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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #143
CE Offered: BACB
Basic, Translational, and Reverse-Translational Research on Resurgence and Reinstatement
Saturday, May 23, 2020
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Level M2, Marquis Ballroom 3/4
Area: EAB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Carolyn Ritchey (Auburn University)
Discussant: Andrew R. Craig (SUNY Upstate Medical University)
CE Instructor: Carolyn Ritchey, M.S.

Effective interventions for socially significant problem behavior (e.g., aggression, self-injury) may be susceptible to treatment relapse. Resurgence and reinstatement are laboratory models of relapse which may occur following treatments for problem behavior arranging alternative sources of reinforcement. Resurgence occurs when reducing or eliminating reinforcement for an alternative response increases a previously reinforced and then extinguished response. Reinstatement refers to the reoccurrence of a target response following the presentation of stimuli that previously maintained that response. Both forms of relapse can threaten the long-term success of clinical interventions. Research on resurgence and reinstatement may facilitate the development of methods to better understand and mitigate these types of treatment relapse. This symposium comprises four presentations on resurgence and reinstatement. Kaitlyn Browning will present a reverse-translational study examining the effects of alternative-response discrimination training on resurgence in rats. Amanda Miles will discuss the effects of presenting conditioned reinforcers while extinguishing an alternative response on resurgence in pigeons. Carolyn Ritchey will present a human operant study evaluating the effects of training history on resurgence and variability. Finally, Ashley Bagwell will present the results of a series of translational studies examining reinstatement of responding in non-clinical populations and individuals with developmental disabilities.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): reinstatement, resurgence, translational research, treatment relapse

Repeated Resurgence With Conditioned Reinforcement

(Basic Research)
AMANDA MILES (West Virginia University), Brian R. Katz (West Virginia University), Anthony Oliver (University of Vermont; West Virginia University), Karen G. Anderson (West Virginia University), Kennon Andy Lattal (West Virginia University)

Resurgence, transient increase in previously reinforced responses after eliminating alternative reinforcement, is an indication of behavioral flexibility under changing conditions. Prior experiments showed delivery of either reinforcers or their associated stimuli (conditioned reinforcers) while extinguishing alternative responses decreases resurgence magnitude. However, these associated stimuli were not shown to function as conditioned reinforcers. Thus, the present experiment aimed to identify stimuli that functioned as conditioned reinforcers and then determine if their presentation mitigated resurgence. Four experimentally naïve male White Carneau pigeons were exposed to a repeated within-session resurgence procedure (Cook & Lattal, 2019). In each session responses in the Alternative Reinforcement phase were reinforced under a variable-ratio (VR) 40 schedule with presentation of food and a blue light. In Resurgence Test phases food delivery was omitted, but a light still was presented on the same VR-40 schedule. On even-numbered sessions the blue light was used, whereas on odd-numbered sessions a novel orange light was used. For all pigeons a greater magnitude of resurgence was observed during odd-numbered sessions. Further, higher rates of alternative responding during even-numbered sessions indicated that the blue light did function as a conditioned reinforcer. Therefore, presentation of conditioned reinforcers while extinguishing an alternative response does mitigate resurgence.

Examination of Alternative-Response Discrimination Training on Resurgence in Rats
(Basic Research)
KAITLYN BROWNING (Utah State University), Timothy A. Shahan (Utah State University)
Abstract: Resurgence is an increase in a previously suppressed behavior following a worsening of conditions for a more recently reinforced alternative behavior. Given the clinical relevance of resurgence, many have assessed procedures that may be used to mitigate resurgence. For example, Fuhrman, Fisher, and Greer (2016) showed that, following alternative-response discrimination training, presentation of a stimulus that signaled the unavailability of alternative reinforcement (S-) eliminated resurgence. In a reverse-translational experiment, we aimed to replicate and extend these findings in rats. Following baseline in which the target response was reinforced, rats received discrimination training in which the alternative response produced food in one component of a multiple schedule (S+) and was on extinction in the second (S-), while target responding was placed on extinction in both. In the final phase, resurgence of target responding was assessed in both components by removing alternative reinforcement in the S+ component. Resurgence occurred at comparable rates in both components. One potentially important difference between the current study and Fuhrman et al. is that they tested only in the presence of the S- whereas we tested for resurgence in both S+ and S-. Additional experiments designed to examine this difference will be discussed.
Examining Effects of Training History on Humans’ Resurgence and Variability Using a Novel Touchscreen Procedure
(Basic Research)
CAROLYN RITCHEY (Auburn University), Yuto Mizutani (Aichi Gakuin University), Toshikazu Kuroda (Aichi Bunkyo University), Shawn Patrick Gilroy (Louisiana State University), Christopher A. Podlesnik (Auburn University)
Abstract: Using a novel touchscreen interface, this study assessed the degree to which the duration of training a target response influenced resurgence of target responding versus inducing general variability. University students were randomly assigned to one of three groups in which they could swipe an animated 3D soccer ball to spin any angle. Phase 1 began with a 3-min (Group Long) or 1-min (Group Short) period during which stars equaling 5 cents were presented contingent upon every target response falling within ±22.5 degrees of the first swipe. Group None completed Phase 1 after a single unreinforced swipe, comprising no training history. Phase 2 followed for all groups with a 3-min period during which every alternative swipe, 180-degrees from the target-swipe direction (±22.5 degrees), produced reinforcers. During testing in Phase 3, all reinforcer deliveries ceased during the last 2-min period. For all groups in Phase 3, target and non-target responding increased from the end of Phase 2. Several findings were consistent with previous research: (1) Longer training history produced higher levels of target responding during testing; (2) Phase-3 target responding was positively correlated with training response rates; and (3) increases in target responding did not exceed increases on controls, indicating extinction-induced variability.
Translational Evaluations of Reinstatement of Responding: Reinstating Effects of Previously Neutral Stimuli
(Applied Research)
ASHLEY BAGWELL (University of Texas at Austin), Terry S. Falcomata (The University of Texas at Austin), Andrea Ramirez-Cristoforo (The University of Texas at Austin ), Fabiola Vargas Londono (The University of Texas at Austin)
Abstract: Reinstatement is a type of relapse that involves the recurrence of responding during response-independent delivery of reinforcing stimuli following extinction. It has been suggested that the mechanism responsible for reinstatement involves the taking on of discriminative stimulus properties by reinforcing stimuli. We will present data from a series of studies that focus on relapse in the form of reinstatement across several translational experimental preparations including arrangements with (a) non-clinical responses with non-clinical populations that served as analogues to clinical situations in which there may be a risk of reinstatement of problem behavior and (b) reinstatement of problem behavior exhibited by individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. Specifically, we evaluated the effects of response independent provision of previously neutral stimuli following extinction in which reinforcing stimuli were withheld. Our results showed (a) reinstatement is an effect that may represent a challenge to treatment with regard to clinical relapse in the form of recurrence of problem behavior and (b) factors other than the discriminative properties of reinforcing stimuli may contribute to reinstatement of responding. Results will be discussed both in terms of potential clinical implications as well as possible future directions in translational and applied research contexts.



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