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 #409
Analyzing MOs and Reinforcers in Mand Training
Monday, May 29, 2017
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 3A
Area: VRB
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Genae Annette Hall (Behavior Analysis and Intervention Services)
Using Interrupted Behavior Chains to Assess and Teach Mands: Details of How to Effectively Manipulate Blocked Response Conditioned Establishing Operations
Domain: Service Delivery
GENAE ANNETTE HALL (Behavior Analysis and Intervention Services)
Abstract: Several studies on teaching mands or "requests" to learners with language delays successfully used what Hunt & Goetz (1988) called the “interrupted behavior chain strategy." A study conducted in 1979 and published in 1987 by Hall & Sundberg used this strategy, along with 10 studies conducted from 1985 through June 2000 (Carter & Grunsell, 2001). More recently, Petursdottir et al. (2005), Rosales & Rehfeldt (2007), Lechago et al. (2010), Finn et al. (2012), Albert et al. (2012) and Hall, Elia & Sundberg (2016) used interrupted behavior chains to establish mands and assess and/or establish transfer between tacts and mands, or vice versa. Carter & Grunsell (2001) noted that “most, if not all of the interruption strategies described in the behavior chain interruption literature “could be conceptualized as blocked response CEOs”, as described by Michael (1988). The blocked response CEO appears to include a transitive CEO (Michael, 1993) paired with an absent or blocked SD for the next chain step, and may be viewed as a "problem situation", as described by Skinner (1953) in Science and Human Behavior. As such, it may evoke precurrent problem-solving behaviors (including mands) that eventually yield an SD for the solution response. Although it may initially seem straightforward to establish simple behavior chains and interrupt them (i.e., present a blocked response CEO), the chain must be interrupted in such a way that the learner is genuinely motivated to mand in the probe interval. Otherwise, mands may falsely appear to be absent. It appears that a chain may be interrupted in at least 4 ways: First, the learner stops performing the chain independently, at the point where the missing item is usually accessed. He or she scans for the item, but does not reach for it because it is missing. Second, the learner may stop the chain independently after emitting precurrent problem-solving behaviors such as trying to complete the chain in an incorrect order without the missing item. Third, the trainer interrupts the learner’s self-stimulatory behavior that momentarily competes with motivation for chain completion. Fourth, the trainer physically blocks the learner’s attempt to access reinforcement without the missing item. For trainers to implement chain interruption effectively, they must learn to implement the procedure in slightly different ways, depending on the circumstances. This presentation will illustrate how this may be accomplished, using session videos.
Noncontingent Reinforcement and Behavioral Momentum: A Comparison of Functional and Arbitrary Reinforcers in Mand Training
Domain: Applied Research
A. DUFF LOTFIZADEH (Easterseals Southern California), Meghan Herron (Easter Seals Southern California), Henry D. Schlinger (California State University, LA)
Abstract: According to behavioral momentum theory, increasing reinforcer density in a particular context increases response persistence in that context. These effects have been obtained in clinical settings by increasing reinforcer density using noncontingent reinforcement (NCR) schedules consisting of the same reinforcer as the target operant (matched or functional NCR) and different reinforcers (unmatched NCR). However, response persistence has not been directly compared as a function of these two variations of NCR schedules in clinical settings. Two studies were conducted to evaluate the persistence of a particular mand when it was disrupted in three stimulus contexts, one correlated with a matched NCR schedule, one with an unmatched NCR schedule, and one with no NCR schedule. The results indicated that in the majority of cases responding was more persistent in contexts correlated with an NCR schedule than in the context that did not have NCR. Interestingly, responding was more persistent in the unmatched NCR context than in the matched NCR context. These findings indicate that NCR schedules may be more suitable for strengthening learned behaviors rather than reducing unwanted behaviors.



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