Association for Behavior Analysis International

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46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

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Poster Session #532
Monday, May 25, 2020
1:00 PM–3:00 PM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 2, Hall D
Chair: Andre Miguel (Washington State University)
1.

Effects of Four Types of Feedback Upon Stimulus Equivalence Class Formation

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
MARIO SERRANO (UNIVERSIDAD VERACRUZANA)
Discussant: Andre Miguel (Washington State University)
Abstract:

Four groups of young adults were exposed to an arbitrary matching-to-sample training as well as to symetry, transitivity, and equivalence test-trials. During training, for two groups correct and incorrect matching responses produced the corresponding feedback according to continuous and intermittent schedules, respectively. Correct responses produced feedback and incorrect responses produced blanks and vice versa for other two groups, respectively. Intermitent feedback obstructed the aquisition of the conditional discrimination and produced the lowest percentages of correct responses in test-trials. Providing feedback for errors and blanks for correct responses allowed the acquisition of the conditional discrimination, but high percentage of correct responses in simetry test-trials only. Continious feedback as well as providing feedback for correct responses and blanks for errors both allowed acquisition of the conditional discrimination and high percentage of correct responses in all test trials. These results support postulates of interbehavioral psychology and are disccused in the context of such theory.

 
2. A Study of Stimulus Control Required from Symmetry in Pigeons by Generalization Gradient
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
MASAKI ISHIZUKA (Meisei University), Tetsumi Moriyama (Tokiwa University)
Discussant: Andre Miguel (Washington State University)
Abstract: Recently, Urcuioli (2008) reported that pigeons demonstrated symmetry when using successive (go/no-go) matching-to-sample procedure, and hypothesized that pigeons should continue to experience both reinforced and non-reinforced trials during the training. The present study examined the effects of reinforced and non-reinforced trials of the training on the pigeon's performance in symmetry tests based on the generalization gradient. Three pigeons received hue-form arbitrary, hue-hue, and form-form identity matching training. During the training, a fixed-interval 5-s schedule was in effect on positive trials, extinction on negative trials. Each pigeon except P3 received the training until it achieved a high and stable discrimination ratio (above 0.8). After the training, all pigeons received the tests for form-hue symmetry and their generalization gradients. The test trials were inverted versions of arbitrary training trials, and the comparisons varied in the hue stimulus. As a result, none of them showed significant differences in their response rates between positive and negative symmetry probes. However, all pigeons showed a sort of generalization gradient corresponding to symmetry only when the sample stimulus-2 was presented. These results indicated that Urcuioli (2008)'s assumption could be valid.
 
3.

Exploring Training Efficiency: How Number of Stimuli Affect Learning Acquisition and Application

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
COURTNEY SMITH (University of Nevada, Reno), Natalie Buddiga (University of Nevada, Reno), Matt Locey (University of Nevada, Reno), Kenneth J. Killingsworth (Helix Behavioral Services)
Discussant: Andre Miguel (Washington State University)
Abstract:

The demand for effective and efficient instruction in education is clear; multiple statistics demonstrate that research at the experimental level is needed in order to extend our understanding of the process of learning. For instance, The Nation’s Report Card (2017) demonstrates this claim through data collected on average 4th-grade students’ test scores. Over the past 30 years, the average math score has been below the proficient level (defined by procedural, conceptual, and problem-solving skills); furthermore, the last 10 years have shown stability- exhibiting a lack of progress toward proficiency. The purpose of the current study is to extend our understanding of learning by manipulating the number of stimuli presented in an array during an arbitrary match-to-sample task. Preliminary data shows that 5 stimuli in an array results in faster acquisition, as defined by a frequency aim, than 7 stimuli. The study will also assess acquisition in relation to application of the skills learned which can more directly inform educational and teaching aims outside of the laboratory.

 
4.

An Alternative Explanation of Relational Frame Theory Studies on the Relational Frames of Sameness and Opposition

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
CHANGZHI WU (Long Island University Post), Benigno Alonso-Alvarez (Long Island University)
Discussant: Andre Miguel (Washington State University)
Abstract:

This experiment evaluated whether the outcomes of RFT studies on the frames of sameness and opposition are instances of contextual control over equivalence and nonequivalence and exclusion-based responding. Four college students participated. In Phase 1, we trained SAME as a contextual cue for selecting comparisons physically identical to the samples, and OPPOSITE as a contextual cue for selecting the comparisons most physically dissimilar to the samples. In Phase 2, SAME and OPPOSITE controlled the maintenance and reversal of equivalence classes, respectively. In Phase 3, we trained SAME-A1B1, SAME-A1C1, OPPOSITE-A1B2, and OPPOSITE-A1C2. The four participants derived SAME-B1C1, SAME-B2C2, OPPOSITE-B1C2, and OPPOSITE-B2C1. SAME-B2C2 could be explained by the exclusion of C1, a stimulus nonequivalent to B2, or by the combinatorial entailment of the opposition relations A1B2 and A1C2, as RFT proposes. In Phase 4, we trained SAME-A1B1, SAME-A1C1, SAME-A2B2, and OPPOSITE-A1C2, with a new set of stimuli. The four participants derived the same relations as in Phase 3. SAME-B2C2 can be explained by the exclusion of C1, but not by the combinatorial entailment of opposition relations because OPPOSITE-A1B2 was not trained. In summary, the outcomes of RFT studies on the frames of sameness and opposition are probably explained by alternative processes.

