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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #522
CE Offered: BACB
Theoretical Overviews and Practical Implications of Key Concepts and Procedures Related to Problematic Behavior
Monday, May 27, 2019
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Hyatt Regency West, Lobby Level, Crystal Ballroom A
Area: DDA/EAB; Domain: Theory
Chair: Megan A. Boyle (Missouri State University)
Discussant: Joel Eric Ringdahl (University of Georgia)
CE Instructor: Megan A. Boyle, Ph.D.
Abstract: One of the strengths of applied behavior analysis is that it is “conceptually systematic” (Baer, Wolf, & Risley, 1968), meaning that its procedures are analyzed and results of procedures interpreted using behavioral principles. Some principles are better understood by applied behavior analysts (and by behavior analysts in general) than others. For example, the processes of reinforcement and extinction are ubiquitous among applied behavior analysts when discussing procedures and results, but others, such as behavioral contrast, momentum, relapse, and the mechanisms responsible for lesser utilized reinforcement-based procedures, such as differential reinforcement of other behavior are less well-known, or at least are less often discussed. This symposium is designed to expose audience members to the theoretical underpinnings of these lesser known concepts and mechanisms, specifically in the context of interventions for problematic behavior. This symposium will be appropriate for behavior analysts at any level and will cover basic theoretical concepts as well as applied implications. Presenters will review basic definitions and key research findings from basic and applied investigations and will explain how to interpret results of relevant research.
Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): behavioral contrast, behavioral momentum, Behavioral relapse, DRO
Target Audience: The target audience will be behavior-analytic researchers and practitioners. We hope the symposium will be relevant to researchers and practitioners at all levels (basic-advanced).
Learning Objectives: 1. Audience members will be able to interpret data displays of advanced behavioral concepts (behavioral contrast, momentum, and behavioral relapse). 2. Audience members will be able to describe discrepancies in research findings regarding advanced behavioral concepts. 3. Audience members will be able to state some of the key variables that research has identified that may influence advanced behavioral concepts. 4. Audience members will be able to describe some of the gaps in knowledge that make it challenging to extend basic research on advanced behavioral concepts to practice or applied research

What Do We Really Know About Behavioral Contrast?

MEGAN A. BOYLE (Missouri State University)

Behavioral contrast is a term that is at least familiar to both clinicians and researchers, and to both basic and applied scientists. The definition of “behavioral contrast” is fairly straightforward: a change in behavior in one context in the opposite direction of a change in reinforcement rate in another context. However, a variety of variables have been shown to influence behavioral contrast (e.g., component duration, reinforcement rate, availability of alternative reinforcers, response topography, etc.), and some variables appear to exert an interactive effect (e.g., component duration and reinforcement rate). The vast majority of research on behavioral contrast has been conducted with non-humans in basic-research arrangements, and yet side effects of interventions in applied settings are often attributed to contrast-like phenomena. This tutorial will expose audience members to basic definitions and experimental arrangements, seminal research, and key variables and displays of data that are critical to interpreting research on behavioral contrast.

Pavlov, Persistence, and Proportions of Baseline: Making Applied Sense of Behavioral Momentum Theory
JOSEPH MICHAEL LAMBERT (Vanderbilt University)
Abstract: Decades of research have uncovered two related but distinct effects of reinforcement on responding. The first effect is on response rate and is a product of contingencies of reinforcement arranged in an operant paradigm. The second effect is on contextually controlled response persistence and is a product of Pavlovian conditioning. Although examples of the first effect are ubiquitous in intervention research, less has been done to highlight for practitioners the potential applied significance of the second effect. This is unfortunate because the implications of behavioral momentum theory are, at times, counterintuitive and treatment decisions made without consideration for the phenomena highlighted by the theory could lead to suboptimal treatment outcomes. The purpose of this tutorial is to provide audience members with a brief overview of behavioral momentum theory and to highlight a number of ways for practitioners to design interventions which, theoretically, capitalize on every effect offered by the reinforcement process.
Why “Eliminated” Behavior Comes Back, and What We Can Do About It
ANDREW R. CRAIG (SUNY Upstate Medical University)
Abstract: Reinforcement-based interventions (e.g., functional-communication training, contingency management) are among the most effective methods for eliminating maladaptive human behavior. The term “eliminating” in the previous sentence, however often it is used in that context, is a misnomer. It is important to acknowledge that reduction of maladaptive behavior does not imply that it has been snipped out of an individual’s repertoire. Indeed, under specific environmental circumstances, behavior is likely to come back. For example, eliminated behavior may recur following: (1) interruption of reinforcement for desirable behavior, (2) a change in the context in which the treatment occurs, (3) exposure to stimuli associated with pre-intervention reinforcement conditions, or (4) an atypically long period of time away from the treatment context. These forms of relapse are termed resurgence, renewal, reinstatement, and spontaneous recovery, respectively, and they all may pose a sizeable challenge to the long-term durability of therapeutic outcomes. In this talk, I will introduce audience members to examples of these relapse phenomena from both the animal laboratory and clinical applications. I also will offer some suggestions on how clinicians may arrange treatment conditions to minimize the likelihood that relapse will occur.

Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior: A Review of the Literature

CATALINA REY (University of Vermont), Alison M. Betz (Behavior Services of the Rockies), Noor Javed (Kennedy Kreiger Institute)

Differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) is a reinforcement schedule in which reinforcement is contingent upon a period of time with the absence of a target response. The DRO has become one of the most commonly used procedures for decreasing rates of problem behavior (Matson et al., 2011). Since its introduction, researchers and practitioners have made modifications to and developed variations of the DRO procedure. This presentation will cover a review of those variations in the basic and applied literature in an attempt to identify best practices for clinicians and directions for future research. This presentation will review topics including best practice for setting DRO intervals, thinning DRO intervals, using whole-interval versus momentary DROs, using resetting versus non-resetting DROs, using DRO procedures with and without the use of extinction, and different methods for improving the overall efficacy of the DRO procedure. Research on the underlying mechanisms that result in the decelerative effects of the target response will also be discussed.




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