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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #28
CE Offered: BACB
An Evaluation of the Variables Related to the Arrangement and Outcomes of Conditioned Reinforcement Procedures
Saturday, May 27, 2017
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 3C
Area: AUT/DEV; Domain: Translational
Chair: Jason Cohen (University of North Texas)
Discussant: Svein Eikeseth (Oslo and Akershus University College)
CE Instructor: Jason Cohen, M.S.
Abstract: Recent research has investigated methods to establish novel stimuli as conditioned reinforcers; however, many aspects remain unclear. This symposium advances research on conditioned reinforcement by discussing variables related to both the arrangement and outcomes of conditioned reinforcement procedures in four data-based presentations from both basic and applied settings. First, a paper by Vandbakk and Holth compares two pairing procedures, a stimulus-stimulus procedure (SSP) and a response-stimulus-stimulus procedure (RSSP), on establishing a light and sound as reinforcers. Pelaez, Holth, and Monlux explore the role of conditioned reinforcement across several stimuli that function as reinforcers for responding in infants. In addition, they examine methods to condition novel stimuli as reinforcers. Cortez and Toussaint evaluate the outcomes of an operant discrimination training procedure on the social interactions between therapists and involves children with autism. The fourth presentation by Moore and Greer examines the correlation between reading as a conditioned reinforcer and academic outcomes.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Conditioned reinforcement, Discrimination Training, Sequential Analysis, Stimulus-stimulus Pairing
A Comparison of Two Pairing Procedures Aiming to Establish Neutral Stimuli as Conditioned Reinforcers for Rats’ Behavior
(Basic Research)
MONICA VANDBAKK (Norwegian Association for Behavior Analysis/Oslo and Akershus University College), Per Holth (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences)
Abstract: Conditioned reinforcers play an important part in theories of behavior and can be established in various ways. Often described are procedures that emanates from Pavlovian conditioning and are referred to as pairing. The purpose of the present experiment with rats was to compare and evaluate the effect of two pairing procedures to see which one was more effective in establishing neutral stimuli as conditioned reinforcers in rats. We evaluated a stimulus-stimulus pairing procedure (SSP) and response-stimulus-stimulus pairing procedure (RSSP), both of which involved pairing previously neutral stimuli with unconditioned reinforcers. Schedules were altered to see if the results were affected when conditioned reinforcers in the form of brief presentation of a light were delivered intermittently, and a sound according to a CRF schedule. A multiple single case design across four rats was used. Results indicated that response-stimulus-stimulus pairing was most effective in establishing conditioned reinforcements and that the use of a CRF schedule in the acquisition produced highest responding in the absence of the unconditioned reinforcer (water). Data from this study support previous findings from study by Dozier et al. (2012) and indicate that there are factors other than simple stimulus pairing involved in procedures for establishing conditioned reinforcers.
Social Reinforcers for Infant Behavior: Primary or Conditioned?
(Applied Research)
MARTHA PELAEZ (Florida International University), Per Holth (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences), Katerina Monlux (Stanford University)
Abstract: Some stimuli, such as certain kinds of food and liquid, seem to work as unconditioned reinforcers for the behavior of most children. However, we do not have sufficient knowledge of the range of stimuli that reinforce the behavior of typically developing children. The list of common unconditioned reinforcers may be much longer and may include familiar voices and other sounds, touch, certain visual patterns, such as human faces, smiles, and so on. Yet, such stimuli do not seem to work effectively as reinforcers for the behavior some children, who do not develop socially as typically developing children do. Hence, research is needed to (1) assess the range of stimuli that reinforce the behavior of typically developing children and (2) identify the most effective procedures for establishing these stimuli as reinforcers when this effect is lacking, such as for the behavior of children with autism.
A Sequential Analysis of Therapist and Child Social Behavior Following a Conditioned Reinforcement Procedure
(Applied Research)
KRISTI CORTEZ (The University of North Texas), Karen A. Toussaint (University of North Texas), Richelle Elizabeth Hurtado (University of North Texas)
Abstract: A core deficit in autism is that individuals often have limited reinforcers and treatment often involves establishing novel reinforcers. To address these deficits, we first established therapists’ social interactions as a reinforcer for children with autism using an operant discrimination training procedure. Next, we examined the sequential relation between social initiations and positive social responses for both therapists and children with autism. Participants included three child-therapist dyads, which were previously identified as having low rapport. We observed unstructured social play between the therapist and child prior to and following intervention. We conducted a contingency analysis, Yule's Q analysis, to evaluate the correlation between social initiations and positive responses between the dyad. Results from a Yule's Q analysis showed that both the child and adult positive responding to the others' social initiations increased following the intervention. Findings highlight the reciprocal effects of therapist-child interactions, as well as the effectiveness of establishing social attention as a reinforcer via an operant discrimination training procedure.
The Effects of Conditioned Reinforcement for Reading on the Acquisition of Reading Repertoires
(Service Delivery)
COLLEEN CUMISKEY MOORE (Teachers College, Columbia University), R. Douglas Greer (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences)
Abstract: In two experiments, we tested the effects of the establishment of conditioned reinforcement for reading (R+Reading) on the acquisition of reading repertoires. In Experiment I, we conducted a series of statistical analyses with data from 18 participants for one year. We administered 4 pre/post measurements for reading repertoires which included: 1) state-wide assessments, 2) district-wide assessments, 3) 20min observational probes, and 4) preference probes. We utilized the standardized testing measurements to establish grade-level reading repertoires, while the additional two probes measured the reinforcement value of reading. Observational data were recorded in 10s whole-intervals; participants who were observed to read for 96 of the 120 intervals (80%) were considered to have R+Reading. The results demonstrated that R+Reading is significantly correlated with reading assessment outcomes. In Experiment II, we implemented a two-year cross-sectional design with 33 participants, where we expanded the previous research to include probe trials for conditioned seeing (CS) and derivational responding (DR). Results of Experiment II indicated that increases in standardized testing scores were significantly correlated with R+Reading, and that CS and DR were pre-requisite repertoires for the acquisition of R+Reading. Further research will be conducted to ascertain if R+Reading can be established through a peer-pairing procedure.



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