 
5.

Magnitude and Persistence of Bursting Following Extinction-Based Treatments

Area: EAB; Domain: Applied Research
LAURA SUZANNA COLEMAN (Marcus Autism Center), Colin S. Muething (Marcus Autism Center; Emory University), Summer Bottini (Marcus Autism Center; Emory University)
Discussant: Andre Miguel (Washington State University)
Abstract:

A common phenomenon associated with extinction-based treatments for problem behavior is the occurrence of a transient increase in the rate, magnitude, or duration of the targeted behavior. We sought to replicate and extend the findings of Lerman and Iwata (1995, 1999) by examining the magnitude and persistence of this phenomenon. Specifically, we reviewed data from 108 participants with autism spectrum disorder who had been admitted to an intensive outpatient clinic for the assessment and treatment of problem behavior and extinction was a component of the treatment. We found a prevalence in our sample of 19.1% bursts observed out of 335 exposures, which was similar to the prevalence of 15% previously reported in Lerman and Iwata (1999). The extinction bursts were most frequently classified as large in magnitude, accounting for over half of the bursts observed in this sample. Additionally, we observed a decreasing trend across ten sessions that approached levels prior to the implementation of extinction.

 
6. Galactic Cosmic Radiation Effects on Economic Demand and Psychomotor Vigilance in Mice
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
OANH LUC (McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School), Monica Dawes (McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School), Charles Limoli (University of California, Irvine), Rajeev Desai (McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School), Brian D. Kangas (McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School)
Discussant: Andre Miguel (Washington State University)
Abstract: Deep space missions to Mars and beyond requires travel outside of Earth’s protective magnetic field and involves extended exposure to galactic cosmic radiation (GCR). Neurobiological damage by GCR is one of the most poorly understood health risks in space radiobiology, raising concerns that exposure may jeopardize mission success. To assist NASA’s spaceflight risk estimation, studies were conducted in mice to examine the effects of GCR on touchscreen-based complex operant behavior. Mice received a 33-beam GCR simulation in the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider to a total dose of 40 cGy, either all at once (acute) or over 4 weeks (chronic). Next, economic demand functions for a palatable food reinforcer varying in magnitude were determined. Finally, sustained attention was examined during a psychomotor vigilance task in which the position, duration, and intermittency of a stimulus varied across trials. Although demand functions revealed orderly changes in elasticity across reinforcer magnitudes, no substantial GCR-mediated effects were observed. In psychomotor vigilance, mean reaction time was faster for control subjects compared to acute and chronic subjects, with group-differences that were more pronounced during acquisition. Taken together, although GCR did not appreciably modify sensitivity to reinforcement, adverse effects on attentional processes and reaction time were observed, which could negatively impact critical time-sensitive decision-making in-flight.
 
7. Potential Punishing Effects of Rich-to-Lean Transition-Specific Stimuli
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
LILLITH CAMP (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Halley M Robbins (University of North Wilmington), Raymond C. Pitts (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Christine E. Hughes (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Discussant: Andre Miguel (Washington State University)
Abstract: Pausing during fixed-ratio (FR) schedules is maladaptive in the sense that it delays reinforcement. Pausing following reinforcement is especially pronounced during signaled transitions from relatively rich to relatively lean environments. One potential explanation of this extended pause is that such transitions are aversive, and the extended pause functions as escape. The present study used pigeons as subjects to investigate the potential punishing effects of transition-specific stimuli Experimental sessions began with a multiple FR FR schedule in which components differed with respect to reinforcement magnitude and a unique key light color was associated with each transition type (lean-lean, lean-rich, rich-lean, rich-rich). Pigeons then experienced a separate concurrent VI 60-s VI 60-s schedule in which responses on one of the alternatives occasionally produced a brief flash of one of the transition-specific stimuli. Each stimulus was tested separately to examine the function of each transition type. A decrease in a subject’s response rate or switching to respond on the other key following the stimulus flash would suggest the stimulus associated with the transition type functioned as a punisher and that the transition was aversive.
 
8. Response Induction in Fixed Interval Schedules
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
SANDRA PATRICIA AVILES (National Autonomous University of Mexico), Rogelio Escobar (National Autonomous University of Mexico)
Discussant: Andre Miguel (Washington State University)
Abstract: Response induction describes the occurrence of responses topographically similar to a reinforced operant that do not fulfill the criterion for reinforcement. Although these unreinforced responses consistently accompany the occurrence of operant responses, few studies have analyzed the temporal distribution of induced responding within the inter-reinforcement (IRI) interval. In the present study, the effects of varying the duration of a fixed-interval (FI) schedule on the temporal distribution of reinforced and induced responses were determined. An operant conditioning chamber equipped with 28 horizontally aligned levers and a pellet dispenser, was used. Only presses on the four central levers (reinforcement zone) were reinforced. Four rats were exposed in successive conditions of 20 sessions to an FI 40 s, FI 80 s, and FI 40 s. Similar to previous studies, response rate was highest within the reinforcement zone and responding organized in response-induction gradients. Response rate was higher with FI 80 s than with FI 40 s. Responding within the reinforcement zone and in the adjacent levers formed a pattern of scalloped responding characteristic of fixed-interval schedules. It was concluded that the temporal distribution of induced responses tracks the temporal distribution of the reinforced response.
 
