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 #105
CE Offered: BACB
Variables Affecting Resurgence and Renewal Across Species
Saturday, May 27, 2017
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Hyatt Regency, Centennial Ballroom E
Area: EAB/CBM; Domain: Translational
Chair: Brooke M. Smith (Utah State University)
Discussant: Federico Sanabria (Arizona State University)
CE Instructor: Federico Sanabria, Ph.D.
Abstract: The relapse of target behavior following successful treatment poses a challenge for clinicians across treatment contexts and client population. Two types of relapse, resurgence and renewal, have been studied in both human and nonhuman animals and have proved to be robust phenomena. The studies in this symposium present current research examining some of the variables affecting resurgence and renewal in various populations. Trask and Bouton present data on the effects of a retrieval cue paired with alternative reinforcement on the attenuation of resurgence in rats. Also using rats, Hernandez, Madrigal, and Flores show that, although reinforcer quality and delay affect response rates during acquisition, they do not seem to affect magnitude of renewal. Keevy, Huyen, and Podlesnik demonstrate resurgence of target behavior in children following the introduction of a progressive ratio schedule for alternative responding. Finally, Smith, Smith, Shahan, and Twohig present data on resurgence of escape/avoidance behavior following the removal of positive reinforcement for alternative behavior in college students. Our discussant, Federico Sanabria, discusses the various implications of these studies.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Relapse, Renewal, Resurgence, Translational

Retrieval Cues Associated With Alternative Reinforcement can Attenuate Resurgence of an Extinguished Instrumental Response

(Basic Research)
SYDNEY TRASK (The University of Vermont), Mark E. Bouton (University of Vermont)

In a typical resurgence paradigm, a target behavior (R1) is acquired in an initial phase and extinguished in a second phase while an alternative behavior (R2) is reinforced. When reinforcement for the second response is removed, R1 behavior returns or resurges. Three experiments studied the effectiveness of a retrieval cue in attenuating the resurgence effect in rats. Experiment 1 established that a 2-second cue associated with alternative reinforcement in Phase 2 of a resurgence paradigm can attenuate R1 resurgence and promote R2 behavior. Experiment 2 demonstrated that this effect remains when the cue is delivered contingently or noncontingently during the test, and Experiment 3 demonstrated that for the cue to be effective in reducing resurgence, it must be paired with alternative reinforcement during Phase 2. Together, these results suggest that a neutral cue can serve as an effective retrieval cue if it is paired with alternative reinforcement. By the time of the May meeting, several experiments investigating the mechanism through which this cue attenuates resurgence will also have been conducted.

The Effect of Quality and Delay of the Reinforcer on the Renewal of an Instrumental Response
(Basic Research)
Cinthia Hernandez (Universidad de Guadalajara), KENNETH DAVID MADRIGAL-ALCARAZ (Universidad de Guadalajara), Carlos Flores (Universidad de Guadalajara)
Abstract: Given the effects of reinforcement parameters on response rate, it may be possible that the degree to which the response is renewed could be affected by how the response-reinforcer contingency was established (e.g. Berry, Sweeney & Odum, 2014; Podlesnik & Shahan, 2009). Two experiments assessed the effects of quality and delay of the reinforcer on ABA renewal using 32 Wistar rats. In both experiments, lever pressing was trained using a two-component multiple schedule in Context A; for Experiment 1, Component 1 (C1) was associated with the delivery of sucrose and Component 2 (C2) was associated with 0.45mg of food; whereas, for Experiment 2, C1 and C2 were associated with the immediate or delayed delivery of 0.45mg of food. In both experiments, during acquisition, response rates were differentiated between components. During extinction, response rates decreased across subjects in both experiments. Nevertheless, once subjects were re-exposed to Context A, renewal of the response was observed in both experiments. Although both reinforcement parameters seemed to impact response rate, they did not seem to affect the degree to which the response was renewed. These results can be considered when assessing how a certain response has been acquired in order to reduce relapse.

Resurgence When Challenging Alternative Responding With Progressive Ratios

(Basic Research)
CHRISTOPHER A. PODLESNIK (Florida Institute of Technology), Thuong Huyen (Florida Institute of Technology), Madeleine Diane Keevy (Florida Institute of Technology)

Relapse of problem behavior after treatment is a problem frequently faced by clinicians. Resurgence is one such form of treatment relapse, defined as the recurrence of a previously reinforced and then extinguished target response when extinguishing a more recently reinforced alternative response. Resurgence also occurs when alternative reinforcement rate is reduced across sessions. This translational study conducted with children sought to evaluate resurgence when challenging alternative responding with progressive-ratio schedules. To simulate problem behavior, we first reinforced an arbitrary target response, then extinguished target responding while reinforcing an arbitrary alternative response. Finally, we examined resurgence of target responding either by (1) extinguishing alternative responding or (2) introducing a progressive-ratio schedule of reinforcement for alternative responding. Resurgence was demonstrated in both conditions in all participants. For three of four, resurgence in extinction phase was greater than in progressive-ratio phase. These findings emphasize the importance of compliance to procedure fidelity in differential-reinforcement treatments and imply that frequent monitoring of treatment integrity is essential for all therapists and caregivers. Implications of using progressive-ratio schedule to predict an ultimate goal for scheduling alternative reinforcement is also discussed.

Resurgence of Negatively Reinforced Target Behavior in Humans: Effects of Differential Rates of Alternative Reinforcement
(Basic Research)
BROOKE M. SMITH (Utah State University), Gregory Scott Smith (Chrysalis, Inc.; University of Nevada School of Medicine), Timothy A. Shahan (Utah State University), Mike P. Twohig (Utah State University)
Abstract: Cognitive behavioral therapy is the gold standard in anxiety disorder treatments; however, relapse remains problematic. Resurgence is one possible model for investigating elimination and relapse of operant behavior in clinical situations. Nonhuman research has shown that a higher rate of alternative reinforcement results in more comprehensive suppression of target behavior; however, it also results in greater resurgence when removed. Few studies have investigated this effect in typically developing humans, and none have done so with respect to avoidance behavior. The current study investigated the effects of high and low rates of positive reinforcement of alternative behavior on response suppression and resurgence of negatively reinforced target behavior in college students using an analogue computer task. Results indicated that rate of alternative reinforcement did not affect degree of response suppression or magnitude of resurgence. Compared to an extinction control, target responding in both experimental groups was eliminated more completely during phase 2 and resurged during phase 3. These results extend the resurgence effect to negatively reinforced target behavior and positively reinforced alternative behavior in humans and suggest that care be taken on the part of clinicians in considering possible sources of relapse when treating anxiety disorders.



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