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

Program by : Saturday, May 23, 2020


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Panel #21
CE Offered: BACB
Who’s Afraid of the IRB? A Framework for Conducting Meaningful, Ethical Research in Applied Settings
Saturday, May 23, 2020
10:00 AM–10:50 AM EDT
Virtual
Area: AUT/OBM; Domain: Translational
CE Instructor: Gina T. Chang, Ph.D.
Chair: Gina T. Chang (Autism Learning Partners)
MARK R. DIXON (Southern Illinois University)
KRISTINE RODRIGUEZ (Autism Learning Partners)
CODY JOHNS (ALP)
Abstract:

Behavior Analysts in the applied setting have a unique opportunity to contribute to a robust literature base by providing replication of existing best practices, and by evaluating treatment models rooted in behavior analytic literature. We are compelled by our ethical code (and our funding sources) to continue to disseminate evidence that Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an effective treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder. The call to disseminate, combined with the opportunity of capturing progress in real-world settings, is a powerful argument for conducting meaningful applied research. In practice, there are numerous potential hurdles to conducting quality applied research. This panel will propose an approach for creating infrastructure to support in-house research initiatives, as well as strategies for implementation within the time and resource constraints faced by practicing Behavior Analysts. Additionally, the panelists will review the benefits of mentorship and collaboration between academics and practitioners, as well as self-reported benefits to clinicians who participate in research efforts in the applied setting.

Target Audience:

Behavior Analysts

Learning Objectives: Participants will be able to identify 3 benefits to a mentorship collaboration with an academic research advisor. Participants will be able to identify 3 organizational processes to support ethical, compliant research efforts, including process for IRB application. Participants will be able to design measurement systems for staff engagement.
 
 
Symposium #25
CE Offered: BACB
Correspondence Between Relational Responding and Bidirectional Naming as a Verbal Developmental Cusp
Saturday, May 23, 2020
10:00 AM–10:50 AM EDT
Virtual
Area: DEV/EAB; Domain: Translational
Chair: R. Douglas Greer (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences)
Discussant: Dermot Barnes-Holmes (Ghent University)
CE Instructor: Dermot Barnes-Holmes, Ph.D.
Abstract:

Growing evidence suggests complementary findings in research on verbal development and relational responding. A large body of research in relational responding demonstrates stimulus control involving complex human behavior and communication including language. Simultaneously, decades of research findings in verbal development and applications identified stimulus control for the range of cusps and how this changes children’s prognosis. This program of research suggests experiential and reinforcement sources of stimulus control that lead to incidental language learning as bidirectional naming (BiN) and the component unidirectional naming (UniN). Another body of research on BiN increasingly points to the presence of BiN as a facilitator of relational responding. We present and discuss two papers whose findings show correlational and functional relations between the presence of and onset of the BiN cusp and arbitrary derived relations (AAR). Each body of research represents extensions of behavior analysis to domains traditionally seen as exclusive properties of cognitive psychology. Findings showing the intercept of stimulus control for these lines of investigation are evidence of a more mature science that promises a bright future for the science of behavior.  

Target Audience:

Intermediate level, behavior scientists,

Learning Objectives: 1. Describe how bidirectional naming is a verbal developmental cusp. 2. Describe the relation between bidirectional naming and other relational frames. 3. Describe how bidirectional naming appears to be a predictor of AAR.
 

Relations Between the Cusp of Bidirectional Naming and Derived Relations in Preschoolers

GEORGETTE MORGAN (Columbia University; Fred S. Keller School), R. Douglas Greer (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences)
Abstract:

Bidirectional Naming and derived relational responding have both commonly been used to explain the accelerated rate in word learning that often occurs within the second to third year of life. However, there has been limited research on how these repertoires may intersect and relate to each other. Across two analyses we evaluated the relation between Bidirectional Naming (BiN) and derived relational responding demonstrated by 31 preschool students with and without diagnoses. Within the first experiment we tested the presence and strength of relations between BiN, arbitrary and non-arbitrary relations which were mutually and combinatorial entailed. Data from the first analysis indicated a strong, significant correlation between participants’ degree of BiN and scores on tests of derived relations. The second analysis compared the mean differences between the establishment of arbitrary unimodal and cross-modal relations for 18 preschool students, selected from participants included within Experiment 1. The data indicated a significant difference for both cross-modal and unimodal derived relations. The obtained results of both experiments have implications for research in how Bidirectional Naming and derived relational responding may lead to learning at accelerated rates and in new ways.

 
Degrees of Bidirectional Naming and Derived Listener and Speaker Relations
FAHEEMA ABDOOL-GHANY (Columbia University and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences), Daniel Mark Fienup (Teachers College, Columbia University)
Abstract: As a child develops new cusps and capabilities, their behavior comes in contact with new contingencies and they can learn in new ways. We examined how degrees of bidirectional (BiN) naming correlated with children’s other derived relations. BiN is the joining of listener and speaker repertoires such that hearing object-name relations produces corresponding speaker and listener behavior. Unidirectional naming (UniN) occurs when this experience produces listener, but not speaker behavior. Students who did not demonstrate listener and speaker components of were classified as having No Incidental Naming (NiN). In an ABAB design, we rotated between two conditions: 1) directly reinforcing speaker (tact) responses and testing for the emergence of listener (point to) responses, and 2) directly reinforcing listener responses and testing for the emergence of speaker responses. Results suggested that participants with BiN readily derived speaker and listener responses, participants with UniN readily derived listener, but not speaker responses, and participants with NiN had difficulty acquiring directly reinforced responses and deriving responses. Our results suggest ways to differentiate instruction for children with different capabilities and have implications for the overlap between verbal behavior and derived relations research areas.
 
 
Symposium #27
CE Offered: BACB
The Effects of Lag Schedules and Teacher Presentation Rates on Academic, Play, and Social Behavior of Children With Autism
Saturday, May 23, 2020
10:00 AM–11:50 AM EDT
Virtual
Area: AUT/EAB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Juliana Aguilar (Utah State University)
Discussant: Matthew Tincani (Temple University)
CE Instructor: Matthew Tincani, M.S.
Abstract:

This symposium involves studies investigating the effects of lag schedules and teacher presentation rates on academic, play, and social behavior of children with autism. The first presentation will discuss using a lag schedule to teach variable play behavior in preschoolers with autism, and assessing preference for variable or repetitive play. The second presentation will discuss using fixed and varied instructional arrangements to establish varied intraverbal responses. The third presentation will discuss the role of intertrial intervals of instruction presentation on skill acquisition and rates of problem behavior. The final presentation will discuss skill acquisition and problem behavior rates during two different intertrial intervals of instruction presentation, as well as student preference for instruction presentation rate. The discussant will provide comments on each of these studies.

Target Audience:

BACBs, graduate students, researchers

 

Choice for Variability in Children With Autism

ANNIE GALIZIO (Utah State University), Thomas S. Higbee (Utah State University), Sara Peck (Utah State University), Lorraine A Becerra (University of Missouri), Jay Hinnenkamp (Utah State University), Amy Odum (Utah State University)
Abstract:

Although individuals with autism tend to behave repetitively, certain reinforcement contingencies (e.g., lag schedules) can be used to increase and maintain behavioral variability. In a lag schedule, reinforcement is only delivered for responses that differ from recent responses. We designed the present study to promote variable play behavior in preschoolers with autism interacting with playsets and figurines, and to assess preference for variability and repetition contingencies. Limited data have shown a preference for variability in pigeons and college students, but this effect has not yet been explored in clinical populations. In this experiment, three preschoolers with autism were taught to discriminate between variability and repetition contingencies. With one set of discriminative stimuli, only play behaviors that met a lag schedule were reinforced, and with another, only repetitive play behaviors were reinforced. After differential performance was established, participants were presented with a choice between the two sets of stimuli, and participants completed a play session with the corresponding contingency. Two participants showed a slight preference for variability over repetition, and the other showed indifference. These results indicate that some individuals with autism play repetitively, not because they prefer repetitive play, but because they would require additional teaching to play variably.

 
Evaluating the Effects of Instructional Arrangements Involving Lag Schedules on Varied and Different Intraverbals
VICTORIA L VERGONA (Caldwell University), Ruth M. DeBar (Caldwell University), Kenneth F. Reeve (Caldwell University), Jaime DeQuinzio (Alpine Learning Group), Lauren Alicia Goodwyn (Caldwell University)
Abstract: Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often exhibit language deficits including stilted and repetitive speech. These challenges may be stigmatizing and interfere with socialization. Promoting varied and different responses remains an important area of focus. Lag schedules of reinforcement have been shown to increase response variability across a range of skills including intraverbal responses. Few studies have assessed the effects of instructional arrangements on variability. We extended research by assessing the effectiveness of teaching responses to non-mastered intraverbals in a fixed- or variable-order on varied and different responding by children with ASD using an adapted alternating treatments design. After acquiring six responses to a single intraverbal, the effects of lag schedules were evaluated. The fixed-order arrangement was slightly more effective and efficient compared to the varied-order instruction arrangement on establishing varied and different intraverbal responses. Procedures were favorably ranked and outcomes were reported as socially valid. Implications and areas of future research will be discussed.
 

Intertrial Intervals as an Independent Variable in Teaching Students With Autism

WILLOW HOZELLA (Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network), Chrystal Jansz Rieken (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Annette Griffith (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract:

Research on the importance of antecedent variables when teaching persons with autism has the potential to provide pragmatic methodologies for the applied setting. This study replicated and extended the work of Roxburgh and Carbone (2013) on the effects of the rate of teacher-presented instructional demands as an independent variable. An alternating treatment design was used to evaluate the effects of the rate of teacher presented instructional demands across three intertrial intervals (1 s, 5 s, 10 s). Dependent variables were frequency of problem behavior, frequency of teaching trials for target skills, frequency of error responses, frequency of mastered skills presented, and rates of reinforcement during discrete trial instruction with four students with autism. Results indicated that reduction of intertrial intervals resulted in a commensurate increase in rates of socially mediated positive reinforcement, increased rates of instructor presented teaching trials, and a decrease in frequency of problem behavior. Issues related to the importance of replication, the role of translational research in applied settings, and conceptual analyses of the role of motivating operation on the occurrence of problem behavior will also discussed.