9. Rule Accuracy and Positive Behavioral Contrast in Multiple Schedules of Conjugate Reinforcement and Extinction
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
MATTHEW CHRISTOPHER PETERSON (University of Nevada, Reno; The ABRITE Organization), Patrick M. Ghezzi (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: Andre Miguel (Washington State University)
Abstract: Research on multiple schedules of reinforcement has demonstrated that the schedule in one component interacts with the schedule in the second component under certain circumstances. Positive behavioral contrast, defined by an increase in response rate in an unaltered component when rate of reinforcement is reduced in the altered component, has been observed in nonhumans and humans alike, with the latter showing sensitivity to rules describing experimental contingencies. While positive behavioral contrast has been observed with conjugate schedules in pre-verbal humans, the effects of rules on positive contrast in verbal humans requires further examination. Building off of research suggesting rule accuracy as a critical dimension in the production of contrast, this study examined the effects of rule accuracy and rule specificity on the emergence of positive contrast with undergraduate students. The main finding was that rule accuracy and rule specificity corresponded with discrimination indices, yet the relationship between these features and the emergence of positive contrast necessitates further study. Implications of these initial findings for future research will be provided.
 
10. Impulsivity in Children and Adults Using Identical Task and Procedural Parameters
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
LORI-ANN B. FORZANO (The College at Brockport, State University of New York), Michiko Sorama (Kyoto Notre Dame University), Evette Ramos (College at Brockport, State University of New York)
Discussant: Andre Miguel (Washington State University)
Abstract: In both children and adults, impulsivity is fundamental in many unhealthy behaviors and is featured in several psychological disorder diagnoses. Results of studies examining the relationship between impulsivity and age, have been mixed and research comparing impulsivity in adults and children is limited because different measures have been used with different aged participants. Although measures of impulsivity are commonly treated as equivalent, most studies have found low levels of agreement between measures. Further, procedural differences have been demonstrated to account for differences in impulsivity. Thus, the current study sought to rectify these procedural differences. The objective of the current study was to measure impulsivity in adults (69 college-aged females) and children (42, ages 5-12) using exactly the same task with identical procedural parameters. In the Self-Control Video Software Task (Forzano & Schunk, 2008; Forzano et al., 2014) participants repeatedly choose between larger, more delayed and smaller, less delayed access to viewing video cartoons. No differences in impulsivity were found between adults and children. Further, no age differences were found among children. Differences in procedural parameters are identified as important in their implications for research on impulsivity.
 
11.

Obesity in Adolescents and Devaluation of Outcomes Due to Their Cost: Delay, Probability, and Effort

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
GISEL G. ESCOBAR (National Autonomous University of Mexico), Silvia Morales Chaine (National Autonomous University of Mexico), Suzanne H. Mitchell (Oregon Health & Science University)
Discussant: Forrest Toegel (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract:

Obesity is a public health problem in Mexico. More than 36.3% of adolescents have obesity. Although the literature mentions selection by type of food and physical activity are the main factors for the development of obesity, the multidimensional effect of decision making is still unclear. Delay discounting studies show that adults with obesity discount more steeply immediate rewards than the controls. However, mixed findings are with probability discounting, and the effort discounting has not been explored as a possible additional factor to describe the choices for poor physical activity. This study aimed to compare the loss of the subjective value of different rewards in delay, probability, and effort discounting tasks with hypothetical outcomes in adolescents with obesity. The choice trials were presented with the adjusting amount procedure. We use a mixed design. Preliminary results show the hyperbolic model had moderate adjustments for the obesity group and higher adjustments for the controls. Findings were replicated for delay discounting with money. A probability and steeply effort discounting were found with money for obese participants than for the controls. Findings suggest the variable delay and effort seem to describe the "impulsive" choices for the obesity group, unlike the pattern of risk-seeking.

 
12.

Novel Experiential Discounting Tasks in Children Across Different Cost: Delay, Probability, and Effort

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
GISEL G. ESCOBAR (National Autonomous University of Mexico), Alma Luisa López Fuentes (National Autonomous University of Mexico), Silvia Morales Chaine (National Autonomous University of Mexico)
Discussant: Forrest Toegel (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract:

We exposed 34 children to the adjusting-amount procedure (standard amount = 16 prizes) presenting by five delays (5, 10, 20, 30, and 60 seconds), odds against (0.111, 0.333, 1, 3, and 9) and effort levels (0.2, 0.4, 06, 0.8, and 1) in three Experiential Discounting Tasks (EDTs). We found high values for the adjustment to the hyperboloid model in the three tasks (R2 = .92). We observed a steep probability discounting curve, a moderately delay discounting curve and a shallow effort discounting curve. Statistically significant differences were found in the degree of discounting between delay and effort discounting, and probability and effort discounting. The Principal component analysis showed four components that explain 67.46% of the variance. The findings of this study suggested different discounting patterns based on the parameters manipulated and supported the internal validity of the tasks. The EDTs contributed to solving practical issues by using real contingencies with children.

 
13.

