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

Previous Page


Symposium #432
CE Offered: BACB
Translational and Applied Research on Response Relapse
Monday, May 29, 2017
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Hyatt Regency, Centennial Ballroom E
Area: EAB/DDA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Nicole M. DeRosa (SUNY Upstate Medical University)
Discussant: Timothy A. Shahan (Utah State University)
CE Instructor: Nicole M. DeRosa, Psy.D.

Treatment relapse refers to the recurrence of previously extinguished behavior when changes to treatment occur. To date, behavior analytic research has provided an understanding of the basic behavioral processes that may predict treatment relapse; however, additional research is warranted regarding procedures for preventing relapse of targeted behavior. This symposium will present applications of translational and applied studies to the mitigation of treatment relapse. Andrew Craig and colleagues will present data on the evaluation of the influence of reinforcement of alternative behavior in the same and separate discriminative-stimulus situations on mitigating resurgence of targeted behavior in Pigeons. Valdeep Saini and colleagues will describe a human-laboratory preparation and clinical application of resurgence to demonstrate the relevance of including inactive control responses within a resurgence paradigm to differentiate between resurgence of targeted behavior and extinction-induced variability. The presentation by Henry Roane and colleagues will describe a reverse-translational evaluation of context renewal implemented first within a functional communication training intervention for individuals diagnosed with autism across home and clinic settings, and second within a human-operant arrangement. Michael Kelley and colleagues will present data on the demonstration of an ABA renewal paradigm with children diagnosed with autism followed by the implementation of a renewal mitigation procedure to reduce the recurrence of targeted behavior during the return to the A phase. Finally, Timothy Shahan will serve as the discussant to integrate the findings of these presentations into the broad theme of treatment relapse.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Delivering Alternative Reinforcement in a Distinct Context Reduces Its Contra-Therapeutic Effects on Resurgence
(Basic Research)
ANDREW R. CRAIG (Utah State University), Paul Cunningham (Utah State University), Maggie Sweeney (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Timothy A. Shahan (Utah State University), John A. Nevin (University of New Hampshire)
Abstract: “Resurgence” refers to relapse following suspension of alternative reinforcement in differential-reinforcement-of-alternative-behavior (DRA) treatments. Behavioral momentum theory asserts delivery of alternative reinforcers in a discriminative-stimulus situation previously associated with reinforcement of target behavior increases resurgence. Thus, delivering alternative reinforcers in a separate discriminative-stimulus situation might decrease resurgence. The present three-condition experiment evaluated this prediction in pigeons. Each condition began with reinforcement of target-key pecking in Phase 1. In Phase 2, target-key pecking was extinguished, and pecking a second key produced alternative reinforcement. In the Standard-DRA condition, target- and alternative-response keys were available in the same discriminative-stimulus situation. In the Context and Lockout conditions, alternative reinforcement occurred in a distinct context that was available contingently on abstinence from target-key pecking. Alternative-reinforcer rates were yoked between conditions. In Phase 3, alternative-key pecking was extinguished in the Standard-DRA and Context conditions, and access to the alternative context was removed in the Lockout condition. Resurgence occurred in the Standard-DRA and Lockout conditions but not in the Context condition. Thus, consistent with momentum theory’s predictions, delivery of alternative reinforcement in a separate discriminative-stimulus situation reduced resurgence, but only when this alternative context remained available. Effects of these treatments on other forms of relapse will be discussed.
Resurgence and Response Variability During Challenges to Treatment
(Applied Research)
VALDEEP SAINI (Upstate Medical University), William Sullivan (Syracuse University), Nicole M. DeRosa (SUNY Upstate Medical University), Henry S. Roane (Upstate Medical University)
Abstract: Resurgence is observed when a previously extinguished behavior reemerges when a more recently reinforced behavior is extinguished. Nonhuman animal studies further define resurgence as responding that is greater than an inactive control response; one which has never produced reinforcement. However, studies of resurgence using human subjects, examining both arbitrary responses and socially meaningful behaviors such as severe problem behavior, have seldom made use of an inactive control response to distinguish resurgence from extinction-induced variability. First, we evaluated whether target response resurgence exceeded levels of inactive response recurrence in adult subjects using a human-laboratory preparation. For all subjects we found no differences in levels of resurgence and recurrence when target and alternative responses were placed on extinction. Second, we evaluated whether response allocation between problem behavior, functional communication, and other forms of nontargeted behavior varied as a function of extinction via a demonstration of response resurgence. Our results are consistent with other applied studies that have measured nontargeted behavior during resurgence, and highlight the importance of including inactive control responses when studying human behavior.

Applied and Translational Evaluations of Context Renewal

(Applied Research)
Henry S. Roane (Upstate Medical University), WILLIAM SULLIVAN (Syracuse University), Valdeep Saini (Upstate Medical University), Nicole M. DeRosa (SUNY Upstate Medical University)

Basic and translational research on context renewal provides a model for studying treatment relapse following successful response to treatment in clinic settings. Two studies were conducted to evaluate context renewal under naturalistic conditions. In study one, context renewal using functional communication training was evaluated across home and clinic settings. The reemergence of destructive behavior, consistent with operant context renewal, was observed. A limitation was that during treatment at clinic, the children returned home before treatment was completed and taken into the home. To evaluate this limitation a reverse translational, human operant study was conducted. A concurrent-operant arrangement was used to simultaneously evaluate and compare ABA and ACA renewal, in which Context C consisted of Context B with brief returns to Context A. ABA renewal was observed, whereas under the ACA arrangement the target response persisted throughout the evaluation. The implications of these findings with respect to basic and translational studies of operant renewal and the treatment of severe destructive behavior will be discussed.


Examination of Renewal and its Mitigation

(Applied Research)
MICHAEL E. KELLEY (The Scott Center for Autism Treatment, Florida Institute of Technology), Andrew Morgan (FIT), Brandy Hinkle (FIT), Alex Forton (FIT), Ryan Kimble (FIT), Shannon Harris (Florida Institute of Technology), Corina Jimenez-Gomez (The Scott Center for Autism Treatment, Florida Institute of Technology), Christopher A. Podlesnik (Florida Institute of Technology)

Renewal is a type of treatment relapse in which problem behavior reemerges after successful treatment. Renewal is characterized by the three-phase arrangement in which problem behavior is reinforced in Phase 1, extinguished in Phase 2, and extinction is continued in Phase 3. However, the contexts associated with Phases 1, 2, and 3 are manipulated to assess the extent to which stimulus condition affect responding, despite the continuation of extinction, in Phase 3. In the current study, 3 children diagnosed with Autism were exposed to ABA renewal, in which therapists exposed participants behavior to (1) reinforcement, extinction, and extinction and (2) contexts A, B, and a return to A. Results suggested that behavior reemerged in Phase 3, despite the continuation of the extinction procedure. Next, we assessed a renewal mitigation procedure to reduce the occurrence of problem behavior during reexposure to the A context.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh