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.

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45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

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Symposium #24
CE Offered: BACB
Advances in Preference and Reinforcer Assessment Research
Saturday, May 25, 2019
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Hyatt Regency West, Lobby Level, Crystal Ballroom B
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Richard B. Graff (May Institute; Western New England University)
CE Instructor: Richard B. Graff, Ph.D.
Abstract: Behavior analysts have developed a rich technology of reinforcer identification; the studies in this symposium seek to add to this knowledge base. In Study 1, preference assessments were conducted with edibles, leisure activities, and social consequences with five individuals with developmental disabilities. Then, high-preference items from each category were combined and evaluated in additional assessments, and significant displacement effects were seen (edibles displaced leisure items, and both edibles and leisure items displaced social stimuli). In Study 2, the efficacy and efficiency of pictorial and video preference assessments were compared with four individuals with developmental disabilities. For three participants, both assessments identified the same highest-preference item, but pictorial assessments were faster to conduct for all participants, making the pictorial assessments more efficient. In Study 3, the interaction and effects of reinforcer arrangements (distributed and accumulated reinforcement) and technology level (high-tech and low-tech) on preference and reinforcer efficacy was evaluated with three children with autism. The results indicated that participants responded at higher rates when reinforcers were provided in an accumulated arrangement regardless of technology level. Participants also preferred to work for reinforcers provided in accumulated arrangements. Taken together, these studies move behavior analysts towards a more complete technology of reinforcer identification.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Displacement, Preference Assessment, Reinforcer Arrangements
Target Audience: Behavior analyst practitioners who work with individuals with autism and developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Learning Objectives: Participants will be able to describe how displacement affects preference hierarchies. Participants will be able to describe the benefits and limitations of using pictorial and video preference assessments. Participants will be able to describe how reinforcer arrangements and the technology level of stimuli affect reinforcer efficacy.
 
The Effects of Category and Choice on Preference
JESSICA GUTFLEISH (New England Center for Children; Western New England University), Allen J. Karsina (New England Center for Children; Western New England University), Diannelys Rojas (New England Center for Children; Western new England University), Hallie Glassman (New England Center for Children; Simmons College), Meaghan Griffin (New England Center for Children; Simmons College), Emily McGrail (New England Center for Children; Simmons College)
Abstract: Behavior analysts must exercise caution when including stimuli from different categories on preference assessments, since some categories of stimuli displace others in a preference hierarchy. In Study 1, paired-stimulus (PS) preference assessments were conducted with five individuals with developmental disabilities to identify high-preference edibles, leisure items, and social stimuli. The two highest-preference items from each category were then assessed in a series of “combined-category” assessments. The results indicated that, when combined on the same assessment, edibles displaced leisure items, and both edibles and leisure items displaced social stimuli. In Study 2, 8-item PS assessments were conducted with pictures that depicted the following options: choice of three high-preference edibles, choice of three high-preference leisure items, choice of three high-preference social consequences, choice of the top-ranked item from each category, three no-choice options (the most preferred edible, leisure item, or social consequence), and a control (no consequence). For all participants, access to an item from the highest-preference category was a more reliable predictor of preference than access to choice. Subsequent progressive ratio reinforcer assessments demonstrated that the most-preferred option on the choice assessment was associated with the highest response rates on reinforcer assessments. Interobserver agreement was above 98% on all dependent measures.
 
Comparing the Use of Video and Pictorial Stimuli in Paired Stimulus Preference Assessments
ELIZABETH HARLAN (New England Center for Children; Western New England University), Richard B. Graff (May Institute; Western New England University)
Abstract: Some researchers have speculated that video-based assessments may be more effective than pictorial assessments for identifying preferences for activities. Since previous studies have not directly compared the results of video and pictorial assessments, there is no data to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of video versus pictorial assessments. In this study, four individuals with developmental disabilities participated in 8-item tangible, pictorial, and video paired-stimulus preference assessments, using toys as stimuli. The duration to complete each modality of preference assessment was measured, and Spearman rank-order correlation coefficients were calculated to determine the degree of correspondence between assessment modalities. Reinforcer assessments were conducted to verify if high-preference stimuli functioned as reinforcers. For three participants, pictorial and video assessments identified the same top-ranked item and reinforcer assessments indicated that those items functioned as reinforcers. For the 4th participant, there was little correspondence across modalities. Pictorial assessments were faster to conduct for all participants. These results do not support previous speculations that video-based assessments may be more advantageous than pictorial assessments, since for three of four participants, pictorial and video assessments were equally effective, but pictorial assessments were more efficient. Mean interobserver agreement was above 97% for preference and reinforcer assessments.
 
Examining Effects of Technology Level and Reinforcer Arrangements on Preference and Efficacy
AUDREY N. HOFFMANN (Utah State University; Northern Vermont University-Johnson), Anna Brady (Utah State University; Erskine College), Tyra Paige Sellers (Utah State University; Behavior Analyst Certification Board)
Abstract: Identifying the ways in which reinforcers function optimally is an important consideration for behavioral research. Preference for reinforcers, and how effective reinforcers are, may change depending upon several factors. Two important factors to consider are how reinforcers are arranged and the technology level of the reinforcers used. Reinforcers can be delivered following every response in a distributed manner or they can be delivered following several responses in an accumulated manner. Additionally, leisure items used as reinforcers can be classified according to technology level, for example high- and low-tech items. The purpose of this study was to examine the interaction and effects of reinforcer arrangements (i.e., distributed reinforcement and accumulated reinforcement) and technology level of items (i.e., high-tech and low-tech) on preference and reinforcer efficacy with three children with autism. Participants selected a preferred high- and low-tech item and engaged in academic tasks to earn the items in either accumulated or distributed arrangements. Overall participants responded at higher rates when reinforcers were provided in an accumulated arrangement regardless of whether a high-tech or low-tech item was provided. Participants also preferred to work for reinforcers provided in accumulated arrangements. Interobserver agreement was above 90% on all dependent variables.
 

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