Relationships Between Delay and Social Discounting and Risky Smartphone Use in College Students

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
PAUL ROMANOWICH (Gonzaga University), Takeharu Igaki (Ryutsu Keizai University), Naoki Yamagishi (Ryutsu Keizai University), Tyler Norman (University of Texas San Antonio)
Discussant: Forrest Toegel (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract:

Previous research showed that delay, but not social discounting is significantly correlated with Japanese students’ using smartphones while walking (USWW) rates. In addition, there is mixed evidence for a relationship between delay discounting and texting while driving (TWD). There are no published studies examining relationships between social discounting and TWD. The current study explored relationships between two types of discounting (delay and social) and two risky behaviors involving smartphones (TWD and USWW). A total of 456 US college students completed demographic, discounting, and self-reported risky smartphone measures. Figure 1 shows social discounting box-plots for the bottom 25%, middle 50% and top 25% TWD participants. As TWD increased, social discounting rate significantly increased. However, the same pattern was not shown with delay discounting and TWD. Figure 2 shows that low USWW rates were correlated with lower social discounting rates. There was no correlation between delay discounting and USWW. TWD and USWW were significantly correlated (r = 0.40), whereas delay and social discounting were not significantly correlated (r = 0.03). The results are interpreted in regards to the absolute differences in self-reported USWW rates between the US and Japan, and how converging evidence suggests that delay and social discounting are separate processes.

 
14.

Qualitative Differences Between Discounting of Gains and Losses: Systematic Devaluations and Zero Discounting

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
ELISE FURREBOE (University of Agder)
Discussant: Forrest Toegel (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract:

Implications of research on the sign effect may indicate how to deal with decision-making challenges. The sign effect is the steeper discounting of gains compared to losses. In this experiment, we compared discounting of gains and losses in order to explore when and to what extent human adults discount. Thirty-one participants went through a computer-based choice-task procedure of hypothetical monetary gains and losses. The results show clear qualitative differences. Whereas gains mostly involve systematic devaluations, losses often correspond to zero discounting. These results replicate earlier studies suggesting that discounting of gains and losses involve different reinforcing contingencies. A paired samples t-test indicated that the mean AUCgain is significantly smaller than the mean AUCloss, t (30) = -8.22, p = .00, r = .83, confirming the sign effect. Correlations between AUCgain and AUCloss values show that AUCgain was weak to moderately, and not significantly, correlated to AUCloss (r = .223; p = .228). The weakness of the relationship between these variables strengthen the argument that discounting of gains and losses are not part of the same process.

 
15.

Spontaneously Hypertensiveand Lewis Rats Learn to Choose Impulsively

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
MALANA JEAN MALONSON (Salem State University ), Carlos F. Aparicio Naranjo Naranjo (Salem State University)
Discussant: Forrest Toegel (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract:

Research shows that prolonged training in the impulsive task determines impulsive choice in nonhuman animals. We extended the generality of this finding to the impulsive choices of Spontaneously Hypertensive (SHR) and Lewis (LEW) rats responding to a novel concurrent-chains procedure. The initial-link arranged choices between smaller-sooner (SS) and larger-later (LL) foods. Choice was measured on two levers concurrently available in the initial link, where two non-independent random interval schedules arranged entries to two terminal links. One terminal link delayed the delivery of the LL food (4-pellets) six times, and the other terminal link delivered the SS food (1-pellet) immediately. Five models of intertemporal choice and the Generalized Matching Law (GML) fitted the data from the SHRs and LEWs well. Discounting rate (k) and sensitivity to immediacy of reinforcement (s) increased with prolonged training; estimates of k were positively correlated with estimates of s, suggesting compatibilities between models of intertemporal choice and the GML. It is proposed that the behavior pattern labeled impulsivity changes with the rats’ experience in the choice situation.

 
16. Stimulus Control of "Resistance to Temptation" in Pigeons
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
KARLA CAMPOS (National Autonomous University of Mexico), Brenda Estela Ortega (National Autonomus University of Mexico), Raul Avila (National Autonomous University of Mexico)
Discussant: Forrest Toegel (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract: Self-controlled behavior, conceptualized as "resistance to temptation", refers to a situation in which a subject has an available reward, but "stops" from taking it until a response criterion is met. Briefly, food-deprived pigeons are exposed to repetitive time cycles in which the food dispenser is presented for some seconds (SR1) within the cycle; if the subject does not try to eat from SR1, after the cycle ends the food dispenser is presented again for a few seconds (SR2), and the subject could eat from it. However, if the subject tries to eat from SR1, it is withdrawn and the SR2 presentation is cancelled. In the present study the discriminability between SR1 and SR2 presentations was explored in two successive conditions. In Condition A, SR1 and SR2 were signaled with feeder lights of the same color, and in Condition B the feeder lights were of different color. Four pigeons were exposed to an ABAB design and other four subjects were exposed to a BABA design. The subjects obtained more presentations of SR2 when SR1 and SR2 were signaled by feeder-lights of different color. It can be suggested that self-control -conceptualized as a case of "resistance to temptation" can be submitted to stimulus control.
 
17.

Exploring the Relationship Between Affordance Boundaries and Concurrent Schedules of Reinforcement

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
ROBERT W. ISENHOWER (Rider University ), Avisha Patel (Rider University)
Discussant: Forrest Toegel (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract:

Killeen and Jacobs (2017) discussed James Gibson’s concept of affordance and its place within the analysis of behavior. According to Gibson (1979), affordances are possibilities for behavior scaled to the action capabilities of the organism. Previous research has found that when asked to lift and move objects that vary only by their lengths, participants make a transition from one- to two-hands or two- to one-hand at predictable affordance boundaries defined as a ratio of hand-span to object length (Lopresti-Goodman et al. 2009; Isenhower et al. 2010). In order to further explore the relationship between affordances and behavior analysis, the current study manipulated object properties in a similar fashion to the aforementioned studies but treated the choice (one vs. two hands) as a concurrent operant arrangement. Reinforcement was delivered in the form of points on concurrent VR-VR schedules. The participants’ goal was to maximize the number of points they earned. During baseline conditions no reinforcement was delivered regardless of how participants chose to move the objects. During the 1H condition, participants contacted reinforcement on a VR2 schedule for moving objects with one hand and a VR5 schedule for moving objects with two hands. During the 2H condition, the concurrent schedules were reversed such that participants contacted reinforcement on a VR2 schedule for moving the objects with two hands and a VR5 schedule for moving objects with one hand. Preliminary results indicate that the affordance boundary moves relative to baseline for the 2H condition but not the 1H condition. Implications for incorporating affordances into the analysis of behavior will be discussed.

