Juniper Gardens Children's Project), Dale Walker (Juniper Gardens Children's Project), Judith Carta (Juniper Gardens Children's Project)
Abstract: The web-based MOD (Making Online Decisions) system guides data-based intervention decision making for early childhood service providers. The MOD uses data from the Early Communication Indicator (ECI) to help service providers identify children ages 6-40 months old who may be in need of language intervention. For these children, the MOD recommends appropriate parent-delivered intervention strategies based on individual child performance on the ECI. With ongoing ECI progress monitoring, the MOD helps measure the childs response to the chosen strategy. Thus, the ECI and MOD are designed to facilitate more informed and efficient decision making by professionals providing direct services to families. We conducted a randomized control trial of the MOD. 48 home visitors from five Midwestern Early Head Start programs were randomly assigned to either use the MOD or maintain their standard services. Hierarchical Linear Modeling showed that children receiving MOD services (n=63) improved their language by an average of 1.72 communications per minute, compared to a 1.05 improvement for children receiving standard services (n=61). These differences were statistically significant even when controlling for child age and disability status. Limitations and implications for improving efficiency and implementation of progress monitoring, early intervention, program evaluation, and training will be presented.
6. Assessment and Treatment of Aggression and Self-Injury Maintained by Escape From Noise
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
MARIANA TORRES-VISO (Rutgers University), Rebecca K. Schulman (Rutgers University), Lauren Scherzer (Rutgers University), Shakira Goddard (Rutgers University), Laura C. Dolan (Rutgers University), Kimberly Sloman (Rutgers, Douglas Developmental Disabiliites Center, The State University of New Jersey)
Abstract: Research has shown that problem behavior may be evoked and maintained by escape from aversive auditory stimuli (e.g., McCord, Iwata, Galensky, Ellingson, & Thompson (2001). McCord and colleagues treated problem behavior evoked by noise through a combination of extinction, stimulus fading, and differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO). The purpose of the present investigation was to replicate and extend the findings from McCord et al. The participant was an 8-year-old boy with autism referred for the assessment and treatment of self-injury and aggression correlated with classroom noise (e.g., peers screaming or engaging in tantrums). A noise analysis was conducted and indicated that problem behavior only occurred in the presence of noise recordings and stopped when the recordings were turned off. A treatment package (extinction, stimulus fading, and DRO) was effective at reducing overall levels of aggression and self-injury. However, a return to baseline was not obtained and was possibly due to habituation to the recordings. Treatment implementation in the classroom setting is ongoing. A discussion of the challenges of implementing treatment for noise evoked behavior in an uncontrolled naturalistic setting will be provided.
7. The Effects of Auditory Stimuli on Vocal Stereotypy and Task Completion
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
REBECCA K. SCHULMAN (Rutgers University), Mariana Torres-Viso (Rutgers University), Lauren Scherzer (Rutgers University), Shakira Goddard (Rutgers University), Laura C. Dolan (Rutgers University), Kimberly Sloman (Rutgers, Douglas Developmental Disabiliites Center, The State University of New Jersey)
Abstract: Research has shown that various items or activities may compete with and reduce overall levels of stereotypy. In addition, research has shown that activities which are matched to the sensory consequences of the behavior (e.g., using access to soap for saliva play) may be more effective at decreasing the behavior (e.g., Piazza, Adelinis, Hanley, Goh, Delia, 2000). The purpose of the present investigation was to assess the effects of auditory stimuli on vocal stereotypy and task completion for a 9-year-old student with autism. A preference assessment to identify preferred and non-preferred music was conducted. Four test stimuli (preferred music, non-preferred music, white noise, recordings of participant engaging in stereotypy) and one control condition (headphones with no stimuli) were presented in a multielement format until clear patterns were observed. Results showed that preferred and non-preferred music were most effective at reducing stereotypy. Next, a compatibility assessment was conducted to assess if access to music interfered with work. Results showed that access to preferred and non-preferred music were compatible with academic tasks (e.g., levels of correct responding and on-task behavior were similar to baseline). Long term effects of access to music and work completion will be discussed.
8. Percentile Schedules in the Applied Setting: A Brief Review
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
JOSEPH H. CIHON (University of North Texas), Karl J. Zimmerman (University of North Texas), Traci M. Cihon (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Percentile schedules of reinforcement have been in used in the basic laboratory since the early 1970s (e.g., Platt, 1973). However, there is less research on the use of percentile schedules of reinforcement in the applied setting. We reviewed both basic laboratory and applied research on percentile schedules of reinforcement in an effort to determine the current parameters of our understanding of them and their clinical relevance. Suggestions for future research in applied settings are highlighted.
9. Longitudinal Evaluation of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders Following Intensive Behavioral Intervention
Area: PRA; Domain: Service Delivery
TOBY L. MARTIN (St. Amant Research Centre), C. T. Yu (University of Mantiba), Carly E. Thiessen (University of Manitoba)
Abstract: Many studies support the effectiveness of intensive behavioral intervention (IBI) for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs); however, very few studies have evaluated the long-term development of children following IBI. St. Amant Research Centre is currently conducting an 8-year longitudinal study to describe the developmental trajectories of children following IBI. Direct child assessments and parent and teacher questionnaires are administered annually to measure the childrens autism symptoms and development in social, communication, behavioral, and academic domains. Twenty-one children have participated in the study, and 13 families are currently participating in the study. Data are now available for up to 5 years following IBI with a number of the participants; autism symptoms, social skills, communication, and adaptive behaviors have all improved slightly or have remained stable over time. This project contributes to the existing literature by improving understanding of IBI's long-term impact, and may help to improve early intervention programs in the future.
