|Translational Studies on Differential Reinforcement of Problem Behavior in Underserved Populations: From Separation-Induced Challenging Behavior to an Operant Model of Socratic Questioning
|Sunday, May 24, 2020
|3:00 PM–3:50 PM
|Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 1, Salon I
|Area: VRB/AAB; Domain: Translational
|Chair: Camilo Hurtado Parrado (Troy University & Konrad Lorenz Fundación Universitaria)
|Discussant: Rebecca A Sharp (Bangor University)
|CE Instructor: Rebecca A Sharp, Ph.D.
According to the World Health Organization, translational research is the process of applying ideas, insights, and discoveries generated through basic scientific inquiry to the treatment or prevention of human disease (WHO, 2004). As Dube (2013) has noted, this process sounds very familiar to most behavior analysts, as the discipline has sought not only to make behavior the subject matter of a natural science, but also to “apply [the methods of science] to human affairs” (Skinner, 1953, p. 5). Translational studies may also involve the systematic replication of known operant processes in new populations and settings. This symposium focuses on advances on translational research on the clinical and applied animal behavior domains. The first presentation describes the implementation of shaping procedures to modify complex verbal units in clients with symptoms of anxiety and depression. The therapist reinforced either approximations to a terminal class of verbal responses (shaping condition) or exemplars of the terminal class of verbal responses (terminal condition). The results showed a faster progression towards the terminal class of verbal responses exposed to the shaping condition. In the second study, the authors used differential reinforcement of incompatible behavior to reduce separation-induced challenging behavior in four horses. Horses underwent separation trials while being required to touch a target upon receiving a verbal command. Compliance was reinforced with edible reinforcers. An owner uptake phase ensured that treatment gains would be generalized. These two diverse studies feature two examples of translational research with several key aspects in common: both evaluate variations of differential reinforcement to reduce problem behaviors and both feature treatment models for populations typically underserved by behavior analysts.
|Instruction Level: Basic
|Keyword(s): applied animal-behavior, separation-induced behavior, translational research, verbal behavior
Practitioners and researchers interested in advances on translational behavior analysis. Also, clinical behavior analysts and those interested in applied animal behavior.
|Learning Objectives: 1. understand a new model for evaluating verbal shaping processes in the context of psychotherapeutic services 2. understand the use of Differential Reinforcement of Incompatible Behavior (DRI) for separation-induced challenging behaviors in horses. 3. describe key forms of translational research, including the development and evaluation of new services for populations that are not typically served by applied behavior analysts.
Shaping Complex Verbal Behavior Units in Individuals With Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety: An Operant Model of Socratic Questioning
|REBECA PARDO-CEBRIAN (ABA España, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid), Javier Virues Ortega (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid & The University of Auckland), Ana Calero-Elvira (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
Shaping has been used as a means to modify relatively simple verbal units. In a clinical context, it has been suggested that Socratic questioning could be, from a process perspective, a form of verbal shaping involving complex verbal units. The ability to demonstrate verbal shaping of complex verbal units in socially significant settings is challenging. First, behavioral observation methods for complex topographical units are not well developed. Second, in spite of numerous conceptual analyses, there are no socially valid experimental models for evaluating operant processes in psychotherapy. In the current study, we used a previously validated behavioral observation system for categorizing clients' approximations to a terminal class of verbal responses. We also used existing preference assessment methods to identify preferred topographical classes of verbal responses to be used by the therapist as conditioned reinforcers. Therapist were trained to reinforce either approximations to a terminal class of verbal responses (shaping condition) or just exemplars of the terminal class of verbal responses (terminal condition). We used a multielement design with a no-intervention baseline preceding the treatment comparison phase. In order to prevent multiple-treatment interference, different terminal classes of verbal responses were assigned to each experimental condition. The first terminal class of verbal responses to reach mastery marked the inception of a final phase where the two classes were exposed to shaping. Three consecutively-admitted clients with symptoms of anxiety and depression took part in the study. The results showed a faster progression towards the terminal class of verbal responses exposed to the shaping condition. We discuss the conceptual, methodological, and clinical implications of these findings.
|Differential Reinforcement of Incompatible Behavior for Separation-Induced Challenging Behavior in Horses: Treatment Evaluation and Owner Uptake of a Target Training Procedure
|Veronika Ribova (The University of Auckland), KATE CATHARINE ANNE WINCHESTER (University of Auckland), Javier Virues Ortega (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid & The University of Auckland), Sarah Cowie (The University of Auckland), Nicole Pfaller-Sadovsky (Queen's University Belfast), Camilo Hurtado Parrado (Troy University & Konrad Lorenz Fundación Universitaria)
|Abstract: Equidae are herd animals that are rarely seen in isolation in the natural environment, yet domesticated horses are separated from their conspecifics routinely. Separation of horses that are strongly bonded to one another can result in separation-induced challenging behaviors including human- and object-directed aggression, motor agitation, and stereotypy. The current study used target training as a differential reinforcement of incompatible behavior strategy to decrease separation-induced challenging behaviors. Four horses with a history of separation-induced challenging behaviors were clicker and target trained before the study began. Horses underwent separation trials while being required to touch a target upon receiving a verbal command. Compliance was reinforced with clicks, which were frequency paired with small portions of food. The intervention decreased separation-induced challenging behaviors in all horses. In order to facilitate the uptake of treatment gains, owners participated in a brief owner training protocol during the generalization phase of the study. The effectiveness of the current intervention encourages future studies using reinforcement-based methods for equine training more generally.