 
18. Chasing Ghosts: Human Conc FR FI Responding in a Computer Game
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
DEBRA J. SPEAR (South Dakota State University), Hannah Pannell (South Dakota State University), Malloree Siver (South Dakota State University), Elizabeth Stromquist (South Dakota State University)
Discussant: Forrest Toegel (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract: Humans do not always respond like rats. In previous experiments, the ability of students to discriminate and show sensitivity to contingencies was investigated. Using a computer game, students were instructed to find ghosts in a haunted house. Ghosts appeared under FRs on the left side and FIs on the right side. Sessions consisted of 3 consecutive 10-min concurrent schedules. With contingencies of FR10 FI1; FR35 FI1; FR50 FI ; and FR35 FI30; FR35 FI1; FR35 FI2, few students discriminated a number-based contingency, and no student discriminated interval contingencies. Few subjects were sensitive to contingency changes across the session. The current experiments attempted to enhance discrimination and sensitivity. First, a Conc FR35 FI1; Ext FI1; Ext FI1 was presented. In the second experiment, the visual display was changed to two houses with Conc FR20 FI1; FR35 FI1; FR50 FI1. In general, students showed little sensitivity to the Ext components in either FR or FI responding, and showed almost no discrimination that two schedules were present when the visual display was a single house. Discrimination that two schedules were present was enhanced with two distinct houses, but FR responding increased when the FR value was increased.
 
19. An Evaluation of the Effects of the Number of Options within an Array and Time Constraints on an Individual’s Preference for Choice-making Contexts
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
MINDY CASSANO (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Julie A. Brandt (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology ), Kathryn L. Kalafut (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Jack Spear (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Discussant: Forrest Toegel (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract: Previous research has found that choice in and of itself is a reinforcer; however, research has also found there are limits to this such as when there are too many choices. The current study, replicated and extended behavior-economic research using behavior-analytic methods by (a) determining the prevalence of preference for choice in a large number of adults, (b) evaluating large numbers of options on preference for choice and satisfaction, and (c) evaluating the effects of time constraints on an individual’s preference for choice and satisfaction with those choices. Results showed that many participants preferred choice over no-choice contexts. One-third of the participants reached a breaking point during the choice overload phase and time constraint phase. Additionally, it was more difficult to choose when there were more choices and when there was less time. These findings demonstrate that offering extensive amounts of options may have negative effects but suggest further research be conducted on more substantial contexts.
 
20. The Effect of Relative Rate of S+ Production on Choice: a Replication
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
NATALIE RONTY (University of Florida), Samuel L. Morris (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)
Discussant: Forrest Toegel (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract: Conditioned reinforcement is thought to be an important piece of accounting for complex human behaviors. Thus, it may be useful for researchers to ask, “Do conditioned reinforcers do the same thing to behavior as primary reinforcers?” Shahan, Podlesnik, & Jimenez-Gomez (2006) demonstrated that the relative rate at which two alternatives produce stimuli correlated with reinforcement affects choice between those alternatives in a similar manner as the relative rate of reinforcement itself. We replicated Shahan et al.’s procedures with humans. Results suggest that subjects’ behavior was sensitive to the relative rate at which stimuli correlated, but that the degree of sensitivity varied.
 
21.

Evaluation of the Overjustification Effect With Undergraduate Students

Area: EAB; Domain: Applied Research
AMY ETHRIDGE (Auburn University; Berry College), P. Raymond Joslyn (Utah State University), Kerri P. Peters (University of Florida)
Discussant: Suzanne H. Mitchell (Oregon Health & Science University)
Abstract:

Reinforcement-based procedures are key tools for implementing effective behavior change. However, one of the main criticisms of reinforcement-centered programs is the overjustification hypothesis, which posits that when “extrinsic” rewards are delivered contingent on the occurrence of behavior, the rate of that behavior will fall to below baseline levels when these rewards are removed. The current study is a replication of a 1971 study by Edward Deci evaluating the overjustitication hypothesis. The subjects in this replication were ten undergraduate students who were asked to complete puzzle configurations across three phases. These subjects were divided into a treatment group, who received rewards for puzzle completion, and a control group, who received no extrinsic rewards. Participants in the treatment group received no “extrinsic” rewards in phase one, a monetary reward contingent on puzzle completion in phase two, and a return to no monetary rewards in phase three. The results were highly variable but the majority of participants in both the treatment and control group showed a decline in engagement across the three phases. The findings of this replication suggest that satiation, rather than overjustification, may decrease subject puzzle interaction.

 
22.

