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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Poster Session #454
Monday, May 29, 2017
12:00 PM–3:00 PM
Convention Center, Exhibit Hall D
Chair: Brian D. Kangas (Harvard Medical School)
1. Examination of Consumption in the Long-term Effects of Early-Life Diet
Area: BPN; Domain: Applied Research
DANTON SHOEMAKER (Texas Tech University), Paul L. Soto (Texas Tech University)
Discussant: Meredith Steele Berry (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract: Early-life exposure to sweet solutions (sucrose or saccharin) has been shown to reduce, in adulthood, response rates reinforced by sweet solutions. The purpose of the present study was to assess the long-term effects of early-life exposure to a high-fat, high-sugar (HF-HS) diet on the reinforcing effectiveness of food, as assessed by a demand curve assessment. Mice were divided into two groups (HF-HS diet vs. standard chow) with two males and two females in each group (n=4). From postnatal day (PND) 21 to 49, mice in the HF-HS group were fed a high-fat, high-sugar diet; otherwise, mice were fed standard chow. On PND 115, a demand assessment was conducted where the number of lever presses required to produce food delivery (fixed ratio; FR) increased, across sessions, from 1 to 720. The number of pellets obtained decreased as FR value increased from 1 to 720. At lower FR values, leftover pellets were found after sessions. There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups for total lever presses, leftover pellets; estimated pellets consumed per FR value. Finally, early-life exposure to a HF-HS diet, compared to life-long exposure to standard chow, did not appear to alter the reinforcing effectiveness of food.
2. Drug Use and Performance in a Therapeutic Workplace Program for Unemployed Adults With Histories of Injection Drug Use
Area: BPN; Domain: Applied Research
SHRINIDHI SUBRAMANIAM (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), August F. Holtyn (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Brantley Jarvis (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Mikhail Koffarnus (Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Kenneth Silverman (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Discussant: Meredith Steele Berry (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract: This study was a secondary analysis of data from a clinical trial evaluating employment-based reinforcement to promote treatment engagement and abstinence in out-of-treatment injection drug users. Participants (N = 42) earned up to $10 per hour for attending the Therapeutic Workplace for 4 hours every weekday for 26 weeks. All participants were asked to provide urine samples 3 times a week which were tested for opiates and cocaine. While at the workplace, participants could complete 2 typing programs on a computer. Payment was manipulated in a multielement design; one program resulted in a flat hourly wage (i.e., base pay) and the other program could earn base pay plus approximately $2 an hour in productivity pay. Base pay rates were adjusted across the study such that overall payment was equal for both programs. Analysis of timings per hour, typing accuracy, and typing speed revealed no systematic performance impairment based on urinalysis results. As reported previously, there were consistent effects of payment type; participants did more timings and were more accurate when they received productivity pay than when they earned a flat hourly wage. Contrary to common expectations, this study failed to show that use of opiates or cocaine affected work performance.
3. Temporal Bisection and Effects of d-Amphetamine in Lewis and Fischer 344 Rats
Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
MARISSA TURTURICI (West Virginia University), Karen G. Anderson (West Virginia University)
Discussant: Meredith Steele Berry (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract: Lewis (LEW) and Fischer 344 (F344) rats are ideal for studying impulsive choice because LEW rats tend make more impulsive choices than F344 rats in delay-discounting procedures. Poor temporal discrimination may predict impulsive choice, but it is unclear whether LEW and F344 rats show reliable differences in temporal discrimination. d-Amphetamine is a stimulant which alters temporal discrimination and has shown differential effects on behavior of LEW and F344 rats in delay-discounting procedures. The present study examined temporal discrimination in LEW and F344 rats in the temporal-bisection procedure. No differences between strains were found along acquisition of the temporal discrimination for the 2-vs.-8, or 4-vs.-16 s duration pair. Analyses of bisection points revealed no significant differences between strains for either of these duration pairs. Assessment of temporal discrimination of longer durations (10 vs. 40 s and 15 vs. 60 s), as well as effects of d-amphetamine will also be discussed. Results will shed light on the relation between impulsive choice and temporal discrimination.
4. Musical Training Through Operant Selection - A Neurobehavioral Study
Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
KIMBERLY G. VAIL (University of North Texas), Daniele Ortu (University of North Texas)
Discussant: Meredith Steele Berry (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract: Language is a cultural construct, and the relationship between words is taught. Priming research has long investigated the relationship between related and unrelated words. Similar research has been seen in music relationships, but most of these investigate harmonic relations despite the melodic relationship being the one listeners are mostly likely to describe. Further, these studies typically measure existing relationships and do not attempt to teach a new relationship, noting that most adults are experienced musical listeners. This study seeks to establish new melodic relationship (the Enigmatic Scale) in addition to a familiar one (Major Scale) while measuring both response time to the musical sequences as well as assessing changes at the brain level due to musical training. A baseline was conducted in which participants listened to a musical sequence and selected via response box if the final note is consonant (Major Scale) or dissonant (Enigmatic Scale). Following baseline a training section occurred in which participants heard sequences ranging from 2-7 notes and we’re provided feedback for correct and incorrect responses. Following completion of the training a post-test participants completed a post-test identical to baseline. Both behavioral and brain results are discussed in relation to Palmer's (2009) concept of the repertoire.
