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.


11th International Conference; Dublin, Ireland; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #58
CE Offered: BACB
Translational Investigations of Resurgence and Renewal
Friday, September 2, 2022
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Meeting Level 2; Wicklow Hall 2B
Area: EAB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Kathryn M. Kestner (West Virginia University)
CE Instructor: Kathryn M. Kestner, Ph.D.
Abstract: Behavioral relapse in the form of resurgence and renewal poses a significant barrier for practitioners achieving sustainable outcomes of behavior analytic interventions (e.g., maintaining desirable behavior change following interventions aimed at reducing challenging behavior and increasing appropriate alternatives). Translational laboratory research provides a useful venue for researchers to investigate various forms of relapse to inform applied research and practice. The presenters in this symposium will discuss data-based evaluations from laboratory studies with human and nonhuman subjects on resurgence and/or renewal. The presenters will highlight implications for future research and clinical practice related to mitigation techniques, the conditions under which relapse occurs with varying procedural variables and intervention components, and laboratory arrangements that are analogous to clinical experiences that may be well-suited for expanding our understanding of these forms of behavior relapse.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Maintenance, Relapse, Renewal, Resurgence
Target Audience: Participants should have a foundational understanding of differential reinforcement and extinction as they relate to resurgence and renewal and their relevance to applied research and practice.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Describe the utility of lag schedules for mitigating resurgence and renewal; (2) Compare and contrast nonsequential renewal arrangements in ABA and ABC procedures and describe findings related to sequential vs. inconsequential arrangments as far as the magnitude of renewal; (3) describe potential benefits of procedures using differential reinforcement of asymmetrical choice options with and without extinction and implications related to renewal.
Human-Operant Renewal Following Differential Reinforcement of Asymmetrical Choice Options with and without Extinction
(Basic Research)
KACEY RENEE FINCH (West Virginia University), Kathryn M. Kestner (West Virginia University)
Abstract: Renewal is the relapse of a previously reduced response following a change in context. Renewal is commonly assessed following extinction or differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA); however, interventions employing extinction may result in negative side effects. The current study investigated renewal following differential reinforcement of asymmetrical choice options with and without extinction. Participants completed a 3-phase renewal arrangement via a computer task and earned points for clicking on three circles that moved across the screen. In Phase 1, only the target response was reinforced with one point in Context A (arranged according to the background color of the screen). In the presence of Context B in Phase 2, one alternative response was reinforced with three points and another resulted in five points. One group of participants experienced extinction for the target response in Phase 2, and target responses continued to produce one point for the other group. In Phase 3, the same reinforcement contingencies from Phase 2 were maintained, and the context returned to Context A. The results suggest renewal occurs following differential reinforcement with multiple alternative response options with and without extinction. We will discuss observed patterns of responding with and without extinction and implications for clinical practice.
Evaluating Lag Schedules as a Relapse-Mitigation Technique
(Basic Research)
EMILY KATRINA UNHOLZ-BOWDEN (University of Minnesota), Rebecca Kolb (University of Minnesota ), Jennifer J. McComas (University of Minnesota)
Abstract: Interventions related to differential reinforcement (DR) are among the most frequently used within the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA). However, certain conditions can inhibit the level at which effects of these interventions maintain over time or generalize across contexts. This can result in the relapse, or recurrence of the interfering behavior the interventions aim to decrease. The purpose of this basic study is to identify effective methods for attenuating both the resurgence and renewal of a previously taught response put on extinction and for promoting the persistence and generalization of alternative responses with university students using a computer program. Using three experiments, we evaluated the effects of delivering Lag reinforcement for multiple alternative responses, reinforcement in multiple contexts, and both in combination, on the relapse of a previously extinguished operant response and on the persistence and generalization of alternative responses. Based on preliminary data, Lag reinforcement in multiple contexts appeared to be the most effective in attenuating resurgence of the extinguished response. There were no significant differences in levels of renewal across the three experiments. Further analysis is to be determined. The current study can inform future directions for applied resurgence and renewal.
Evaluating Nonsequentual Renewal in Rats and Humans
(Basic Research)
BRIANNA SARNO (West Virginia University), Katherine Cucinotta (West Virginia University ), Kathryn M. Kestner (West Virginia University)
Abstract: Most laboratory experiments employ a sequential arrangement in which each phase is confined to a single context (i.e., Phase 1 in Context A, Phase 2 in Context B, and Phase 3 in Context A). Nonsequential renewal is an alternative approach in which contexts A and B alternate in the behavior-reduction phase, which may be more representative of the patterns of context experience in many clinical situations (Sullivan et al., 2018). The purpose of Experiment 1 was to evaluate renewal in rats with a nonsequential and sequential arrangement. Renewal was greater in the group of subjects who experienced the nonsequential arrangement. Experiment 2 evaluated renewal of target responding in a nonsequential arrangement with college students in a human-operant arrangement. Target responses were reinforced with points during the baseline phase (Context A). During Phase 2, components alternated between baseline conditions in Context A and extinction of target responses in Context B. In many cases, renewal was observed in the test phase in which the target response remained on extinction in Context A or Context C. We propose that future research should explore renewal-mitigation techniques using non-sequential arrangements due to their similarity to clinical arrangement.



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