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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Paper Session #134
Animal Models of Neurological Disorders
Saturday, May 26, 2018
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, San Diego Ballroom C
Area: EAB
Chair: Espen Sjoberg (Oslo and Akershus University College)

Ascending Versus Descending Delays: A Delay Discounting Experiment on an Animal Model of ADHD

Domain: Basic Research
ESPEN SJOBERG (Oslo Metropolitan University), Per Holth (Oslo Metropolitan University), Hans Martin Ottåsen (Oslo Metropolitan University), Raquel Wilner (Courtauld Institute of Art), Espen Borgå Johansen (Oslo Metropolitan University)

In delay discounting experiments on rats, the animals are exposed to a choice between a small, immediate reinforcer and a larger, delayed reinforcer. A preference for the larger reinforcer tends to negatively correlate with response-reinforcer delay. While we do not dispute the effect of the delay function, we argue that recent learning history, i.e. order of exposure, also influences choice. We conducted delay discounting experiments using an animal model of ADHD, the Spontaneously Hypertensive Rat (SHR). One group of rats experienced systematic, ascending delays from zero to 24 seconds for the large reinforcer, while another group experienced this order in reverse. Results showed that the rats in the descending delay condition were profoundly more impulsive than the rats in the standard, ascending delay condition. The descending rats almost exclusively preferred the smaller reinforcer, regardless of the response-reinforcer delay in the second experiment. These results suggests that the rats' previous experience influences their choice in subsequent trials: previous exposure to long delays increases the chance that the next choice will be the small reinforcer, even if the response-reinforcer delay decreases in the next trial. The results are discussed in the context of the dual-component model of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).


Translational Studies of Epilepsy, Behavior, and Environment: A 35 Year Progress Report

Domain: Applied Research
JOHN C. NEILL (Long Island University, Post)

Up to 50% of individuals with severe developmental disabilities have epilepsy. Behavior analysts are often unaware how epilepsy impairs their client's ability to learn about contingencies of reinforcement. Individuals with epilepsy often have behavior disorders which can be exacerbated by seizures, acutely and chronically. These seizures could be managed better, and important new life skills could be acquired, if the client's behavior analyst knew more about epilepsy. A basic review of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and molecular events responsible for seizures and seizure-induced impairments in learning and behavior will be provided. Behavioral research on several animal models of seizures will be presented. A frequent problem for developmentally disabled clients is that they are improperly medicated for seizures. This could be avoided with EEG (electroencephalography), which is a crucial test for an accurate diagnosis of epilepsy. Effective behavioral techniques from our lab will be described for teaching a client to cooperate with an EEG, without sedation or anesthesia. While epileptic seizures change an individual's ability to interact with their environment, conversely, the environment often modulates seizure intensity, frequency, duration and magnitude. Behavior analysts can greatly benefit their clients who have epilepsy by learning about how to describe, measure and control these relationships.




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