5. Nicotinic and Muscarinic Antagonism Affects Delay Discounting in Lewis and Fischer 344 Rats
Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
JENNY OZGA (West Virginia University), Karen G. Anderson (West Virginia University)
Discussant: Meredith Steele Berry (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract: Biological differences may underscore variations in delay discounting, where choice is between a smaller, more immediate reinforcer and a larger, delayed reinforcer. For example, Lewis and Fischer 344 rats differ in dopaminergic and serotonergic concentrations in several brain regions and, when housed individually, delay discounting is greater for Lewis rats compared to Fischer 344 rats. During the current evaluation, Lewis and Fischer 344 rats were housed in littermate pairs, which resulted in diminished strain differences in baseline delay discounting. Following this baseline comparison, the cholinergic agonist nicotine, and cholinergic antagonists mecamylamine and scopolamine were administered acutely. Acute nicotine dose-dependently reduced delay discounting whereas mecamylamine and scopolamine had no effect on delay discounting. To evaluate whether pre-treating with a cholinergic antagonist would alter nicotines effects on delay discounting, mecamylamine or scopolamine was administered prior to nicotine administration during subsequent testing sessions. Mecamylamine reduced effects of nicotine on delay discounting. Alternatively, scopolamine reduced nicotines effects on delay discounting for Fischer 344, but not Lewis rats. Together, these results suggest that acetylcholine receptor activation may play an important role in decision-making during delay-discounting procedures.
6. In Vitro Analogues of Operant Conditioning in Aplysia: Neural Mechanisms of Learning
Area: BPN; Domain: Theory
RENAN COSTA (The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston)
Discussant: Meredith Steele Berry (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract: Throughout his career, Skinner emphasized the potential value of neuroscience in bridging temporal gaps in the account of behavior (e.g., 1938, 1953, 1974). Advances in the last several decades have put neuroscience in a position to engage in such a task. A series of investigations were carried out in the last twenty years by constructing in vitro analogues of Operant Conditioning (OC) using the feeding behavior of the invertebrate model system Aplysia californica. Contingent stimulation of the Esophageal nerve (En) was shown to produce OC in the freely behaving animal (Brembs et al., 2002) and in the isolated buccal ganglia (Nargeot et al., 1997). Contingent dopamine administration produced OC in a single isolated identified neuron (Brembs et al., 2002). These preparations allowed the investigation of sites of plasticity and cellular mechanisms of OC (Nargeot et al., 1999a, 1999b, 2009), as well as subcellular molecular mechanisms (Lorenzetti et al., 2008). Future experiments will use voltage-sensitive dyes to monitor the activity of many neurons simultaneously in order to identify additional sites of plasticity and circuit-wide OC-induced changes. Knowledge of the biological bases of OC resulting from such studies is necessary to build a unified, complete account of behavior and learning.
7. Self-Administration of Benzodiazepine and Cocaine Combinations by Monkeys in a Choice Procedure: Role of GABA-A Receptor Subtypes
Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
SALLY L. HUSKINSON (University of Mississippi Medical Center), Kevin B. Freeman (University of Mississippi Medical Center), James K. Rowlett (University of Mississippi Medical Center; Tulane National Primate Research Center)
Discussant: Meredith Steele Berry (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract: Benzodiazepine-type compounds lacking efficacy at the alpha-1 subunit-containing GABA-A receptor (a1GABA-A receptor) have less abuse potential than those with efficacy at the a1GABA-A receptor. Based on previous self-administration results with monkeys and the neural circuitry hypothesis proposed by Tan and colleagues (2011) for the reinforcing effects of benzodiazepines, we hypothesized that compounds lacking efficacy at the a1GABA-A receptor would punish cocaine choice, and those with efficacy at the a1GABA-A receptor would function as reinforcers of cocaine choice. One female and two male rhesus monkeys chose between cocaine alone (0.1 mg/kg/injection) vs. mixtures of cocaine (0.1 mg/kg/injection) and midazolam (nonselective benzodiazepine; 0.01-0.1 mg/kg/injection), cocaine and zolpidem (selective affinity at a1GABA-A receptors; 0.01-0.1 mg/kg/injection), or cocaine and L-838,417 (no efficacy at a1GABA-A receptors, selective efficacy for a2,3,5GABA-A receptors; 0.01-0.1 mg/kg/injection). Consistent with our hypothesis, midazolam and zolpidem functioned as reinforcers of cocaine choice (i.e., subjects chose the mixture over the cocaine-alone option with at least one dose). However, L-838,417 did not function as a punisher of cocaine choice, instead having no effect or acting as a reinforcer. Benzodiazepine-type compounds that lack efficacy at the a1GABA-A subunit containing-receptor may have low abuse potential but do not appear to have punishing properties in cocaine-experienced monkeys. These findings raise the possibility that a1-sparing compounds might be developed as effective anxiolytics with relatively lower abuse potential than classical benzodiazepines.