Metacontingencies Applied to the Good Behavior Game: Methods and Preliminary Results

Area: EAB; Domain: Applied Research
FLORA MOURA LORENZO (Universidade de Brasília (UnB)), Laércia Abreu Vasconcelos (Universidade de Brasília (UnB))
Discussant: Suzanne H. Mitchell (Oregon Health & Science University)
Abstract:

Metacontingencies have not yet been implemented in conjunction with the Good Behavior Game to facilitate its maintenance. Although the literature reports strong effects from the Good Behavior Game, diffusion of the Brazilian culturally adapted version Elos Program – Communities Coalitions was suspended by the federal government. Even though national available data should be considered, designs with higher levels of experimental control are necessary to estimate the intervention effects. Through reversal and multiple baseline designs across three municipalities, this study aims to test the effects of Elos Program – Communities Coalitions with the addition of support metacontingencies, subsidized in the program manuals available for public access. Dependent variables include on-task, cooperative, disruptive and aggressive behavior from pupils; nurturing practices from teachers; and interlocked behavioral contingencies of mutual support between practitioners. 320 participants are expected from six public schools. Operant and cultural consequences will be manipulated in three phases: Operant selection, Cultural selection and Cultural maintenance. Conditions differ regarding individual or group feedback delivered to professionals as well as to reinforcement schemes contingent to the occurrence of interlocked behavioral contingencies. The first phase is running and preliminary results from one third-grade class can be discussed. Disruptive behavior rates markedly decreased while on-task behavior rates increased to levels far from baseline conditions since intervention started. If repeated across classrooms, this result shall increase external validity of Good Behavior Game variations to Brazilian educational system. Data from longitudinal studies using randomized control trial methods identified correlations between participating in the intervention and lower rates of drug abuse at adult age. Although its measurements are limited to few points over time, long-term research literature regarding the Good Behavior Game highlights its potential outcomes that should be investigated with reliable experimental control.

 
23. The Effects of Group Contingencies on Math Performance of Elementary School Children
Area: EAB; Domain: Applied Research
NAYARA GOIS (Universidade Federal de São Carlos), Lucas Couto de Carvalho (Universidade Federal de São Carlos), João S. Carmo (Universidade Federal de São Carlos)
Discussant: Suzanne H. Mitchell (Oregon Health & Science University)
Abstract: Official data show deficits of Brazilian public school children in mathematical skills. These data suggest the necessity to develop alternative, low-cost, teaching technologies. This research compares the effects of Independent and Interdependent group contingencies on the frequency of correctly respond to math operations. Twenty fourth-grade public elementary school children participated in the study. Students were divided in five groups formed with underachieving, average, and overarching students (as assessed in a pre-test). Reversal designs were used with a sequence of ABCA for three groups, and a sequence of ACBA for the other two groups. Members performed the task with their group peers across all conditions. Condition A served as baseline, with no scheduled reinforcement. In Condition B, reinforcers were individually provided, depending on the student individual performance. In Condition C, reinforcers were provided based on the averaged performances of all group members. Results reveal increasing effects of both Independent and Interdependent group contingencies on correct responses of average and overachieving students, compared to Baseline, but not for underachieving students. For future researches, it is necessary to create a contingency where peer tutoring can actually emerge, as an alternative to improve performances of underachieving students.
 
24.

The Effectiveness and Cost-Efficiency of Group Contingency in Promoting Walking Behavior of College Students

Area: EAB; Domain: Applied Research
HEEWON KIM (Yonsei University), Changseok Lee (Yonsei University), Suhyon Ahn (Yonsei University)
Discussant: Suzanne H. Mitchell (Oregon Health & Science University)
Abstract:

Group contingency (GC) is a behavior management strategy in which a consequence is contingent upon the behavior of all or selected portion of a group of people. However, studies comparing the different types of GC are limited, especially those aimed at enhancing physical activity. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of GC for promoting walking behavior of college students. 72 college students were grouped as a team of three based on their step counts and were randomly assigned to three conditions for 66 days of intervention. In independent condition, participants earned points each time they met the predetermined goal, regardless of their teammates’ performance. In interdependent condition, participants earned points each time all teammates met the goal. In random dependent condition, participants earned points each time the randomly selected teammate met the goal. In terms of effectiveness, random dependent condition showed a significant increase in step counts during intervention than the others. In terms of cost-efficiency, when the same amount of points was provided, increase in step counts of interdependent condition was the highest. The results suggest that random dependent GC is effective, whereas interdependent GC is cost-efficient in promoting walking behavior.

 
25. Effects of a Brief Defusion Presentation on Near Miss Ratings
Area: EAB; Domain: Applied Research
JASMINE EITTAH HARRELL (Rider University; The Bedrock Clinic & Research Center Inc. ), Mack S. Costello (Rider University)
Discussant: Suzanne H. Mitchell (Oregon Health & Science University)
Abstract: Behavioral approaches to interventions have been useful in solving the many psychological issues that are faced cross-culturally (Dixon, 2007). Recently, there has been a protocol and initial research on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for problem gambling (Dixon & Wilson, 2014; Dixon, Wilson, & Habib, 2016). Nastally and Dixon (2012) had previously examined a therapist-free delivery of ACT for gambling information targeting a person’s rating of the near-miss outcome as being “closer” to a win. The experiment used a computerized slot machine to expose the participants to different outcomes. Their participants had a history of problem gambling and were instructed to rate each type of outcome (i.e., wins, losses, and near misses) in terms of its closeness to a win on a scale of one to ten before and after a brief ACT intervention. Those results showed that there was a notable decrease in the near miss ratings after the ACT intervention was given. The results showed decreases in the ratings of near misses as being close to win after the presentation, which is theoretically a goal of defusion (to change the relationship between the words and their associated response classes). Theoretical and clinical interests in defusion have increased in the behavior analysis and ACT literature (e.g., Assaz et al., 2018). Considering this, we replicated Nastally and Dixon’s (2012) procedure with only defusion and tracked ratings of near misses, as well as psychometric outcomes commonly targeted in ACT. Three participants with a history of gambling problems participated in a multiple baseline design.
 
