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; Online; 2020

Event Details

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Paper Session #141
Operant Control of the Swallowing Response
Sunday, May 24, 2020
8:00 AM–8:20 AM
Area: CBM
Chair: Alden Marie Gartrell (University of North Texas)
Operant Control of the Swallowing Response
Domain: Applied Research
ALDEN MARIE GARTRELL (University of North Texas), Manish Vaidya (University of North Texas), Brennan Patrick Armshaw (University of North Texas), Russell Silguero (University of North Texas)
Abstract: The process of swallowing can be described in four stages; the Oral-Preparatory phase, the Oral-Transit phase, the Pharyngeal phase and the Esophageal phase. Behavioral feeding procedures have been effective in aiding individuals resolve issues with the first two phases of swallowing. Medical procedures have been shown to be effective with individuals that have issues with the esophageal stage of swallowing. This presentation explores the utility of behavior analytic procedures in helping with the third or Pharyngeal stage of the swallowing response. In particular, this research explores the utility of surface electromyography (sEMG) in micro-shaping activation of the suprahyoid muscle which controls the action of the larynx in the swallowing response. Eight healthy college-aged participants were exposed to contingencies promoting a more effortful and sustained swallowing response. The data show that activity of the suprahyoid muscle can be operantly conditioned. These results suggest that sEMG technology can be used to supplement contingencies of reinforcement and provide effective behavioral treatment and rehabilitation for Dysphagia.



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