8. Behavioral Variability and Self-Reported Stimulant Use
Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
TED ALLAIRE (Eastern Michigan University), Claudia Drossel (Eastern Michigan University)
Discussant: Meredith Steele Berry (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract: Extending Hopkinson and Neuringer (2003), the present study used a computerized task to examine behavioral variability in a reversal (A-B-A) design. Ten undergraduate students completed a five-response sequence using only two keys of a keyboard. The completion of each sequence was reinforced on an RR2 in the baseline (A) conditions. In the experimental (B) condition, sequence variability was reinforced using a percentile schedule. Neuropsychological assessments and self-report measures were also administered. Individual and aggregate data will be presented. Preliminary analyses suggest that sequence variability, as measured by the U statistic, did not increase for participants with self-reported stimulant use in the experimental condition. This finding differs from Saldana and Neuringer (1998), who found that the performance of children with diagnoses of ADHD did not differ from that of age-matched controls. As data collection is ongoing, current limitations include insufficient data regarding participants’ stimulant use such as time of administration, dose, or duration. The design of the study also did not employ age-matched controls. Generally, these results highlight a great need for behavioral research in the area of adult stimulant use.
9. Oral Midazolam Consumption Using a Two-Bottle Choice Procedure in C57BL/6 Mice
Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
MEAGAN ELIZABETH FOLLETT (University Of Mississippi Medical Center), James K. Rowlett (University of Mississippi Medical Center ; Tulane National Primate Research Center)
Discussant: Meredith Steele Berry (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract: Although there is concern regarding the abuse liability of benzodiazepines (BZs), the mechanisms underlying their abuse potential are not yet well understood. In recent years, both pharmacological and genetic approaches have shed considerable light on understanding the role of GABA-A receptors in the abuse-related effects of BZs. In order to use both approaches, we have initiated studies on midazolam (MZ) consumption with a “standard” two-bottle choice procedure with C57BL/6 mice. Forty-three individually-housed mice were given 24-hour access to two bottles containing 4% sucrose solution, one bottle containing MZ (0.004-0.128 mg/mL, each concentration for 14 days). The MZ bottle side was switched daily (n=13) or weekly (n=30). In the present study, oral MZ intake (mg/kg) was robustly dose-dependent, with choice for MZ + sucrose vs. sucrose alone being approximately 50%. However, the distribution of choice across subjects was bimodal, and splitting subjects into high and low MZ drinkers revealed that some subjects drank a high percentage of MZ solution relative to sucrose-only solution (approximately 70%) and others drank a relatively small percentage of the MZ solution (approximately 40%). These findings demonstrate the feasibility of maintaining oral MZ consumption in individually-housed C57BL/6 mice, and revealed surprising individual differences in these genetically-identical animals.
10. Leave the Knife on the Table
Area: BPN; Domain: Applied Research
SHEILA M. CORNELIUS (Washington Association of Behavior Analysis )
Discussant: Meredith Steele Berry (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract: At times, the medical world can be quick to intervene with intrusive methods. And patients can easily follow their doctor’s advice, unaware of less intrusive methods that might be available. This poster examines one patient’s history with epilepsy and the decisions that the medical team made to intervene along the way. Even though a decrease in the seizures was observed with a large amount of daily medication, the activity was still present. After seven years of medication, the specialist proposed surgery as the best alternative. The patient researched the ketogenic diet as an alternative to surgery. When the patient decided to change her behavior (i.e. her diet) to hopefully impact the seizure activity her doctors laughed. The patient still moved forward with the diet. This poster reviews the patient’s annual seizure activity over an 18-year period, closely examines the impact of her seizure activity on a monthly basis during the past 10 years, and on a daily basis over the past year when she started the diet. The charts will show the impact the diet had on the patient’s seizure activity. The data will inform us if the surgeons should pick up the knives or leave them on the table.
11. List learning in rats: Effects of MK-801
Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
JALEEL MCNEIL (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Michael Mathews (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Madeleine Mason (University of North Carolina - Wilmington ), Mark Galizio (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Discussant: Meredith Steele Berry (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract: List learning with odor stimuli is a procedure that can be used to study remembering in rodents. The procedure involves placing the rat in an arena in which odor stimuli can be presented using cups filled with scented materials or covered by a scented lid. A non-match to sample procedure is first trained, such that selection of each odor produces food reward when first presented, but not on any subsequent presentations. Thus, correct selections depend on the subject remembering which stimuli have already been presented. In the present study, rats were first presented a “list” of 12 odorants, and after a delay of 1, 10 or 20 min, were given a 12-trial test on which each trial included a novel odor (reinforced) and one of the list odors (not reinforced). Preliminary data show decreases in accuracy as a function of delay for one rat, but not the other (see figure). There were no apparent effects of MK-801 across the dose range tested for any delay.



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