26.

Variables Facilitating Defusion from the Contextual Control of the Rock-Paper-Scissors Game

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
AIKO TAKANO (Hosei University)
Discussant: Suzanne H. Mitchell (Oregon Health & Science University)
Abstract:

Variables facilitating “cognitive defusion” are still incompletely understood in laboratory settings. The present study focused on the persistent contextual control of the rock-paper-scissors (RPS) game, where responding based on the circular relation is reinforced and feedback in accordance with an alternative rule is deactivated. The alternative context was introduced, where responding based on the linear relation of the number of fingers (NOF), is reinforced. As a general procedure, a participant chose the winning/losing one of two handsigns on a computer screen. Trainings provided a feedback on “correct/incorrect” per trial, then its effect was assessed in the subsequent tests with no feedback. In Experiment 1, 12 undergraduates’ data were obtained. Two contextual cues were introduced, indicating either NOF or RPS responding is correct. In the trainings where the handsigns not appearing in the RPS game were added, nine participants showed over 75% correct responses in the NOF context. In Experiment 2, eight undergraduates’ data were obtained. After the training where rock, paper, and scissors were presented in the same trial, six participants showed over 75% NOF responses. In conclusion, situations that conflict with the regular RPS game could facilitate defusion from its persistent contextual control.

 
27.

An Apparatus for Single-Subject Research With Rats in Group Housing

Area: EAB; Domain: Theory
ALEX DAVIDSON (University of North Texas), Grayson Butcher (University of North Texas), April M. Becker (University of North Texas and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center)
Discussant: Suzanne H. Mitchell (Oregon Health & Science University)
Abstract:

We have developed a specialized apparatus for single-subject research with rat colonies. This “One Rat Door” (ORD) sits between an operant chamber and group housing. Only one rat may pass from the group housing, through the door, to the operant chamber. Once a rat has passed, a locking mechanism is engaged that prevents additional rats from entering the ORD. Only when the initial rat leaves the operant chamber is the door unlocked, allowing another rat to enter. The design of the ORD is cheap, simple, fully mechanical, and can accommodate different rat sizes. The mechanical design reduces risk of injury from motorized moving parts and reduces transition disruption. It also enables automated experimentation; it can be run 24/7 without requiring experimenter time and effort. Used in conjunction with RFID technology, the ORD allows for both single-subject data and individualized contingencies in the operant chamber. This apparatus is currently being used to conduct single-subject research with rats relearning a distal forelimb reach task following ischemic stroke. Because of its simple and enabling design, the ORD may be used to measure self-initiated behavior within a social context and to study behavioral economics and nonlinear contingencies with high external validity.

 
28. Using the Livecode Community Edition Development Environment, Apple Macintosh Computers, and Off-the-Shelf Interface Devices for Inexpensive Operant Laboratory Control and Data Collection
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
JAMES T. TODD (Eastern Michigan University), Eleah Sunde (Eastern Michigan University)
Discussant: Suzanne H. Mitchell (Oregon Health & Science University)
Abstract: Operant laboratory control and data collection is typically done with computers running either expensive commercial software connected to proprietary electronic interfaces or employing user-developed implementations constructed of whatever might be at hand. In both instances, high costs, the need to learn difficult computer syntax, and technical difficulties inherent in matching disparate electronic peripherals to main systems can create a high barrier to entry for the potential basic researcher. In this poster, we describe the use of the free Livecode Community Development authoring system, standard computers, and off-the-self interface devices to create low- to moderate-cost systems for laboratory control and data collection. Livecode, a descendent of Apple's Hypercard, provides an graphical rapid development environment programmed in plain-language scripts rather than obscure (for most) computer syntax. Livecode can be used to create stand-alone applications for MacOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android systems. These may be used natively (on screen), even on phones, or in conjunction with inexpensive off-the-self input-output devices to control experiments, collect data, create graphics, and communicate results directly to experimenters in real time. The Macintosh operating system's enhanced ability to communicate with and directly control other applications (e.g. Excel, graphing programs) via AppleScript make it a good laboratory choice for laboratory control and data collection. Other systems have other advantages, and much of the information in this poster applies to them as well. The use of affordable, driverless, off-the-shelf input/output (I/O) devices simplifies interfacing with standard laboratory equipment and inexpensive transducers. Integration with other inexpensive systems, such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi, is relatively simple using standard serial communication. Wireless control of equipment and collection of data is possible using Bluetooth.
 
29.

