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 #234
Sensor Technology and the Scope and Precision of Applied Behavior Analysis
Sunday, May 24, 2020
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Area: CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Brennan Patrick Armshaw (UNT)

In its broadest sense, Applied Behavior Analysis involves the management of behavior-environment relations or contingencies of reinforcement in the interest of producing socially-relevant behavior change. These contingencies of reinforcement, then, are the tools by which applied behavior analysts effect meaningful change. Developments in sensor technology have the potential to increase the precision, scope, and temporal resolution of our measurement of both behavior and environment. As such, these technologies can aid in expanding the scope and precision of applied behavior analysis. The presentations that comprise this symposium highlight the utility of technology in the implementation of contingency management techniques to produce health related behavior change. The first presentation will describe how camera and sensor technology enhances the feasibility and scalability of a smoking cessation program. The second examines the efficacy of different schedules of reinforcement on the properties of muscle flexion responses as measured by a surface electromyograph. The final presentation will present data from laboratory analyses and clinical protocols designed to improve the timeline and efficacy of physical rehabilitation.


mMotiv8: A Smart Phone Based Incentive Intervention to Promote Smoking Cessation

LESLEIGH ANN STINSON (University of Florida), Hypatia A Bolivar (University of Florida), Mendoza Tonatiuh (UF), Francois Modave (Loyola University Chicago ), Pulkit Rohilla (UF), Jesse Dallery (University of Florida)

Tobacco use is the greatest preventable cause of death, cancer and illness in the United States. We tested the feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of a mobile phone-based contingency management treatment to promote cessation. Participants (n=14) provided breath carbon monoxide samples by using an inexpensive CO meter that was connected to the user’s smartphone. We developed an app, mMotiv8, to automatically capture pictures of the CO sampling procedure to validate the end user’s identity. If the participant was abstinent for three consecutive weeks, the monitoring schedule decreased to once per day, and reset to twice per day if they missed a sample or lapsed. Samples were prompted twice (or once) per day by the mMotiv8 software. A relatively large $10 incentive was available for daily abstinence. We used a non-concurrent multiple-baseline design. Results show that the program generated high rates of abstinence for most participants (9 out of 14). Adherence was high, and participants reported that the procedures were acceptable. A mobile phone intervention could be highly scalable and reduce the health consequences and costs associated with cigarette smoking, particularly in rural and low-income populations.

Using Conjugate Reinforcement to Improve the Activity of the Vastus Medialis Oblique Muscle
ROB J GOODHUE (UNT), Brennan Patrick Armshaw (UNT), Russell Silguero (UNT), Manish Vaidya (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Over 30 million adults are diagnosed with osteoarthritis yearly, a disease known for intense pain and limitation of movement. Knee osteoarthritis is one of the most common variants, frequently leading to total knee replacement surgery. Recovery from total knee replacement is difficult and often unsuccessful. Physical therapy is sometimes effective, but many patients still experience quality of life deficits years later. In such clinical settings, contingent feedback can be impossible to deliver due to miniscule muscular responses being imperceptible to the eye. Using surface electromyography technology, contingency management, and schedules of reinforcement, applied behavior analysts could greatly benefit patients recovering from total knee replacement. While behavior change is typically based on frequency, it is magnitude and duration, or work, of muscle flexion that are important for clinical outcomes. As such, conjugate schedules of reinforcement were experimentally tested. These schedules may be crucial to understanding magnitude and/or duration behavior change. Various modalities of feedback were compared, such as a game, numerical readouts, and auditory tones, across conjugate and discrete schedules. Smartphone applications were used with college students as participants. Results indicate that higher response magnitudes over time were observed on schedules of reinforcement with a conjugate component.
Contingency Management and Technology: Tackling Problems in Behavioral Medicine and Moving Beyond the Status Quo
BRENNAN PATRICK ARMSHAW (UNT), Manish Vaidya (University of North Texas), Russell Silguero (UNT)
Abstract: In the United States nearly 3.5 million adults, annually, are electing to receive total knee arthroplasty (TKA) (Kutz et al, 2007). TKA addresses the damage and pain caused by knee osteoarthritis (KOA). However, it also creates the need for effective physical rehabilitation without which patients will not regain full functional utility of the knee. Unfortunately, despite receiving physical therapy, notable functional deficits remain for nearly 50% of patients up to a year following TKA. Work in our lab has begun to address this problem by investigating and developing contingency management procedures that are supplemented with technology. The current work presents data from several completed and ongoing projects from our lab and describes the process of bringing behavior analytic techniques and technology to bear on medical problems such as recovery from TKA. The data described represent methodological exploration with 19 healthy undergraduate students (figure 1 & 2) and clinical work with 3 patients recovering from TKA. The findings from our current research support the utility of technology infused contingency management as a means of supplementing patient feedback and optimizing recovery outcomes.



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