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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Paper Session #483
Contemporary Research in the Experimental Analysis of Human Behavior
Monday, May 29, 2017
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Hyatt Regency, Centennial Ballroom A
Area: EAB
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Eric James French (Central Michigan University)
Multiple Sources of Control in Multiple Schedules
Domain: Basic Research
ERIC JAMES FRENCH (Central Michigan University), Mark P. Reilly (Central Michigan University)
Abstract: Multiple schedules are widely used to investigate many behavioral phenomena; however, the standard measures of stimulus discrimination under such schedules, the discrimination index and overall response rates, may occlude potentially interesting sources of behavioral control. Using rats, we investigated the development and maintenance of lever pressing under four multiple schedule procedures. In the first procedure, an 8-component multiple schedule was used. In half of the components, a random interval 30 s schedule was signaled by a slow flashing light (SD). In the remaining components, one of the seven faster flashing lights (SΔ) signaled extinction. Behavior was found to be under the control of three interacting variables: the similarity of the stimuli to the SD, time in each component, and the previously experienced component. In the next two experiments, lever pressing in transition from mixed to multiple schedules was evaluated. The component durations and schedules of reinforcement were identical between the mixed and multiple schedules. Behavior in the mixed schedules was shown to be influenced by the time in each component. Despite the presence of distinct flashing lights, response rates on the multiple schedule were often similar to the mixed schedule performance. In the final procedure, a variable interval (VI) 15 s was arranged on the left lever in one component and a VI 120 s on the right lever in the alternative component. This two-lever arrangement allowed within component changes to be measured by both changes in response rate and allocation. Throughout training, behavioral allocation in the VI 120 s component shifted towards the right lever, and the effect of temporal control within the components was reduced. These four procedures demonstrate that, in addition to the programmed exteroceptive stimuli, several sources of control in multiple schedule procedures may be present, interact, and change with training.
Evaluating Resurgence Procedures in a Human Operant Laboratory
Domain: Basic Research
HYPATIA BOLIVAR (University of Florida), David J. Cox (University of Florida), Molly A Barlow (University of Florida), Jesse Dallery (University of Florida)
Abstract: Resurgence is defined as the reemergence of previously extinguished behavior when reinforcement for an alternative behavior is withheld (e.g., Epstein, 1983). Resurgence is a well-documented phenomenon in the basic literature, and these findings have important implications for clinical interventions using differential reinforcement procedures. The majority of this research has been conducted with non-human animals; however, recent research has attempted to validate brief procedures for use in human operant settings. The current study sought to extend the results of Sweeney and Shahan (2016) who tested but did not observe resurgence during a brief forced-choice procedure. We examined whether four manipulations of signaling and response availability following a history of variable interval reinforcement would produce resurgence using college student participants in a procedure that lasted no more than 1 hr total. Data for participants in one of the four manipulations demonstrated resurgence. Specifically, resurgence appeared in the manipulation that involved the re-presentation of a stimulus correlated only with target response reinforcement during the extinction phase. Methodological issues and results are discussed in terms of their implications for future translational research.

Blocking of Stimulus Control and Condtioned Reinforcers in Rats and Children

Domain: Applied Research
HEIDI SKORGE OLAFF (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences), Monica Vandbakk (Norwegian Association for Behavior Analysis/Oslo and Akershus University College), Per Holth (Oslo and Akershus University College )

Sometimes, standard training procedures fail to establish stimulus control with compound stimuli, as well to establish conditioned reinforcers. Previous experiments in our rat lab have indicated that when procedures fail, the phenomenon of blocking is often evident, such that prior establishment of a conditioned reinforcer under magazine training blocked novel stimuli from acquiring stimulus control and conditioned reinforcing properties. Hence, efforts to establish conditioned reinforcers and stimulus control with compound stimuli may sometimes be seriously hampered by earlier training. The purpose of current study was to replicate these result with children. Three preschoolers with autism participated in the present experiment. First, the children were trained to touch the screen on a net board in the presence of a visual or auditory stimulus. When stimulus control was established with two single stimuli, we reinforced touching the screen in presence of compound stimuli. Testing of stimulus control and whether the stimuli functioned as conditioned reinforcers, showed similar results as in the experiment in the rat lab. Present study indicates that blocking can be a widespread problem in teaching children with autism compound stimuli and conditioned reinforcers.


Effects of Punishment on Verbal-Nonverbal Interactions

Domain: Basic Research
CAMILO HURTADO-PARRADO (Konrad Lorenz Fundación Universitaria), Mónica Andrea Arias Higuera Higuera (Fundación Universitaria Konrad Lorenz), Alejandra Hurtado (Fundación Universitaria Konrad Lorenz), Mariana Parra (Fundación Universitaria Konrad Lorenz), Lucia Medina (Fundación Universitaria Konrad Lorenz), Julian Cifuentes (Fundación Universitaria Konrad Lorenz), Laura García (Fundación Universitaria Konrad Lorenz), Christian Sanchez (Fundación Universitaria Konrad Lorenz)

The lack of studies on the role of aversive contingencies on verbal-nonverbal interactions exemplifies the diminished interest for the basic processes of aversive control and their interaction with other behavioral phenomena (e.g., stimulus control and verbal behavior). Hurtado-Parrado et al. (2016) recently developed a computerized adaptation of the experimental task designed by Catania et al. (1982). It consists of a random-interval random-ratio multiple schedule of reinforcement (MSR) that operates on buttons appearing on the screen, which participants click to earn points exchangeable for money. Automatic shaping of verbal reports entails multiple-schedule interruptions, during which participants complete blanks with guesses regarding multiple-schedule performance and earn points depending on the quality of their guesses. Embedding a response-cost (RC) contingency for high response rates during the random-interval component of the MSR typically produced differential button-pressing rates, followed by successful shaping of corresponding guesses (e.g., I click fast for random-ratio and I click slow for random-interval). The fact that differential button-pressing ceased after removal of the RC -despite congruent guessing was previously established- indicated poor verbal control of nonverbal behavior. Observation that RC produced random-ratio button-pressing rates that matched the low rates that were characteristic of random-interval performance suggested that verbal-nonverbal interactions may have been responsible for this effect. Here we present data of 4 experiments that have extended these findings regarding the role of punishment in verbal-nonverbal interactions by replicating systematically Catania et al.s (1982) manipulations: Experiment 1 and 2 tested the effects of reversal of schedule contingencies (RSC), reversal of shaped and instructed guessing (RG and RIG), and RC; Experiment 3 explored the effects of nondifferential reinforcement for guessing (NDG), RSC, and RC; and Experiment 4 tested the effects of instructing button pressing rates, NDG, RSC, and RC.




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