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; Online; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #207
CE Offered: BACB
Conversations, Sharing, and Friendships: Understanding and Facilitating Social Behavior
Sunday, May 24, 2020
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Area: AUT/DEV; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Samantha Bergmann (University of North Texas )
CE Instructor: Samantha Bergmann, Ph.D.

The assessment and intervention of social behavior are often relevant to many individuals with whom behavior analysts work. Curricula and literature may guide behavior analysts who embark on this task; however, there is much room for refined analyses to identify appropriate goals and reinforcers which maintain social behavior. Also, more research is needed on the methods of instruction that facilitate generalization of social behavior to interactions with peers. First, Hood, Beauchesne, Fahmie, and Aquino will present data from a descriptive assessment of behaviors that occur during one-on-one conversations between friends who are adults of typical development and present without social deficits. Next, Clubb, Toussaint, Bergmann, Rodriguez, and Sanchez will describe how preference for items affects sharing and the consequences, identified via functional analyses, which reinforce sharing. Finally, McKeown, Luczynski, Lauvetz, and Lehardy will extend the research on the Preschool Life Skills curriculum by targeting prosocial skills to promote friendship and assessing generalization to same-aged peers. The topographies of social behavior, conditions under which it may occur, and the consequences which reinforce social behavior will be discussed. Implications of findings for research and practice will be incorporated throughout the symposium.

Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts

Learning Objectives: Attendees will list the behaviors observed during conversation with adults of typical development and explain why normative data are valuable to clinical practice and research. Attendees will describe a functional analysis metholodolgy extended to sharing; in particular, attendees will be able to list the conditions evaluated. Attendees will describe the training components used to teach children prosocial behaviors.
A Descriptive Assessment of Conversational Skills
Stephanie A. Hood (California State University, Northridge), Britany Marie Beauchesne (California State University, Northridge), Tara A. Fahmie (California State University, Northridge), SYLVIA AQUINO (California State University, Northridge)
Abstract: Descriptive assessments are necessary to begin scientific inquiry to novel or complex relations. These data establish a foundation for subsequent experimental analyses. All participants were typically developing and had no presenting social deficits. The purpose of the present study was to assess conversational skills of neurotypical adults across three conversational contexts: 1:1 with a friend, 1:1 with a novel conversation partner, and in group conversations (total of 960 mins). We expanded the number of skills that were included and obtained repeated measures to assess the variability within and across participants. Individuals in 1:1 conversation were in speaking and listening roles for 40-60% of the conversation. As a speaker, individuals engaged in eye gaze for 50-80% of the conversation as compared to 75-95% as a listener. On average individuals asked one question per min and only 20% of the questions were to initiate a new topic. Individuals changed the topic less than once per min and discussed each topic with seven exchanges on average. Giving compliments was an overall low frequency behavior, but individuals were more likely to give a compliment to a novel individual. These data may inform clinical practice and set a foundation for further scientific inquiry.

An Evaluation of Variables That Contribute to Sharing in Children With Autism

COURTNEY CLUBB (University of North Texas; Kristin Farmer Autism Center), Karen A. Toussaint (University of North Texas), Samantha Bergmann (University of North Texas ), Aaron Sanchez (University of North Texas), Rebecca Rodriguez (University of North Texas; Kristin Farmer Autism Center), Jared T Armshaw (University of North Texas; Kristin Farmer Autism Center)

Individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have deficits in prosocial behaviors, such as sharing. However, research on assessing and teaching sharing is relatively limited. The purpose of the current research is to extend the previous research on sharing by evaluating environmental variables that may influence sharing. First, we evaluated if the latency to sharing is altered by a child's engagement with high vs. low-preference items. Next, we evaluated the contingencies that evoke and maintain sharing through a functional analysis. Functional analyses have traditionally been used to identify the function of maladaptive behavior. However, we have extended this assessment process to identifying the function of sharing behavior as the maintaining consequence is frequently presumed to be social attention. Our findings suggest that children with autism emit longer latencies to sharing if they are engaged with a high-preference item. In addition, results of the functional analyses suggest that this methodological approach is relevant to understanding sharing, and results suggest that sharing is often maintained by attention for preschoolers with and without autism. Collectively, these findings advance our understanding of when sharing is likely to occur and may inform methods of how to functionally teach sharing to individuals with ASD.

Evaluating the Generality of the Prosocial Skills Taught in Preschool Life Skills Friendship Unit
CIOBHA ANNE MCKEOWN (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute ), Kevin C. Luczynski (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Caleb Lauvetz (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Robert K. Lehardy (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute)
Abstract: In an effort to decrease problem behavior and increase early friendship skills, Hanley, Heal, Tiger, and Ingvarsson (2007) developed the Preschool Life Skills curriculum. In comparison to the units related to decreasing problem behavior, modest outcomes were achieved within the friendship unit. The goal of this project was threefold: (a) extend the features of the prosocial skills taught within the friendship unit, (b) evaluate the necessity of supplemental reinforcement in the acquisition of the targeted skills, and (c) evaluate the generality of our outcomes to same-aged peers. Using a multiple-probe design, we taught four preschool-aged children, with and without disabilities, five prosocial skills in a one-to-one format. Skills were taught using behavioral skills training during unstructured play with highly preferred toys. We observed high levels of performance across all the children, and three children required supplemental reinforcement to acquire one to four of the skills. However, when evaluating the generality of the skills to same-aged peers, the children exhibited zero to low rates of the prosocial skills. Additional treatment components (e.g., rules, feedback) were necessary to observe satisfactory performance of the prosocial skills with the peer. We discuss considerations in teaching and evaluating the durability of prosocial skills.



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