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 #74
CE Offered: BACB
Advances in Stimulus Preference Assessments: Evaluating Attention and Problem Behavior
Saturday, May 23, 2020
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Level M4, Independence D
Area: EDC/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Elizabeth Joy Houck (University of Texas at Austin)
Discussant: Megan R. Heinicke (California State University, Sacramento)
CE Instructor: Megan R. Heinicke, Ph.D.

Stimulus preference assessments (SPA) are commonly used to identify stimuli that can be used in both assessment and intervention. Much of the literature on preference assessments has focused on the design of the assessment, including stimulus presentation format, stimulus modality, and consequences for selection. Overall, single, two-item, and multiple item formats, with immediate access, can be effective methods to identify preferences. More recently, researchers have examined adaptations to SPAs, focusing on different modalities and consequences. For example, some items or activities may be difficult to present; therefore, it may only be possible to present a picture of the name of the item. Additionally, it may be difficult to repeatedly present an large item or activity. Likewise, some stimuli may have multiple parameters that could be presented as separate items during SPAs. The purpose of this symposium is to present two studies that address adaptations to SPAs, focusing on stimuli with multiple parameters and problem behavior during SPAs. In the first study, the authors evaluated preference for different types of attention and the relation between preference assessment results and reinforcer assessment results. In the second study, the authors evaluated problem behavior during different modalities and consequence arrangements of paired-stimulus preference assessments.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Attention, Preference Assessment, Problem Behavior
Target Audience:

Practitioners, Applied Researchers, Graduate Students

Further Evaluation of a Rapid Assessment of Attention Types
Cynthia P. Livingston (University of North Florida), Craig Strohmeier (Kennedy Krieger Institute), ASHLEY BORDELON (Oregon Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Interventions for attention-maintained problem behavior often incudes a departure from typical interventions for problem behavior maintained by other functional reinforcers. That is, the form of attention most frequently provided during a functional analysis is social disapproval. Conversely, the attention included in treatment most often comes in the form of praise. Some research suggests different forms of attention may function differently for both problem behavior and the alternative behavior. The rapid assessments of attention types (RAAT) was developed to identify a form of attention most likely to reinforce functionally equivalent alternatives to problem behavior, however, previous research has not included a reinforcement assessment to assess the effects of the preferred attention type as a reinforcer. In the current study, we further evaluated previously described procedures for the RAAT by replicating the results and including an evaluation of correspondence between the preference assessment and reinforcement assessment results. Participants included three children, ages 8-9 years old, all diagnosed with developmental disabilities. The results replicated and extended previous research by demonstrating a hierarchy of preference for different attention types, as well as a correspondence between the RAAT and reinforcement assessment for all three participants.
An Evaluation of Problem Behavior During Varied Modality and Consequence Preference Assessments
ASHTON CORINNE TINNEY (University of North Texas), Joseph D. Dracobly (University of North Texas), Ana Rodriguez (University of North Texas), Sara Baak (University of North Texas)
Abstract: There is a limited amount of research that has evaluated all three types of modalities and consequences during stimulus preference assessments (SPA) or examined problem behavior during preference assessments with individuals with problem behavior maintained by access to tangible items. Problem behavior with this function may be particularly problematic during SPAs because the EO for problem is repeatedly presented - after interaction, preferred items are removed and access is restricted for some period of time. Conducting SPA using different modalities or consequence arrangements may be an effective method to reduce the likelihood that problem behavior occurs during SPAs. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to extend this line of research in two ways: (a) compare results of SPAs across three modalities and three consequences, (b) evaluate problem behavior during these SPAs with individuals with problem behavior maintained by access to tangible items. The results indicated that for all participants, there was preference stability across modalities and conditions. Additionally, for all participants, problem behavior occurred during the no access consequence or removal consequence, regardless of modality.



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