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 #440
Choice, Healthy Eating, and Functional Analysis Training
Monday, May 29, 2017
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Hyatt Regency, Capitol Ballroom 4
Area: CBM/CSS; Domain: Translational
Chair: Ellie Kazemi (California State University, Northridge)

In this symposium, we will provide results from an experimental analysis of reinforcer choice, ratio requirements, and task difficulty on response rate, an experimental analysis of antecedent-based interventions on college students' snack selections, and an empirical evaluation of a robot-simulation and eLearning FA training.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
The Effects of Reinforcer Choice on Responding as a Function of Ratio Requirements and Task Difficulty
(Applied Research)
Abstract: The effect of choice of reinforcers has been examined using both concurrent analyses and single-operant analyses. However, the results have differed with regards to the extent of added benefit from choice of reinforcer. The current study uses a single-operant design to look at choice versus no-choice of reinforcers in three children with intellectual disabilities. For all three participants, no significant differences occurred between the conditions (choice versus no choice) at a fixed-ratio 1 (FR1) schedule. For one participant, even when the schedule of reinforcement was thinned to FR20, no significant differences emerged. For another participant, when the task difficulty was increased no differences between choice and no-choice sessions occurred in terms of responding. However, differences did emerge when evaluating the effect of choice via a progressive ratio schedule with a difficult task. Further research should determine if the use of a progressive ratio schedule in treatment assessment leads to more sensitive results and robust effects in treatment.
Obesity and Healthy Living: Can Antecedent Interventions Alter College Students’ Snack Selections?
(Applied Research)
SHIR ZION (California State University, Northridge), Ellie Kazemi (California State University, Northridge)
Abstract: During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity prevalence in the United States (Centers for Disease Control, 2010). One factor that may contribute to obesity is consumption of unhealthy (e.g., higher calorie and fat) foods. Currently, there is a lack of behavioral research addressing obesity and the antecedent variables that affect food choice. The purpose of this study was to conduct an experimental analysis of the effects of various antecedent interventions on individuals’ snack selection. We used a multi-element design with 31 graduate students in their classroom setting. Compared to baseline, intervention 1 (a snack rack with a higher proportion of the same healthier snacks as shown in baseline) did not result in higher selection of healthier snacks by participants (p = .387). However, when we introduced intervention 2 (the same manipulation as in intervention 1 plus novelty, variety, and advertisement) we found that a higher percentage of healthier snacks were selected by participants compared to baseline (p = .001). We will discuss the implications of these findings and the necessity for additional behavioral studies evaluating food choice.

Using Simulation-Based Training and e-Learning to Teach Students How to Conduct Functional Analyses

(Service Delivery)
MICHAEL ARAGON (California State University, Northridge), Ellie Kazemi (California State University, Northridge), Victor Ramirez (California State University, Northridge), Vahe Esmaeili (California State University, Northridge)

Previously published functional analyses (FAs) trainings have focused primarily on teaching implementation of the conditions. Additionally, the few researchers that have focused on teaching other component skills necessary for conducting FAs have reported long training times and small trainer/trainee ratios. Therefore, in the current study we examined the effectiveness of a simulation-based FA training using a humanoid robot and instructional e-Learning modules. A total of 8 graduate students enrolled in an Applied Behavior Analysis program were trained on implementation, data collection, graphing, interpretation of results, and problem solving skills. We used a multiple baseline design across participants to evaluate the effects of the simulation-based training on implementation of FA conditions. We conducted a pre-posttest design to assess the effects of instructional e-Learning modules on data collection, graphing, graph interpretation and problem solving skills. Overall, we found that the simulation-based training and the eLearning modules were effective in increasing all participants skills. We will discuss the results in terms of individual differences between participants and the overall cost-effectiveness of the training.




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