Rats Find Occupancy of a Restraint Tube Rewarding

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
YOSUKE HACHIGA (American University / Waseda University), Alan Silberberg (American University), Burton Slotnick (American University), Maria Gomez (American University)
Discussant: Suzanne H. Mitchell (Oregon Health & Science University)
Abstract:

In Experiment 1, each rat in the 0-minute group moved freely in a chamber where a wall blocked access to a restraint tube. After 10 minutes, the wall was removed, permitting 15 minutes of chamber access and tube entry. The other two groups were locked in the tube for 10 and 20 minutes respectively before release into the chamber for 15 minutes. Across sessions, rats locked up for 10 and 20 minutes entered the tube more frequently than rats in the 0-minute group, and during the first two sessions rats in the 20-minute group stayed in the tube longer than the other groups. Over sessions this difference disappeared. However, for all groups and sessions the mean percentage of session time in the tube exceeded chance expectations. This result suggests tube occupation was reinforcing. In Experiment 2’s Phase 1, rats could enter an open tube. On exiting, the tube door closed. A lever press opened the door for the rest of the one-hour session. In Phase 2, these rats were locked in the tube for 10 minutes before the door opened. Upon exiting, the door closed. To return to the tube they pressed a lever, opening the door for the rest of the session. The latency between pressing and tube entry decreased over sessions, indicating tube entry reinforced lever pressing. These results are difficult to reconcile with accounts of rat empathy based on the thesis that tube restraint distresses occupants.

 
30. Effects of Constant and Qualitatively Varied Reinforcers on Response Rates: A Replication of Steinman (1968)
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
MAIRA LUZMILA REVOLLEDO VICERREL (National Autonomous University of Mexico), Alicia Roca (National Autonomous University of Mexico)
Discussant: Suzanne H. Mitchell (Oregon Health & Science University)
Abstract: Using a three-component multiple schedule, Steinman (1968) found that a component delivering sucrose and pellets generated higher response rates than two components delivering either sucrose or pellets. Steinman’s study has been widely cited in the literature, supporting the notion that varied reinforcers generate higher response rates than constant reinforcers. Recent studies provided conflicting evidence, showing that response rates during the varied reinforcer component were intermediate to the rates generated by constant reinforcers. It is possible that Steinman’s specific experimental arrangements resulted in the additive effect of varied reinforcers on response rates. A replication of Steinman’s study was conducted to address this possibility. Four Wistar rats were exposed to a multiple variable-interval (VI) 45- s VI 45- s VI 45- s schedule. Either sucrose or pellets were delivered in two components. Sucrose and pellets were delivered randomly in the third component. Each component was added in successive phases. Response rates generated by varied reinforcers were close to the average of response rates generated by constant reinforcers. This experiment differed from Steinman’s only in the strain of rats. The additive effect of qualitatively different reinforcers on response rates is weak; varied reinforcers do not consistently maintain higher relative response rates.
 
31.

The Reinforcing Value of Water as a Function of Food Deprivation on Scheduled-Induced Drinking

Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
MOISÉS VILLALOBOS (National Autonomous University of Mexico), Alicia Roca (National Autonomous University of Mexico)
Discussant: Suzanne H. Mitchell (Oregon Health & Science University)
Abstract:

Schedule- Induced drinking (SID) occurs when food-deprived rats are exposed to intermittent schedules of food reinforcement. The explanation of SID in terms of operant behavior reinforced by food has remained elusive. SID may be reinterpreted as operant behavior reinforced directly by water. Food deprivation and intermittent food delivery may function as establishing operations that increase the reinforcing value of water. The purpose of the study was to determine the effects of varying levels of food deprivation on water reinforcer efficacy during SID sessions. In successive conditions, four rats were food deprived at 100, 90, 80 and 75% of their free -feeding weights. During each condition, rats were exposed to daily SID sessions in which food was delivered according to a tandem fixed- time 176- s, differential-reinforcement-of-other-behavior 4-s. Each lever press resulted in water delivery. Holding constant the food schedule, water was then delivered according to a progressive- ratio 5 schedule, in which the response requirement increased for successive reinforcers. In general, decreasing body weight resulted in higher response rates and higher break points, suggesting that food deprivation increases the reinforcing value of water. The results complement earlier findings showing that SID is operant behavior reinforced directly by water.

 
32. The Effects of Stimulus-Equivalence Training in Promoting Generalization of Trained Safety Responses to Hazard Symbols
Area: EAB; Domain: Applied Research
COURTNEY MULLINAX (University of North Carolina at Wilmington), Carol Pilgrim (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Discussant: Suzanne H. Mitchell (Oregon Health & Science University)
Abstract: Generalization of trained skills is critical to functioning the natural environment and should be a critical component rather than an afterthought of a procedure (Stokes & Baer, 1977). One procedure that directly produces emergent behavior is stimulus-equivalence training. Could an equivalence approach impact generalization performances? This study investigated an equivalence-based approach in directly promote generalization of trained safety-skills. Eight preschoolers attending Wilmington Christian Academy completed the study at the school. All participants received baseline testing, behavioral-skills training of safety-responses to one hazard symbol, and safety-response generalization tests with each of three hazard symbols in various settings. Participants were divided into one of three conditions. Only Conditions 1 and 2 received simple-discrimination training with compound stimuli and received equivalence probes. Condition 1 received generalization tests in a multiple-baseline across training-phases design to examine the effects of equivalence-training on generalization performances. Condition 2 received generalization tests only after completing the equivalence probes to examine the effects of equivalence-training on generalization performances without multiple-exemplar exposure. Condition 3’s generalization tests were yoked to a participant in Condition 1 to examine the effects of multiple-exemplar exposure alone on generalization performances. The results of this study can inform how practitioners plan for generalization when training skills.
 
 

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