10. A Retroactive Comparison of Problem Behavior on the Standard Celeration Chart and the Equal-Interval Line Graph
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
ALISON SZARKO (University of Nevada, Reno), Stuart Law (University of Nevada, Reno), Melissa Nosik (University of Nevada, Reno), Vanessa Willmoth (University of Nevada, Reno), W. Larry Williams (University of Nevada,Reno)
Abstract: There are benefits and limitations to both traditional data collection methods and the Standard Celeration Chart in clinical practice. In the current study, actual clinical data from a day treatment facility, for reduction of target behavior, was evaluated and transferred to a Standard Celeration Chart when applicable. These cases were overseen previously by behavior analysts who were not trained in the use of standard celeration charts and therefore did not utilize them for decision making. The purpose of this analysis is to identify the benefits and limitations of equal-interval data analysis and the standard celeration chart by comparing them when interpreting and collecting data. Despite consumer familiarity and therefore demand of the equal-interval graph for presenting data, there are considerable best practice reasons for behavior analysts to utilize the standard celeration chart as the basis for treatment decision making in clinical settings.
11. An Examination of Social Validity Within Single-Case Research With Students With or At-Risk for Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
Caitlin Spear (University of Oregon), M. KATHLEEN STRICKLAND-COHEN (University of Oregon), Natalie Romer (University of Oregon)
Abstract: This poster presents a review of social validity in single-case research studies that focused on interventions for students who have either been identified as having, or as at-risk for emotional and behavioral disorders. This review focused on studies from four peer-reviewed journals known to publish single-case research with this population: the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, and Behavioral Disorders. We reviewed 22 studies published from January 2008 to November 2011 that met inclusion criteria. Participants ranged from preschool to high school. The purpose of this review was: (1) to evaluate if researchers had begun addressing social validity as defined by Horner and colleagues (2005), and (2) to explore how single-case researchers were measuring social validity. Overall, results indicated that the research studies included in this review addressed socially important questions within typical contexts, but that most did not address social validity explicitly.
12. Treatment Integrity Reporting in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis: A 30-Year Update
Area: PRA; Domain: Theory
ELIZABETH SLOAN (University of Manitoba), Stephen Holborn (University of Manitoba), Mary Caruso-Anderson (University of Manitoba), Christine Sousa (University of Manitoba)
Abstract: Treatment integrity is defined as the degree to which an intervention is implemented according to its design. Without checking the integrity of a treatment, it is impossible to conclude that the results of any study are treatment determined. Peterson, Homer, and Wonderlich (1982) evaluated the reporting of operational definitions and assessments of independent variables for studies published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA) from 1968 to 1980. They found that very few studies published in JABA included treatment integrity checks. The present study updates the review by Peterson et al. in order to evaluate whether reporting of treatment integrity has changed in the past 30 years. All studies published in JABA every tenth year from 1981 to 2011 were evaluated for inclusion and reporting rate of independent variable definitions and assessments. Results showed that there has been no significant increase in reporting treatment integrity measures. Although operational definitions are typically reported, independent variable assessments remain underreported. Unfortunately, the call for increased treatment integrity reporting has seemingly gone unanswered. In the future, it is recommended that scholarly journals make publication contingent upon inclusion of treatment integrity measures.
13. A Meta-Analysis of Behavioral Interventions Utilizing Response Cost
Area: PRA; Domain: Theory
DAVID L. MORGAN (Spalding University), Katherine Kavanaugh (Spalding University), Kayla Sanchez (Spalding University), Sarah Tinsley (Spalding University)
Abstract: The present poster will provide a quantitative review of behavioral literature in which response cost was used as an intervention tactic, either by itself or as part of a treatment package, and across several populations and settings. Although meta-analysis has only recently been adopted by single-case researchers, several techniques have been recently developed for reporting both effect sizes and confidence intervals for individual organism time-series data. One method in particular, the improvement rate difference (IRD), adopted from medical research, boasts considerable promise as a method of quantitative integration, and has recently been endorsed as an analytic tool in single-case research (Parker, Vannest & Davis, 2011). Calculated effects sizes for the current database ranged from .26 to 1.0, and averaged .76, considered a large effect size (Parker, Vannest, & Brown, 2009). As an effect size measure, IRD boasts considerable compatibility with the visual inspection tactics familiar to behavior analysts, while offering a quantitative means of summarizing empirical literature closer to the gold standard being increasingly adopted by behavioral research.
14. A Meta-Analysis of Behavioral Safety Skills Training
Area: PRA; Domain: Theory
DAVID L. MORGAN (Spalding University), Robin Morgan (Indiana University Southeast)
Abstract: Applied behavior analysis has acquired considerable evidence for effective interventions for a host of challenging behaviors, but this literature is often inadequately synthesized and, consequently, of limited value to practicing behavior analysts or related professionals. Within the behavioral sciences, meta-analysis has emerged as a powerful and efficient means of quantitatively integrating empirical literature. Until recently, meta-analytic techniques have been seen as inappropriate when applied to the single-case data collected by behavior analysts, largely because such data often violate the assumptions on which historical statistical analysis rests. Recent developments, however, have resulted in several methods for quantitatively summarizing time-series data in a manner consistent with contemporary approaches in both the behavioral and natural sciences. Moreover, these techniques are largely unencumbered by the assumptions and logic that attend statistical inference and the null hypothesis testing tradition. In addition, these methods are being increasingly utilized by researchers studying behavior change at the level of the individual (Parker, Vannest, & Davis, 2011). The current project provides both a rationale for applying meta-analytic tactics to behavioral data and an example of one contemporary method, the improvement rate difference (IRD), applied to behavioral safety skills training programs. Across twelve studies and 119 participants, the mean effect size for behavioral safety skills training was .75.



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