 

The Effects of Two Teacher Presentation Rates on Responding During Easy and Hard Tasks for Children at Risk for or With Autism Spectrum Disorder

ZIWEI XU (INGCare), Hui Yin ( N/A), Tangchen Li (Ohio State University)
Abstract:

This study was a partial replication and an extension of Roxburgh and Carbone (2012). The purpose of the study was three-fold. First, we evaluated the effects of varied teacher-presented instructional demands (inter trial interval = 1s, 5s) on the opportunities of respond, the number of responses emitted, percentage of correct responses, and percentage of intervals with disruptive behavior for three children with autism. Second, we compared the effects of varied teacher presentation rates on responding, especially the accuracy of responding and occurrences of disruptive behavior during easy and hard tasks. Third, we used a concurrent-chain procedure to assess participant preferences for teacher presentation rates during easy tasks. An alternating treatment embedded in ABAB without baseline design was used to compare the effects of the two treatment conditions (inter trial interval = 1s, 5s) and two task conditions (easy and hard). The results of the study demonstrated that as compared to extended intertrial interval (ITI), brief ITI increased the rate of instructional demands presented, rate of learner responses emitted, and rate of correct responding during both tasks while increasing percentage of correct responding and reducing problem behaviors during hard tasks only. During easy tasks, the participants’ choices between two rates were inconsistent, suggesting avoidance contingency might have been in effect.

 
 
Symposium #28
Humor, Brains, and Video Games: The Many Ways to Link Physiology With Basic and Rehabilitative Behavioral Paradigms
Saturday, May 23, 2020
10:00 AM–11:50 AM EDT
Virtual
Area: BPN/EAB; Domain: Translational
Chair: April M. Becker (University of North Texas; University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center)
Discussant: Christina Nord (University of Lethbridge)
Abstract:

Neuroscience constitutes a branch of the biological sciences that is easily integrated with Behavior Analysis in several ways, including direct analysis of neural signals in behavioral experiments, the use of behavioral approaches to help rewire the brain and improve lost skills after brain injury, and theoretical integration of biological measures and neurological events into the behavioral paradigm. This symposium will present varied basic, applied, and theoretical work in the Neuro-operant realm currently conducted at the University of North Texas in association with the Beatrice H. Barrett Endowment for Research in Neuro-Operant Relations. Two basic talks will integrate physiological, neurological, and behavioral data into an analysis of covertly mediated stimulus equivalence, and into an examination of humor responses. An applied project will show the results of using a Wii gaming system to improve rehabilitation of balance deficits after brain injury. Finally, the divide between stimulus and response when considering events occurring inside the skin will be considered on a theoretical and practical level.

 

Use of a Virtual Reality Gaming System to Improve Balance in Individuals With Chronic Stroke

SELENA CRUZ (University of North Texas), Stephon Primus (University of North Texas), April M. Becker (University of North Texas; University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center)
Abstract:

The Wii Fit U game utilizes a Wii Balance Board™ (WBB) that provides precise feedback contingencies, thereby potentially increasing the dose of quality therapy with or without the presence of a therapist during post-stroke rehabilitation. Additionally, an engaging video-game could improve treatment adherence, a critical aspect of making progress, by potentially increasing the rate and quality of reinforcement embedded in therapy. The present study has three aims: 1) Develop a behaviorally rigorous therapy for improving balance in chronic stroke victims using the Wii Fit U and WBB; 2) Evaluate the program’s effects on Berg Balance Scale (BBS) and Center of Balance (COB) scores using a within-subject experimental design; 3) Assess social validity of behavioral gains by evaluating the program’s effects on participant’s "subjective balance confidence" (i.e., their Activities-Specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scores). A reversal design is used wherein the experimental gameplay condition and no intervention condition are alternated for 6 to 10 weeks. It is expected that participants will exhibit greater performance in the game as well as better BBS and COB score improvement when the Wii Fit U game is administered at a high therapeutic dose, and that increased ABC scores will correlate with improved BBS and COB scores.

 

Stimulus Equivalence Formation, Covert Verbal Behavior, and the Role of Compatible and Incompatible Responses

ELIZABETH LOVITZ (University of North Texas), Daniele Ortu (University of North Texas)
Abstract:

While the descriptive understanding of stimulus equivalence is widely accepted within the field of behavior analysis, its interpretation is more contentious. The emergence of reflexivity, symmetry, and transitivity without direct reinforcement of the responses that make up these relations is puzzling in light of our basic understanding of reinforcement contingencies. The present study explores the role of covert verbal behavior in the emergence of equivalence relations in an arbitrary matching to sample task using participants recruited from the general population, as well as college students. Participants engage in a computerized matching to sample task with arbitrary stimuli under three different conditions. Baseline consists of matching to sample training of four conditional discriminations using arbitrary stimuli yielding two, three-member equivalence classes and tests for the resulting symmetry, transitivity and equivalence relations. The order of the two experimental phases is counterbalanced across participants and these phases consist of one of two conditions, engaging in behavior that was either compatible with covert verbal behavior or incompatible with covert verbal behavior concurrently with the tests for equivalence. A final phase consists of a return to baseline. Behavioral data collection is ongoing and EEG data collection will follow to assess N400 response changes across conditions.

 
A Neurobehavioral Analysis of Humor Responses
EDWARD BRANDON AMEZQUITA (University of North Texas), Daniele Ortu (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Laughter and humor responses in general are a crucial part of human behavior. However, compared to other examples of human behavior, they have received relatively little attention from the scientific community and by the behavior analytic community in particular. The purpose of this study is to assess what are the controlling variables for humans to emit a laugh or humor response. We compare behavioral and physiological (EEG, GSR, and Eye Muscles) responses to the presentation of sentences that either end with a putative punchline or not. There are five total responses in this experiment : An initiation response delivers the first word of a joke, a delivery response presents the next word of a joke, a punchline delivery response presents the punchline to the joke, and finally the termination responses ends the trial with a self-report response of “not funny” or “funny”. The number of sentences is kept constant across the joke and non-joke conditions, and presentation of jokes and non-jokes is randomized across trials. Participants will be college students who are first language English speakers. Data collection is ongoing and results will be interpreted within the framework of the basic literature on priming, N400 responses and intraverbal control.
 
Towards a Natural Line of Fracture Between Behavior and Environment: Climbing Out of the Pigeonhole of the Skin on the Other Side
APRIL M. BECKER (University of North Texas; University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center)
Abstract: Behavior analysis has successfully built a science on the study of environment-behavior relations. While it has long been acknowledged that the skin constitutes an arbitrary and potentially misleading structural divide between these two phenomena, the search for a more functional distinction deserves further exploration. This talk will start from the radical behaviorist standpoint that covert behavior is not different in kind from overt and is distinguished merely via technology-related thresholds enabling multi-observer measurement. We will discuss strategies for differentiating events that occur inside the skin, which new technology has placed squarely in the prevue of direct measurement, and distinguishing them as part of either stimulation or response. Such events include endogenous or exogenous chemicals administered locally or via general circulation, neural activation (including receptor activation, early processing, integration, premotor, and motor stages), artificial neural activation, various avenues of internal sensation, proprioceptive and automatic response-produced feedback, and more. Various mutually exclusive approaches to the question will be considered along with their practical implications for the behavior of the scientist and thus the advancement of the science.
 
 
Symposium #34
CE Offered: BACB — 
Ethics
A Flat Earth or Behavioral Full Worldview: The Need for Behavior Analysts to Rely Upon the Fundamentals of Our Science
Saturday, May 23, 2020
10:00 AM–11:50 AM EDT
Virtual
Area: PCH/TBA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Jonathan W. Ivy (The Pennsylvania State University - Harrisburg )
Discussant: Shawn P. Quigley (Melmark)
CE Instructor: Jonathan W. Ivy, Ph.D.
Abstract:

As access to information increases with internet searches and almost instantaneous global communication, behavior analysts become exposed to a wide-variety of perspectives and strategies for treatment implementation. This exposure can cause behavior analysts’ worldview to shift from applying the theoretical foundations of behavioral science to incorporating other worldviews (e.g., mentalistic, non-scientifically supported theories) into their clinical practice. Some behavior analysts have confused the technologies of behavior analysis (e.g., curricula, assessments, etc.) for behavior analysis itself or have not adopted a behavioral worldview. “If this were a theoretical issue only, we should have no cause for alarm; but theories affect practice… Confusion in theory means confusion in practice” (Skinner, p. 9, 1968). This symposium, which includes four presentations and a discussion, will examine the variables that impact the shift to or away from a behavior analytic "worldview", the necessity for incorporating a behavioral worldview into ethical practice, and the impact for not utilizing a behavioral worldview.

Target Audience:

Practicing behavior analysts, students of behavior analysis, clinical supervisors.

Learning Objectives: 1) Define worldview and adequately describe the behavioral worldview. 2) State the impact of philosophical coursework on the evolution of worldview. 3) Differentiate between a “point-and-click behaviorist” and a “world view behaviorist”. 4) Differentiate between an open and closed worldview, and why the former is more likely to lead to scientific advancement than the latter.
 

One Worldview to Rule Them All

Ronald Leaf (Autism Partnership), THOMAS ZANE (University of Kansas), Mary Jane Weiss (Endicott College), Justin B. Leaf (Autism Partnership Foundation), Joseph H. Cihon (Autism Partnership Foundation; Endicott College)
Abstract:

A worldview is the lens through which we look and make sense of the world. A worldview constructs the foundation of what we believe, and dictates how we explain, assess, and deal with the phenomena of interest. Behavior analysts, through their training, are exposed to and supposedly embrace the worldview of behaviorism and all that that means, such as adherence to scientific attitude and practice, that informs our assessment and treatment of behavior. However, there is accumulating evidence that behavior analysts are using and supporting treatments and interventions that are not based upon the behavior-analytic worldview or conceptualization of behavior. Such practice hurts consumers, hurts our field, and demonstrates ethical disarray on the part of the behavior analyst. Behavior analysts have an ethical and practical responsibility to adhere only to behaviorism as their worldview and behave according to only its tenets and philosophy.

 
Can a Science of Teaching Teach a Scientific Worldview?
KIMBERLY MARSHALL (CCSN: Center for Independence; Endicott College)
Abstract: It is evident that the concepts and principles of behavior analysis are well defined. However, it is less evident that behavior analysts have a thorough understanding of the philosophy of their science. Despite the wealth of resources available and coursework requirements in philosophy, it has been demonstrated that many behavior analysts do not hold a behavior analytic worldview (Bailey & Burch, 2016; Oliver, Pratt, & Normand, 2015; Schreck, Karunaratne, Zane, & Wilford, 2016). A worldview, the standpoint through which one interprets their environment, influences treatment choice and the quality of intervention that clients receive. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board®, has announced upcoming changes that will hopefully improve adherence to a behavior analytic worldview, including revised course content requirements to include 90 hours on the philosophical underpinnings of behavior analysis with the implementation of the 5th Edition Task List in 2022 (BACB, 2017b). Consequently, research into the effectiveness of coursework targeted at teaching the philosophical underpinnings of applied behavior analysis in teaching a behavior analytic worldview grounded in a philosophy of science is necessary and timely. Preliminary data will be presented on the impact of philosophical coursework on the evolution of worldview in students of behavior analysis, and the results will be discussed with regard to additional training interventions.
 

The Point-and-Click Behaviorist or a Behavioral World View Behaviorist: Where is Our Field Heading?

KIMBERLY A. SCHRECK (Penn State Harrisburg), Jonathan W. Ivy (The Pennsylvania State University - Harrisburg )
Abstract:

Despite ethical requirements that behavior analysts function under a behavioral world view, it appears that some behavior analysts have adapted more of a conspiracy theory – flat earth world view not based upon our science. In fact, evidence indicates that some behavior analysts believe that the behavioral world view only applies to specific populations and age groups – not the full earth. This may be due to a lack of understanding and application of the fundamental philosophy of the science or an over-reliance on marketing behavioral analysis to specific populations and commercialized guides as easy to use as a point-and-click google search. Marketing may have been appropriately conducted to disseminate to the public behavior analysis’ effectiveness for specific populations, it may have marketed too well – changing behavior analysts’ world view. Although curriculum and guides initially may have been appropriately developed to assist behavior analysts, but not replace the fundamental applications of the science, the over reliance on their simplicity may be replacing the comprehensive understanding and use of the behavioral world view and application of such. Without a thorough understanding and application of a comprehensive behavioral worldview, behavior analysts may evolve into superficial and unethical, point-and-click behavioral technicians and not analysts.

 

CANCELED: If You Want to Have a Worldview, You Probably Should Get Out to See the World

JAMES T. TODD (Eastern Michigan University)
Abstract:

Until recently, it would have been typical to find behavior analysts trained in or at least heavily exposed to other fields of psychology, and other fields altogether. Because they had seen other things they had good reason to understand the conceptual advantages of the radical behaviorist worldview. Now we have behavior analysts trained entirely in dedicated applied behavior analysis programs, increasingly taught by people with similar training, using a largely proscribed syllabus, seeing little or nothing apart from what will be helpful for successfully remediating a fairly narrow range of behavior problems in a fairly narrow range of the population. That is, they might know a lot about certain kinds of contingencies, but they probably do not know about behavior as a general matter, its range and richness, full of things we cannot begin to explain (and hardly ever try to). That is, their worldview will not be so much about behavior generally, but about those things that their contingencies can encompass and do something about. Radical behaviorism, the philosophy of a science, will be replaced by “radical proceduralism,” the philosophy of a profession. An open worldview designed to broaden inquiry risks being replaced by a closed worldview, one focused on just those things it can deal with, falsely confident it has all the answers because it only knows to ask certain kinds of questions.

 
 
Invited Symposium #40A
CE Offered: BACB
Beyond the Daily Numbers and Headlines: COVID-19 and Behavior Analysts’ Call to Action
Saturday, May 23, 2020
11:00 AM–11:50 AM EDT
Virtual
Domain: Translational
Chair: Peter R. Killeen (Arizona State University)
CE Instructor: Peter R. Killeen, Ph.D.
Abstract:

This symposium gathers elements of what has been learned so far in a variety of areas of behavioral inquiry about the spread of the novel coronavirus and the effects of COVID-19. Because many of the phrases in our new lexicon—“social distancing,” “flattening the curve”—are calls to emit a particular set of behaviors (hand-washing, mask wearing) and to avoid others (proximity to others, face touching), with reinforcers conditional on group behavior (reduction in cases reported), behavior analysts are well suited to help inform our global responses. Papers in this symposium will cover diverse and interlocking topics: (1) how the pandemic has affected service delivery, and how behavior analysts can use telehealth ethically and effectively; (2) the necessity of looking beyond the proximal influences on mortality, such as pre-existing conditions and age, to those of harmful contextual conditions of disadvantaged populations; (3) behavioral economic methods to study social isolation decisions amidst different public health messages; and (4) the importance of behavior-based safety protocols that take into account current contingencies and limitations of training systems. The discussant will provide comments on each paper and highlight the links among them.

Instruction Level: Basic
 

Pandemic Preparedness in the Field of Applied Behavior Analysis

JULIE KORNACK (Center for Autism and Related Disorders)
Abstract:

In the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, ABA providers have been recognized as essential workers who are not subject to emergency shelter-at-home directives. This recognition has challenged behavior analysts to redesign treatment models to minimize the spread of the virus while also minimizing disruption to medically necessary services. As a result of federal and state guidance to insurance carriers to authorize telehealth for services that would otherwise be authorized for in-person treatment, ABA providers have had the option to shift their in-person models to telehealth, and behavior technicians are, for the first time, permitted to deliver 1:1 ABA remotely. The adoption of a telehealth model by both providers and families has been met with varying degrees of enthusiasm and success. The decision by some providers to continue home-based services or keep centers open has sparked discussions about ethics and revealed the need for clear guidance. As experts in shaping behavior, ABA providers have a critical role to play in minimizing spread of the virus by identifying, disseminating, and implementing best practices. With the integration of health and safety protocols into center-based practices and an effort to maintain telehealth options, ABA providers will be positioned to apply the lessons of COVID-19 to future events and preserve access to ABA in times of crisis.

 

A Behavioral Economic Perspective on Social Distancing Amidst a Global Pandemic

DEREK D. REED (University of Kansas), Justin Charles Strickland (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Fernanda Suemi Oda (The University of Kansas)
Abstract:

The linchpin of COVID-19 mitigation has been social distancing (staying at least 2 m away from others, refraining from large gatherings). This tactic places human behavior squarely in the center of slowing the spread. Unfortunately, the rapid nature of this virus made proper behavioral analysis of social distancing nearly impossible for several reasons: 1) Acquiring steady-state responding is long and arduous. 2) Employing proper within-subject design considerations requires extended baselines for some individuals, reversals of policy potentially placing the public at substantial health risk, or manipulating experimental policies in rapid alternation. 3) Direct observation of social distancing is difficult, infeasible, and potentially unethical. However, contemporary behavioral economic research has generated hypothetical decision tasks to safely and swiftly assess behavior that is difficult to observe, risky, and/or ethically-challenging to study via prototypical operant methods. Backed by decades of operant study, behavioral economists evolved delay discounting and operant demand methods to safely proxy public health crises such as safe sexual practices, the opioid epidemic, and illicit drug trade. Rigorous validation methods suggest participant responses on such tasks significantly relate to actual/overt human responses. Toward this end, we adapted behavioral economic methods to safely surveil how a crowdsourced sample of adults would make social isolation decisions amidst different public health messages. Results suggest small but significant effects in favor of strategic messaging. Translated to potential population-level outcomes, these small effects have the potential to prevent the spread of infectious disease to a large portion of the population, and thereby help save lives.

 

A Specific BBS Protocol to be Used as a Template or Guideline for the Restart of Production Activities and Health Institutions Under COVID-19 Contingencies

FABIO TOSOLIN (A.A.R.B.A. - Association for the Advancement of Radical Behavior Analysis)
Abstract:

Appropriate application of hygiene focused behaviors is the essential component that can make a change in today’s uncertain environment, where we suffer from the risks of COVID-19 infection and often feel powerless. Behavior Based Safety (B-BS) seems to be the only evidence-based method that ensures both high levels of production and high frequency and accuracy of prevention behavior. However, some aspects of the classic BBS process do not seem suitable for the current needs: presentations to managers, trade unions and workers, the constitution of a management team, the establishment and activities of a project group plus the training of observers and safety leaders take months before the start and further weeks before achieving a significant growth, indicating an acceptable success. Unlike the usual BBS processes, these long times and rituals would result in a huge risk for the infection to spread. Hence, late successes in terms of behavior would not be as successful in terms of results. A B-BS protocol that specifically focuses on COVID-19 situation has been developed in order to: a) be largely prepared in advance, b) allow the start of the process in just 4 days, c) provide an accurate measurement through bi-daily observations and, d) get the ultra-rapid ascent of the performance curves within 10 days from the start of the process. The protocol does not only focus on the appropriate implementation of the health requirements determined by companies and hospitals, but it also highlights the importance of when such behaviors actually need to be adopted in order to guarantee safety to individuals. Furthermore, through the adoption of specific checklist as templates and the daily/weekly supervision by a single skilled Behavior Analyst, it is possible to comply with all the scientific principles of BBS but transferred to new intervention technologies. Some insights will also be presented on whether to develop a superordinate system to verify the correct application of the protocol and its results, suitable by public institutions, downstream of a consensus conference of the scientific community on the guidelines to be suggested.

 
 
Symposium #43
CE Offered: BACB
Approaches to Assessment and Treatment of Unique Presenting Concerns in Clinical Settings
Saturday, May 23, 2020
11:00 AM–12:50 PM EDT
Virtual
Area: AUT; Domain: Translational
Chair: Chathuri Illapperuma (University of Nebraska-Medical Center; Munroe Meyer Institute; Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders)
Discussant: Tracy L. Kettering (Bancroft)
CE Instructor: Tracy L. Kettering, Ph.D.
Abstract:

In this symposium we provide a discussion of unique presenting concerns and clinical evaluations in clinic settings. The first two papers address schedule thinning considerations functional communication training (FCT). The study by Smith and colleagues evaluates a comparison of a compound schedules of reinforcement involving discriminative stimuli (e.g., multiple or chained schedules, Greer et al., 2016) or within the context of probabilistic, progressive-delay schedules (e.g., contingency-based progressive-delay schedule, Ghaemmaghami et al., 2016) and the relative efficacy of these two methods during schedule thinning for individuals with severe challenging behavior. Similarly, the study by Salvatore and colleagues investigates the efficiency and preference for alternative activities during schedule thinning within FCT. Garcia and Wunderlich extend the work of Edgerton and Wine (2017) by using a function-based treatment to increase appropriate voice volume responses. Last, another unique study by Weber and colleagues implemented an adaptation of the Good Behavior Game with a sibling dyad to decrease destructive behavior. Dr. Tracy Kettering will provide comments on navigating challenges presented by adaptations of assessment and treatment to address unique cases in a clinical setting.

Target Audience:

Behavioral specialists Graduate Students Practitioners

Learning Objectives: 1. Attendees will be able to distinguish between chained, multiple, and probabilistic thinning schedules. 2. Attendees will be able to identify unique presenting functions and function- based treatment for voice-volume behaviors. 3. Attendees will be able to identify adaptations of the Good Behavior Game to decrease destructive behaviors in a sibling dyad.
 
A Comparative Analysis of Procedures to Teach Delay Tolerance
Katherine Brown (Utah State University), Reagan Gaynor (University of Nebraska Omaha), Amanda Zangrillo (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute), SEAN SMITH (University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Abstract: Reinforcement schedule thinning, or delay tolerance training, is necessary to make functional communication training (FCT) an effective treatment in naturalistic contexts (Hagopian, Boelter, & Jarmolowicz, 2011). Delay tolerance training is often implemented within the context of a compound schedule of reinforcement involving discriminative stimuli (e.g., multiple or chained schedules, Greer et al., 2016) or within the context of a probabilistic, progressive-delay schedule (e.g., contingency-based progressive-delay schedule, Ghaemmaghami et al., 2016). The purpose of this experiment was to evaluate the relative efficacy of these two methods of delay tolerance training procedures for three individuals referred to a clinic for the assessment and treatment of destructive behavior. First, we conducted a functional analysis and successfully implemented FCT. Next, we conducted a comparative analysis of compound schedules and probabilistic, progressive-delay schedules for teaching delay tolerance within an alternating treatments design. The results showed that the rates of destructive behavior did not differ significantly across the two delay tolerance strategies, however, maintenance of correct FCRs was better in the compound schedule condition for two participants. Results will be discussed in terms of the duration of exposure to establishing operations maintaining destructive behavior and the potential limiting conditions of each strategy.
 

Efficiency and Preference for Alternative Activities During Schedule Thinning With Functional Communication Training

GIOVANNA SALVATORE (Rowan University), Christina Simmons (Rowan University), Kimberly Ford (Rowan University)
Abstract:

Functional communication training (FCT) is an effective treatment for decreasing socially-reinforced destructive behavior (Carr & Durand, 1985). Multiple schedules are frequently used to thin the reinforcement schedule during FCT (Hanley et al., 2001). An extinction burst is possible with each schedule thinning step, contributing to slow treatment progress. In clinical practice, individuals are often expected to sit and wait during periods of restricted access to functional reinforcers; however, in the natural environment, they generally do not wait without alternative items/activities available. Ten children referred for treatment of destructive behavior participated in this study. Therapists conducted functional analyses and taught participants a functional communication response to access functional reinforcers. Therapists implemented a multiple schedule during schedule thinning, comparing a control condition (nothing available during S-delta intervals) to separate conditions with embedded items/activities during S-delta intervals (moderately preferred tangible items, attention, demands). After reaching the terminal schedule in at least one condition, therapists assessed participant preference across S-delta conditions. For 80% of participants, the terminal schedule was only reached with alternative items/activities. All participants demonstrated preference for alternative items/activities and therapists indicated preference for conducting these sessions. For 6 participants, we simultaneously targeted an escape function during the S-delta condition including demands.

 

An Experimental Analysis of Voice Volume for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

ARTURO GARCIA (Rollins College), Kara L. Wunderlich (Rollins College)
Abstract:

Inappropriate prosodic production is often observed, but rarely treated, communication skill deficit for individuals with autism. Few studies have evaluated the acoustic characteristics of prosody in children with ASD, and obtaining a pragmatic measurement of their conversational skills is typically limited to parent and teacher report measures. In one exception in the research, a previous study by Edgerton and Wine (2017) implemented an intervention for shaping the conversational speech volume of an intellectually disabled participant. Expanding on the previous literature, we conducted a functional analysis of the voice volume responses (VVR) of two children with ASD utilizing similar procedures to those from Edgerton and Wine. Further, we evaluated the efficacy of using a function-based treatment, in conjunction with the visual feedback from the app, to increase appropriate VVR. Results of the evaluation, as well as implications for the treatment of inappropriate voice volume and other prosodic behaviors, will be discussed.

 
Effects of the Good Behavior Game with Siblings
Katherine Brown (Utah State University), Reagan Gaynor (University of Nebraska Omaha), Amanda Zangrillo (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute), JESSIE WEBER (University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute)
Abstract: With the increased prevalence of developmental disorders, the genetic loading associated with many developmental disorders (e.g., autism spectrum disorder; Bertrand et al., 2001), and the comorbidity between developmental disorders and destructive behavior (Matson & Rivet, 2009), practitioners are likely to encounter families with multiple children who engage in destructive behavior. To date, few studies have examined the use of behavior-analytic treatments to simultaneously treat the destructive behavior of siblings. The present study evaluated the use of the good behavior game, a behavior group contingency intervention, to decrease destructive behavior engaged in by two siblings. Procedural integrity data was also collected in an outpatient and home setting to evaluate the feasibility of the treatment. Results showed a decrease in both participants’ rates of destructive behavior to near-zero levels.
 
 
Symposium #44
CE Offered: BACB
Behavior Analysis and Crime: Smuggling, Killing, and Justice Systems
Saturday, May 23, 2020
11:00 AM–12:50 PM EDT
Virtual
Area: CSS; Domain: Translational
Discussant: Mark A. Mattaini (Jane Addams College of Social Work-University of Illinois at Chicago)
CE Instructor: Mark A. Mattaini, Ph.D.
Abstract:

Criminal behavior is a broad, socially significant problem that affects many individuals and wider communities across the world. For example, in America, mass shootings occur on average 334 times per year, and smuggling activities contribute towards acts of terrorism which cause devastation and costs countries billions to manage. A factor that can increase the likelihood of a person committing criminal activity is a previous learning history with crime, and operant behaviors with which it is associated. If conceptualized behaviorally, environmental factors and functional relations maintaining criminal repertoires could be addressed pragmatically and effectively. The possible applications of behavior analysis to criminal activity are broad-ranging, and we will present the application of the science in a port setting to analyze and explore behaviors of interest, explore behavioral skills training for active shooting scenarios, present a behavioral conceptualization of mass killings, and research the use of behavior analysis in criminal justice systems. Although the applications presented in this symposium are diverse, they represent an attempt to understand criminal behaviors, and how these can be manipulated or changed with behavior analysis.

Target Audience:

Any individual who wants to learn more on a new dissemination topic Those in behavior analysis with interest in expanding into their communities

Learning Objectives: Audience members will learn about another potential route of dissemination of behavior analysis. Audience members can describe potential steps to take if in an active shooter scenario. Audience members can discuss issues of social validity and how behavior analysis can have an impact.
 

CANCELED: Evaluating the Effect of Specialist Detection Dogs Presence in Ports

EMMA WILLIAMS (Bangor University), Rebecca A Sharp (Bangor University), Gareth Harvey (Bangor University, North Wales, UK )
Abstract:

There is little research on the effectiveness of specialist dogs as a deterrent against smuggling in ports. Smuggling is a covert behavior, and therefore unlikely to be able to be observed or measured directly. Similarly, the use of dogs as a deterrent requires a measure of not current behavior, but future behavior, which means that the behavior and antecedent are temporally distant and the relationship between them difficult to determine. We used an alternating treatments design to measure a proxy behavior; how people respond to the presence of a dog. We observed passengers in a port when a police officer was present, a police officer with an unmarked specialist dog was present, and a police officer with specialist dog wearing a high visibility jacket was present. We found that when the salience of the dog was increased (i.e., it was wearing a coat) more people engaged in behaviors such as looking at the dog, talking to it, or changed direction when they saw it. Although these data do not measure smuggling behavior directly, our study represents a first attempt to evaluate empirically the possibility that dogs are discriminative stimuli for the punishment of smuggling behavior in ports.

 

Behavioral Skills Training for Active Shooter Scenarios: Human Service

JACQUELINE NOTO (Florida Institute of Technology), Katie Nicholson (Florida Institute of Technology), Sandhya Rajagopal (Florida Institute of Technology), James Arnold Riswick-Estelle (Florida Institute of Technology), Nicholas Weatherly (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract:

Active shooter scenarios have become increasingly prevalent in school and healthcare settings. Unfortunately, little information is available on training for active shooter scenarios when a staff member is also responsible for a client. Previous research suggests that around 75% of individuals freeze across a variety of emergency situations. Through training, it is likely this freezing will decrease. Behavioral skills training has been shown to be an effective way to train safety skills in prior research. We found that behavioral skills training was more effective than an informational video at increasing correct responses to three different active shooter scenarios among three behavioral clinicians. Responding was also assessed for generalization to novel antecedent stimuli for the conditions of run, hide, and fight. All participants generalized after one or fewer sessions. Furthermore, responding maintained over a 2 week period at 83% correct responding or higher. These findings may impact how active shooter training is conducted specifically in terms of needed active participation of the learner.

 
Extending Behavior Analysis to Active Shootings: A Conceptual Analysis
JAMES NICHOLSON MEINDL (The University of Memphis), Jonathan W. Ivy (The Pennsylvania State University - Harrisburg ), Mason Baughmann (Pennsylvania State University - Harrisburg), Amanda Hammer (Pennsylvania State University - Harrisburg)
Abstract: Active shooting events are unfortunately all too common in the United States. Statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation indicate that between 2000 and 2018 there were 277 active shooter incidents resulting in 884 deaths and 1,546 wounded casualties. Further, there appears to be an increasing trend across time in both number of incidents and casualties. When an active shooting event occurs the typical response is to either propose physically preventing future shootings (e.g., restrict access to guns; provide enhanced security) or to suggest the cause is a mental health disorder. Far less frequently discussed are accounts to explain how the shooter came to engage in the destructive behavior. This talk will describe the currently popular explanations of active shooters and identify the limitations of those traditional accounts. A more behavioral perspective of active shooters/mass killers will then be detailed. Finally, the advantages of this behavioral approach for both researchers and interventionists will be described, as will the inherent challenges to a behavioral account of active shootings.
 
The Application and Dissemination of ABA to the Civil and Criminal Justice Systems
TIMOTHY TEMPLIN (HABA)
Abstract: Applied Behavior Analysis is a field that has served many different areas and assisted many individuals and families in need. In addition, it has also been of benefit to businesses and organizations with Organizational Behavior Management programs. Many new areas from diet and fitness to industrial safety have sought solutions from a behavioral point of view. The criminal justice field has grappled with identification, management of incarceration, probation and parole, recidivism and numerous other problems directly related to behavior change. Among the areas where both fields (criminal justice and behavior analysis) converge are: domestic violence prevention, competency to stand trial programs, juvenile justice, preventing suicide in the correctional system, the stopping of mass violence and rehabilitation. Articles written on these subject matters have included the prevention of abduction for adults and children with disabilities (2010, 2013 and 2014), trial contingency management in a drug court (2008) and sex offender assessment (2006, 2014 and 2017), reducing prison misconduct (2006), and the elimination of domestic violence (1995 and 2008) as well as other pertinent topics. In this discussion, the different ways that behavior analysis could be of benefit to this very human area are examined, and suggestions are made regarding how to disseminate our knowledge to one of our most vexing social problems: crime and delinquency.
 
 
Symposium #55
CE Offered: BACB
Behavioral Laboratory Research on Components of Acceptance and Commitment Training
Saturday, May 23, 2020
12:00 PM–12:50 PM EDT
Virtual
Area: CBM/EAB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Jonathan J. Tarbox (University of Southern California; FirstSteps for Kids)
Discussant: Jonathan J. Tarbox (University of Southern California; FirstSteps for Kids)
CE Instructor: Jonathan J. Tarbox, Ph.D.
Abstract:

The effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) is supported by over 300 randomized controlled trials. ACT was developed on the basis of behavior analytic principles but most previous research has been in the context of psychotherapy interventions. More research is needed on the basic mechanisms responsible for behavior change within ACT. This symposium brings together two laboratory studies that examine components of ACT, from a relational frame theory perspective. The first presentation, by Barbara Gil-Luciano, consists of a study that evaluated the effects of two different defusion strategies on lab measures of rumination and memory. The second presentation, by Jorge Ruiz-Sanchez, examines the effects of a rule-governed behavior protocol on experimentally induced fear and avoidance.

Target Audience:

Behavior analysts

Learning Objectives: Attendees will be able to describe rule-governed behavior motivative procedures to for decreasing avoidance responding in the presence of feared stimuli. Attendees will be able to describe how relational frame theory can be used to analyze private verbal responses and stimuli and their role in rumination. Attendees will be able to describe the radical behavioral philosophical basis for addressing private events in the science of behavior analysis.
 

Promoting Rumination and Analyzing the Differential Effect of Defusion Protocols on a Memory Task

BARBARA GIL-LUCIANO (Universidad Nebrija & MICPSY, Madrid), Tatiana Calderon (Konrad Lorenz, Colombia), Daniel Tovar (Konrad Lorenz, Colombia), Beatriz Sebastian (Universidad Almería, Spain), Francisco Ruiz (Konrad Lorenz, Colombia)
Abstract:

Psychological inflexibility is made of distinct reactions that are oriented to lessen distress. In this sense, worry and rumination (RNT) are strategies that seem to be common denominators in many psychological disorders. Cutting-edge RFT approach suggests that both strategies are triggered by framing thoughts in hierarchical relations. This study had two parts. Firstly, we explored such a hierarchical organization of thoughts with two ruminative induction procedures, analyzing their impact on a memory task. Secondly, we examined the differential effect of two defusion protocols that aimed to alter the discriminative avoidant functions of triggers for RNTand a control condition.Results suggest that inducting RNT with stronger triggers (thoughts at the top of the hierarchy, or “big ones”, that symbolically contain or are inclusive of weaker thoughts or triggers) showed a more negative effect in the task performance than inducting RNT with less stronger triggers. Results also indicate that participants that were intervened with the defusion protocol that specifically containedhierarchical cues to reduce the discriminative avoidant functions of triggers for RNTshowed a better performance at post-test, in comparison with participants that received a defusion protocol that only contained deictic cues, and with a control condition. Results also informed that, when promoting a hierarchical relation between the individual (deictic I) and his or herstronger triggerfor RNT, the level of concentration was higher at post-test than when targeting an individual’s less stronger trigger – all triggers being related.Clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

 

Analyzing the Impact of a Higher-Order Motivative Protocol (Values) on Experimentally Induced Fear and Avoidance Responding

L. JORGE RUIZ-SANCHEZ (University of Almería), Carmen Luciano Soriano (University Almería, Spain)
Abstract:

Defusion and values-based protocols are built of interactions that involve responding under the overarching motivative functions, as higher-order establishing operations, while integrating rules-driven emotive functions present at the moment. The present study aims to analyze the impact of a higher-order motivate protocol (values) on experimentally induced fear responding. Firstly, 55 participants underwent an aversively conditioned task where non-avoidance was followed by shocks and noises, whereas a black screen followed avoidance responding. Next, participants randomly received one of three protocols: (a), conditional motivative protocol, which involved a conditional relation between non-avoidance and earning money; (b), as (a) plus adding a higher-order function for non-avoidance (conditional + higher-order motivative protocol). And (c), the same as previous but only a higher-order function was included (higher-order motivative protocol). Lastly, participants repeated the experimental task. Results show that the conditional motivative protocol has little impact on avoidance behavior, whereas higher-order motivative protocols suppress completely avoidance behavior, even in the presence of elicited fear responses.

 
 
Symposium #56
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission On the Frontiers of Social Justice in Applied Behavior Analysis: Emerging Discourses
Saturday, May 23, 2020
12:00 PM–12:50 PM EDT
Virtual
Area: CSS/EDC; Domain: Translational
Chair: Malika Pritchett (University of North Texas)
CE Instructor: Malika Pritchett, M.S.
Abstract:

Social justice can be defined as the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges to promote fair and just relations. Although behavior analysts’ efforts towards social justice can be traced back to the late 1980s, analyses of the movements are still in their infancies. The current symposium will consist of three presentations directed at the promotion of social justice within the field. First, an analysis of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis will be provided to discuss inherent power imbalances between behavior-analytic researchers and human research subjects. Recommendations to diffuse such power will be approached from the perspectives of collaboration and cultural humility. Next, findings will be presented on the presence of Latina professors teaching in educational programs accredited through the Association for Behavior Analysis International. To date, researchers have not examined racial and ethnic identities of professors in the academy, which is necessary if diversity and equity is truly being targeted. Barriers to gathering such data will be discussed, in addition to the proposal of solutions to sustain diversity and equity within the field. Finally, an approach to increase social justice narratives will be described. The approach will discuss the importance of taking perspectives of others experiencing social injustice, which is foundational towards ensuring the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges for all.

Target Audience:

Behavior-analytic researchers, behavior-analytic faculty, students in behavior analysis, behavior analysts

 
Diversity submission Coloniality of Power and the Science of Applied Behavior Analysis: A Conceptual and Descriptive Analysis of Human Subject Research Practices
MALIKA PRITCHETT (University of North Texas), Shahla Susan Ala'i (University of North Texas), Josef Harris (University of North Texas), Melody Jones (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Humans are research subjects in behavioral sciences. The researcher’s main responsibility is the protection of human research subjects. Power imbalances are inherent within the researcher-subject relationship which establishes the researcher as the dominant knowledge seeking authority and the subject as the subordinate target of research, often times in need of protection. The science of behavior analysis was born in a Western hegemonic context which sustains and perpetuates dichotomous research relationships. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the scientific discipline dedicated to solving problems of utmost human significance. However, inherent tensions between the scientific agenda of the academy and the use of vulnerable human research subjects, establishes competing contingencies which threaten equality and collaboration. An analysis of publication trends in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis provides a platform to discuss the underlying motivating factors and trends through the decades. This analysis provides insight to the degree to which Applied Behavior Analytic research has been reflective of the status quo or a catalyst for social reform. Thoughtful recommendations on research methodologies are presented to promote the progression of the science through the neutralization of power imbalances and diffusion of power. These methods are rooted in collaboration and cultural humility.
 
Diversity submission 

Missing Identities: Who is Participating in Behavior Analytic Higher Education?

NATALIA BAIRES (Southern Illinois University), Sebastian Garcia-Zambrano (Southern Illinois University), Darwin S Koch (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract:

Increasing diversity and equity has recently gained momentum in behavior analysis. In the previous five years, data have supported significant progress in the presence of women in our discipline (Nosik, Luke, & Carr, 2018; Li, Curiel, Pritchard, & Poling, 2018), including the creation of the Women in Behavior Analysis conference (Sundberg, Zoder-Martell, & Cox, 2019). Despite these accomplishments, there is a lack of information regarding the racial and ethnic identities of behavior analysts, which should be considered when promoting diversity and equity. With Latinxs (a gender-neutral term) growing in the U.S., the number of Latinx behavior analysts is likely to increase. Although there are more women than men at the ranks of assistant and associate professor in programs accredited through the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI; Li, Gravina, Pritchard, & Poling, 2019), it is unknown how many Latina professors there are, which has great implications for the training and mentoring of future behavior analysts who come from similar backgrounds. In addition to presenting data on Latina professors teaching in ABAI-accredited programs, the current presentation will also discuss the barriers encountered when identifying such individuals. Moreover, viable solutions that can create change will be proposed, including the development of networks to provide coherent support to Latinas interested in pursuing higher education and the establishment of outlets for research related to sustaining diversity and equity.

 
Diversity submission 

CANCELED: Shifting Perspectives: A Social Justice Program Description

GABRIELLE MORRIS (University of North Texas), Emily Perez (University of North Texas), Shahla Susan Ala'i (University of North Texas), April Bass (University of North Texas), Alicia Re Cruz (University of North Texas)
Abstract:

We live in a world of increasingly apparent social disparities. Tensions around these issues can be confusing and uncomfortable. Humans are easily able to see things from their own perspective, but struggle with the perspective of the “other”. If they are able to expand and shift perspective, they may be better able to understand and witness different lived experiences. Media offers a platform for examining social justices and injustice with some degree of detachment and allows exposure to multiple situations and events. Groups that are composed of people with different perspectives and are able to view media together, may increase perspective taking of each individual in the group and build appreciation for the unique insights offered by the individual group members. Such groups can be directed to build narratives that are grounded in social justice. This presentation will describe an approach for increasing social justice narratives through the use of media and a collective shaping process. Two examples of this approach will be described with accompanying media. The first example will focus on equity based intimate partner relationships. Following, the second example will focus on solidarity within hegemonic societal relationships. Both examples will address the varying power dynamics, indicators of relation types, and self-reflective observations.

 
 
Symposium #57
CE Offered: BACB
Offering Clients Choice of Instructional Strategy and Behavior Reduction Parameters With Concurrent Operant and Concurrent Chain Procedures
Saturday, May 23, 2020
12:00 PM–12:50 PM EDT
Virtual
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Translational
Chair: Amanda Mahoney (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology )
Discussant: Kathryn M. Kestner (West Virginia University)
CE Instructor: Kathryn M. Kestner, Ph.D.
Abstract:

Presenting choices to nonvocal and early verbal learners is frequently achieved by arranging concurrent choices wherein two or more stimuli are put in front of the learner with the prompt “choose.” The paired-stimulus preference assessment is one example of a paired-choice arrangement. Some choices, such as the choice of intervention or choice of music to listen to, present challenges as they cannot be easily represented by an item or icon. The first presentation will describe a concurrent chain procedure for offering choice between errorless instruction and error correction within the Picture Exchange Communication System and a receptive identification task. We will report data on the relative efficiency of these instructional strategies and client preference for instructional strategy. The second presentation will report the effects of presenting choice of music via an iPad on vocal stereotypy. Data will be reported on the effects of music- and song-level interactions. Our discussant, who has in-depth experience in basic and applied research on choice and concurrent operants, will then provide her comments and considerations.

Target Audience:

Board Certified Behavior Analysts and Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1) Define concurrent operant and concurrent chain procedures and describe recent applied studies utilizing these procedures 2) Describe a procedure for assessing client preference between these errorless learning and error correction strategies 3) Describe a procedure for applying concurrent choice arrangements to reduce vocal stereotypy
 
Assessing Client Preference for Errorless or Error Correction Procedures Within the Picture Exchange Communication System
DAVID BRIAN FAIRCHILD (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology ), Julie A. Ackerlund Brandt (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology ), Amanda Mahoney (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology )
Abstract: Following food and color preference assessments, we taught three children with autism to select a picture icon, place the icon on a strip, and deliver the strip to the experimenter in exchange for the backup food item as an early step in the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). Following paired stimulus preference assessments, two food items were taught using errorless learning procedures and two food items were taught using error correction procedures. Prior to each trial, the participant touched a color card to initiate the trial. During preference evaluation, both color cards were presented and the color selected initiated trials of the corresponding instruction type and food items. We ran preference assessments followed by receptive identification trials with arbitrary stimuli to test whether the selection response was controlled by motivating operations related to the food items. Preference for instructional strategy emerged for one of three participants and remained stable during receptive identification training. For two participants the instructional strategies were equally effective and efficient and for one participant neither strategy was effective. This study demonstrates a simple procedure that can be used to assess participant choice for instructional strategy without increasing training time or effort, but more research is needed.
 

Evaluation of a Concurrent Choice Arrangement for Music on Vocal Stereotypy in Children With Autism

BECCA YURE (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Susan D. Flynn (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract:

We conducted a preference assessment that included musical stimuli and, for those that selected music, we examined the effects of presenting musical stimuli via an iPad on sensory-maintained vocal stereotypy in three children with autism. Pressing an icon resulted in the corresponding song playing through headphones and the participant could change the song by pressing a different button at any time. Data were analyzed across condition type (music vs. no music) and song type. This intervention produced a reduction of vocal stereotypic behavior three of three participants, with socially significant decreases for at least one participant. Future research will be discussed to include the assessment of specific stimulation maintaining vocal stereotypy, competing stimulation, and the role of concurrent choice for substitutable reinforcers to treat automatically-maintained behavior.

 
 
Symposium #60
CE Offered: BACB
A Behavioral Approach to Teaching Writing Behaviors
Saturday, May 23, 2020
12:00 PM–12:50 PM EDT
Virtual
Area: EDC/VRB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Cameron Mittelman (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
CE Instructor: Cameron Mittelman, M.A.
Abstract:

Effective writing ability is arguably one of the most important skills an individual must acquire. Despite the crucial role of effective writing skills in today’s society, many individuals do not possess strong writing ability and do not consider themselves good writers, as only 27% of 12th grade students met the criteria for “Proficient” writing, while 21% of 12th grade students met the criteria for “Below Basic” writing (National Center for Education Statistics, 2011). This distribution is even more concerning for black and Hispanic students. These findings suggested that many individuals leaving the public secondary education system lack the skills required to successfully meet the writing demands of the workplace and of higher education. With that in mind, this symposium will demonstrate several ways in which behavior analytic methods may be used shape different aspects of the writing process. The first presentation will review an intervention package consisting of programmed instruction and rate-building to develop revision skills. The second presentation will examine the use of lag schedules to increase variable fictional writing with children with autism. The final presentation will present an integration of precision measurement, pinpointing, and multiple learning channel practice with mechanics exercises.

Target Audience:

The target audience for this symposium are behavior analysts, teachers, supervisors, and anyone else who is required to either develop written products or to review written products as apart of their job.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) pinpoint specific writing behaviors that may need to be developed; (2) describe fluency-based procedures for developing the pinpointed behaviors; (3) describe schedules of reinforcement that may maintained continued occurrence of the developed writing behaviors.
 
The Effects of Programmed Instruction and Fluency-Building on Writing Error Detection and Correction
CAMERON MITTELMAN (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract: The present study examined the effects of a three-component intervention package consisting of computer-delivered programmed instruction combined with fluency-based practice involving example and non-example discrimination along with non-example correction on participants’ ability to identify and correct to three different writing targets: passive voice, grammar errors, and inconcise writing. Using a multiple probe across writing targets experimental design, participants’ individually completed the three components of the intervention one at a time with revision probes occurring after each component. Results showed some variation across writing targets and across participants, but in general the intervention package resulted in improved revision ability as all four participants showed higher rates of correct revisions per minute after the three phases of the intervention when compared to baseline rates for all three of the writing targets. Furthermore, the achieved changes in revision accuracy showed clear maintenance over time for the majority of the writing targets for three of the four participants. However, the intervention package appeared to have mixed outcomes for the participants’ ability to revise their own writing, with only two of the four participants having fewer errors for all three writing targets on the generalization probe.
 
The Effects of LAG Schedules of Reinforcement on Fictional Writing
LAWRENCE PLATT (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract: Writing is used in numerous contexts from filling out a job application to taking standardized exams. Writing can also be used as an outlet for creative and imaginative ideas. Individuals with autism experience difficulty engaging in imaginative ideas (American Psychological Association, 2013). The literature on creative writing and increasing sentence variability with individuals with autism is limited. Lag schedules of reinforcement have been used to increase vocal variability (Esch, Esch, Love 2009), mand variability (Brodhead, Higbee, Gerencser & Akers 2016), and intraverbal repertoires (Contreras & Betz 2016). Lag schedules were extended in this study to look at variable fictional sentences with two children with autism using a multiple baseline across participants design. For one participant the Lag schedule condition resulted in almost 100% increase in novel sentences compared to the continuous schedule of reinforcement condition. For the other participant a 50% increase in novel sentences in the Lag schedule condition compared to the continuous schedule of reinforcement. Implications are that Lag schedules of reinforcement can be used to increase the novelty of responding.
 
Shaping Technical Writing With Precision Measurement
ADAM HOCKMAN (The Mechner Foundation)
Abstract:

Clear technical writing is critical for communicating complex information to professional and lay audiences. Due to a lack of instruction and practice, behavior analysts and researchers who venture beyond formulaic article writing are prone to structural and stylistic errors. Such writing patterns are noticeable and less desirable to some readers. In her technical writing course Writing Solutions for Behavior Analysts, Marilyn Gilbert introduced a series of Flags—stimuli that signal a particular situation in one’s writing that may need to be changed. The course helped students fluently identify and change Flags that make writing unclear, misleading, or unnecessary. When teaching stylistic writing, Gilbert employed an age-old copywork exercise or the rewriting of an exemplar text to shape an easy and approachable style that effectively communicates scientific information. Many successful writers, including Benjamin Franklin, have used the copywork exercise to improve overall and domain-specific writing (e.g., sales copy). This paper will present an integration of precision measurement, pinpointing, and multiple learning channel practice with Gilbert’s mechanics exercises (Flags) and an eyes/ears copywork approach to promote high-level writing among behavior analysts and other science writers.

 
 
Symposium #61
CE Offered: BACB/NASP
Reinforcing Positive Peer Reports via Group Contingencies: Effects of Tootling on Mean Behaviors and Recently Taught Social Skills
Saturday, May 23, 2020
12:00 PM–12:50 PM EDT
Virtual
Area: EDC/DEV; Domain: Translational
Chair: Shelby Wright (University of Tennessee)
CE Instructor: Shelby Wright, Ph.D.
Abstract:

Tootling interventions involve using interdependent group-oriented rewards to enhances student reports of classmates’ student-helping-student behaviors. Tootling has been shown to decease typical inappropriate classroom behaviors including out of seat behavior and calling out, but not antisocial behaviors. In Study I, a withdrawal design showed that tooting caused immediate decreases in antisocial behaviors (e.g., mean behaviors like name-calling). Researchers have not evaluated the effect of tootling on the behaviors which students are reporting. In Study II, social skills training was used to teach compliment-giving behavior, and during the tootling intervention rewards were delivered contingent upon peer reports of classmates’ giving compliments. Visual analysis of our A-B-A-B figures showed that the tootling intervention enhanced students compliment giving behavior, not just reports of compliment giving behavior, in a generalized setting. This behavior-specific tootling intervention enhanced compliment-giving behavior in a generalized setting. In Study III, a multiple baseline design was used to sequentially enhance three recently-taught social skills in a generalized setting. Discussion focuses on using tootling to reduce antisocial behaviors and promote generalization and maintenance of recently-taught social skills.

Target Audience:

Those who work in educational settings

Learning Objectives: Attendees will acquire an understand of how tootling can be used to decrease mean behaviors. Attendees will acquire an understanding of how tootling can be used to increase a recently taught social skill. Attendees will acquire an understanding of how tootling can supplement sequential social skills training.
 

Reducing Mean and Disrespectful Social Behaviors in Third Grade Students: Extending Research on Tootling

BAILEIGH KIRKPATRICK (The University of Tennessee), Shelby Wright (The University of Tennessee), Stephanie Daniels (University of Tennessee), Kala Taylor (University of Tennessee), Christopher Skinner (The Univesity of Tennessee), Merilee McCurdy (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), tara moore (The University of Tennessee)
Abstract:

The current study was designed to extend research on tootling interventions. Tootling involves reinforcing students’ reporting of their peers' incidental prosocial behaviors, specifically student-helping-student behaviors. Reinforcement is provided via the application interdependent group-oriented bonus rewards. While previous researchers reinforced the class contingent upon the number of tootles (i.e., peer reports of classmates’ student-helping-student behaviors), during the current study group rewards were delivered contingent upon the number of different students who received tootles. A withdrawal (A-B-A-B) design was used to determine if a tootling intervention decreased antisocial/disrespectful interactions of four, teacher-nominated students in an after-school, third-grade classroom. Visual analysis of a repeated measures graph and effect size estimates suggest that the tootling intervention decreased these interactions. Discussion focuses on the failure to maintain gains during the withdraw phase and future research designed to enhance and evaluate the generalizability of tootling interventions and the effects of similar interventions over time and across dependent variables.

 
Behavior Specific Tootling: Enhancing First-Grade Students’ Use of a Recently- Instructed Social Skill a Natural Social Setting
SHELBY WRIGHT (The Unviersity of Tennessee), Baileigh Kirkpatrick (The University of Tennessee), Stephanie Daniels (University of Tennessee), Christopher Skinner (The Univesity of Tennessee), Tara moore (the University of Tennessee), Merilee McCurdy (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
Abstract: Tootling interventions involve teaching students to report their classmates’ student-helping-student behaviors and reinforcing these reports, not the actual behavior, via interdependent group contingencies. Tootling has been shown to decrease disruptive classroom behaviors and enhance on-task behavior. The current study was designed to extend this research by teaching students to report classmates’ engagement in a recently taught social skill (giving compliments) and providing rewards contingent upon the number of peer reports of classmates giving compliments. The dependent variable was actual student compliment giving behavior. Thus, this was the first study where researchers measured the effect of tootling on the actual behavior that students reported. Results from our withdrawal design showed that the modified tootling intervention enhanced compliment giving in first-grade students in a setting and context that differed from the social skills training environment (i.e., while they were engaged in a small group math activity). Specifically, visual analysis of a repeated measures graph and effect size estimates suggest the intervention caused immediate, consistent, and meaningful increases in compliment-giving behavior while students engaged in small-group math activities. Discussion focuses on study limitations, future research, and the applied implications associated with supplementing social skills training with positive peer reporting.
 
Using Tootling to Sequentially Enhance and Maintain Multiple Social Skills in Natural Social Environments
Christopher Skinner (The Univesity of Tennessee), SHELBY WRIGHT (The University of Tennessee), Margaret Crewdson (the University of Tennessee)
Abstract: The current study was designed to extend research on combining social skills training with tootling to enhance student engagement in social skills in their natural social context. The intervention included an interdependent group contingency with randomly selected criteria which involved the class receiving rewards contingent upon students reporting classmates’ desired social behaviors. First reinforcement was delivered contingent upon reports of classmates’ compliment-giving. In subsequent phases peer reports classmates’ providing encouragement and saying thank you were added to the contingency but students did not know which of the peer-reporting target behaviors would be selected as criteria for reinforcement. Results from our multiple-baseline across-behavior design provide three demonstrations of a treatments effect. When peer-reports of each social skill were added to the contingency, the targeted social behavior increased. Discussion focuses on supplementing social skills training with tootling in order to enhance the probability of students engaging in social skills outside the social skills training context.
 
 
Symposium #62
CE Offered: BACB
Key Dimensions of Performance Feedback: From Literature to the Lab
Saturday, May 23, 2020
12:00 PM–12:50 PM EDT
Virtual
Area: OBM; Domain: Translational
Chair: Andressa Sleiman (Univeristy of Florida )
CE Instructor: Andressa Sleiman, M.A.
Abstract:

Performance feedback is one of the most common strategies employed in interventions within the field of organizational behavior management (OBM) and has been demonstrated to improve performance across a variety of settings and behaviors when used effectively. Despite its accumulation of empirical support overall, the key variables influencing feedback efficacy, maintenance, and treatment implementation require further evaluation. The presentations in this symposium seeks to further this evaluation by 1) providing an updated review on the existing evidence regarding the use of feedback in 75 articles published in the Journal of Organization Behavior Management from 1998 to 2018, 2) assess performer preference for feedback timing relative to task completion (e.g., after step, after trial, and after session), 3) and evaluate the effects of performer reactions to feedback on subsequent feedback delivery and observation accuracy. Each presentation will highlight the importance of identifying various feedback components as they relate to treatment efficacy and implementation. Implications for future research and the utilization of performance feedback in applied settings will be discussed.

Target Audience:

Open to all audiences.

Learning Objectives: After attending this symposium, attendees should be able accomplish the following: 1) outline the essential characteristics influencing feedback effectiveness identified in previous research 2) describe the relation between task completion and performer preference for feedback timing 3) explain the effects of performer reactions to feedback on observation and feedback accuracy.
 

An Objective Review of the Effectiveness and Essential Characteristics of Performance Feedback in Organizational Settings (1998-2018): An Update and Extension

ANDRESSA SLEIMAN (Univeristy of Florida ), Sigridur Soffia Sigurjonsdottir (Oslo Metropolitan University), Aud Kielland Elnes (Oslo Metropolitan University), Nicole Gravina (University of Florida)
Abstract:

In organizational behavior management (OBM), feedback can effectively increase and maintain performance across settings and target behaviors. Feedback has been extensively studied, being one of the most studied independent variables in the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management (JOBM). Alvero, Bucklin, and Austin (2001) conducted an objective review of the effectiveness and essential characteristics of performance feedback in organizational settings between 1985-1998. This talk will present an update and extension of the Alvero et al. (2001) review by summarizing the effective characteristics of feedback based on 75 articles that implemented feedback as an intervention in an applied setting that were published in JOBM, and in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA) between 1998 and 2018. Feedback effectiveness will be presented for the following characteristics: feedback source, feedback medium, feedback privacy, feedback participants, feedback frequency, the immediacy of feedback, feedback combinations (e.g., feedback + goal setting or feedback + incentives), and feedback nature (increase or decrease behavior).

 
Identifying the Relation Between Feedback Preferences and Performance
JANELLE KIRSTIE BACOTTI (University of Florida), Emma Grauerholz-Fisher (University of Florida), Samuel L. Morris (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)
Abstract: Performance feedback is a commonly used organizational behavior management (OBM) intervention (Gravina et al., 2018) that typically yields consistent effects (Alvero et al., 2001). Although feedback applications have varied, a noteworthy characteristic that might affect feedback effectiveness is timing (Lechermeier & Fassnacht, 2018). Prior research has used verbal report as an indicator of preference across immediate and delayed feedback (Reid & Parsons, 1996). Given the frequent use and practical utility of feedback, we assessed feedback preference across three feedback timing options: after step, after trial, and after session. We used a direct-selection paradigm to assess feedback timing preferences with undergraduate students completing two multistep computerized tasks. The data obtained suggest that most subjects shifted their preference from relatively proximal (e.g., after step) to distal feedback (e.g., after session) as they acquired the tasks. A few subjects’ preferences seemed unrelated to increases in performance. We discuss implications based on the current findings and future directions for research.
 

You Talking to Me?Effects of Performer Reactions on Observation and Feedback Accuracy

JESSICA A. NASTASI (University of Florida), Nicholas Matey (University of Florida), Andressa Sleiman (University of Florida ), Nicole Gravina (University of Florida)
Abstract:

Performance feedback can be a valuable tool for behavior change when used effectively. Despite its utility, delivering feedback may be aversive to the observer, affecting the accuracy of subsequent observations and feedback. A study conducted by Matey et al. (2019) evaluated the effects of required feedback delivery on observer accuracy and found that accuracy was lower when performance feedback was required compared to observation-alone, suggesting the performer’s reaction to feedback may be one variable influencing subsequent accuracy. The current study sought to evaluate the effects of feedback reaction-type on observer accuracy and feedback delivery. First, undergraduate students were randomly assigned to either positive, neutral, or negative reaction groups. Then, in phase one, participants were trained to score a confederate’s posture as either “safe” or “at-risk”. During phase two, participants were instructed to deliver feedback to the confederate after each session. The confederate reacted to this feedback differently depending on group assignment (i.e., positive, negative, or neutral). Preliminary results indicate observation accuracy in the negative-reaction group may be lower after feedback delivery compared to accuracy in the neutral-reaction and positive-reaction groups. Implications for these findings and suggestions for future research will be discussed.

 
 
Panel #79
PDS: Branching Out: Finding Success in Diverse Areas of Practice
Saturday, May 23, 2020
3:00 PM–3:50 PM EDT
Virtual
Area: AAB/DEV; Domain: Translational
Chair: Ronald J. Clark (Florida Institute of Technology)
CHRISTY A. ALLIGOOD (Disney's Animal Kingdom and University of Florida)
AMBER MARIE MARACCINI (Renown Health)
JANET S. TWYMAN (blast)
Abstract:

Behavior Analysis is a scientific approach that emphasizes environmental contingencies to solve a large array of problems. The field has continuously produced literature on evaluations and treatments that cover a multitude of issues. Although our field has support in many areas of practice, a considerable percentage of our applied applications focus on autism and developmental disability treatment. With an ever-growing field, the interest of those involved in behavior analysis is also seeing a large increase in variability. This panel aims at highlighting some of the novel applications of behavior analysis in diverse areas. The panelists will discuss some of their own experiences implementing behavior analysis in these areas and will provide time to answer questions from the audience. If you have interest in applying behavior analysis into novel areas, this panel aims to help provide insight into this process.

 
 
Symposium #82
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission Behavioral Economics and Verbal Behavior Mash-Up: Investigations of Broader Behavior Analytically-Rooted Societal Impacts
Saturday, May 23, 2020
3:00 PM–3:50 PM EDT
Virtual
Area: CSS/CBM; Domain: Translational
Chair: Victoria Diane Hutchinson (Saint Louis University)
CE Instructor: Victoria Diane Hutchinson, M.S.
Abstract:

The present symposium explores the ways in which verbal behavior and behavioral economics may shed light on some of the larger societal problems we face as humans. In the first presentation, we empirically explore RFT-based conceptualizations of gambling behavior beyond those of equivalence to frames of comparison and the ways in which those contextual variables (along with our own verbal behavior about them) may push around our behavior. Second, we'll address conceptually-cutting-edge perspective, wherein we propose different interventions for distinct repertoires within what we might broadly consider, impulsivity. Finally, we explore delay and social discounting within the context of climate change, and the need for modern behavior analysis to hold a seat at the table of discussions around sustainability initiatives.

Target Audience:

-intermediate-advanced

Learning Objectives: Describe how behavior science can contribute to solving complex social issues Identify self-rule formation through contextual control, in a gambling context. Attendees will be able to describe how different forms of impulsivity likely involve different behavioral repertoires and therefore will likely respond differently to different treatments
 
Diversity submission Derived Rule Following and Relational Framing in a Gambling Context
VANSHIKA GUPTA (Saint Louis University), Alyssa N. Wilson (Saint Louis University)
Abstract: Previous research on derived rule following has shown that participants will switch their response patterns following discrimination training, and will adhere to new rules established during training even contingencies do not match the new rules. However, this research has only included equivalence class formations. Therefore, the current study sought to replicate and extend this research to include relational frames of comparison (i.e., more/less than). During a slot machine task, three recreational gamblers wagered on one of two slot machines with equal payout rates, each identified by an arbitrary stimulus covering the payout rates. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three legs within a multiple-baseline design with predetermined phase lengths. Following baseline, participants completed a match-to-sample program where contextual cues of more/less than were paired with the arbitrary stimuli used on the slot machines. Tacting of participant’s self-rule was measured using a fill-in-the-blank and multiple choice test, before and after training. Following training, two participants altered their response options to play on the slot machine paired with the contextual cue of ‘more than’, and played less on the machine paired with the cue ‘less than’. Further, all three participants responded with 100% accuracy on the self-rule tests following training.
 
Diversity submission 

Behavioral Conceptual Analysis of Two Dimensions of Impulsivity: Impulsive Disinhibition Versus Impulsive Decision-Making

YI YANG (University of Southern California), Jonathan J. Tarbox (University of Southern California; FirstSteps for Kids)
Abstract:

Impulsivity is a multifaceted construct, including inability to wait, rapid action without forethought, and an inability to inhibit inappropriate behaviors. In behavior analytic research, impulsivity is often studied by examining choices between smaller-sooner reinforcers over larger-later reinforcers, as in delay discounting. However, researchers have begun to acknowledge what could be an important distinction, between ‘‘impulsive disinhibition,’’ e.g., Go/No-Go tasks, and ‘‘impulsive decision-making,’’ e.g., Delay-Discounting tasks (Reynolds, Ortengren, Richards and de Wit, 2006). This presentation will conduct a radical behavioral conceptual analysis of this distinction and identify the separate implications for both repertoires of behavior, both for studying them in the lab, and for application to socially significant behavior. In particular, it seems probable that different intervention procedures may work for addressing the two different repertoires. For example, present moment attention training may help individuals focus on moment-to-moment self-control, as in go/no go tasks, whereas values-based interventions may help individuals behave with respect to longer-term self-control tasks, such as delay discounting.

 
Diversity submission 

Delay Discounting and Social Discounting With Climate Change Policy Preference

CELESTE UNNERSTALL (Missouri State University ), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University)
Abstract:

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, considerable changes in human behavior are needed to curb the impacts of climate change. Current estimates suggest that we may reach the climate point of no return (PNR) by the year 2035 assuming a 2% increase in the relative rate of no emission consumption. We describe several studies conducted by our research lab from a Behavioral Economic and Relational Frame Theory synthetic framework that address preferences for policies that attempt to limit or constrain CO2 emissions by affecting human action. The first series of studies evaluate policy preference to delay PNR as analogous to monetary discounting of reinforcer loss. Results show that people discount high emission commodities similar to currency. Results also show that redistributive policies may generate greater policy support and willingness to forego high emission commodities in service of the value of climate change sustainability. The second series of studies extend this model by directly comparing policies developed by politicians seeking presidency in the upcoming US election, as well as embedding measures of social discounting. Results again support preference for redistributive policies and that policies that redistribute reinforcement locally are more likely to be accepted and produce greater willingness than policies that seek to redistribute reinforcement internationally. These series of studies speak to a need to inform policy with modern advances in applied behavior analysis.

 
 
Symposium #85
Assessing and Training Complex Behaviour (Classification and Analogy) Using Relational Frame Theory
Saturday, May 23, 2020
3:00 PM–3:50 PM EDT
Virtual
Area: VRB/EAB; Domain: Translational
Chair: John D. McElwee (Pennsylvania VB3)
Abstract:

Relational Frame Theory (RFT) argues that language and cognition may be explained in terms of derived (arbitrarily applicable) relational responding (also known as relational framing). Furthermore, RFT research has by now provided substantial evidence in favour of this thesis not least by modelling a number of arguably important areas of linguistic-cognitive functioning based on controlled laboratory demonstrations of this phenomenon. The present symposium includes data from a number of relatively recent RFT-based studies that illustrate this approach. Study 1 focused on training class inclusion responding as a key repertoire of classification, using a RFT approach in which class inclusion involves containment and comparison relations and their combination. Study 2 assessed acquisition of relational framing in young children using a novel RFT-based procedure, with a particular focus on the acquisition of analogical responding, conceptualised within RFT as the relating of derived relations. Study 3 involved a number of experiments to train analogical responding (i.e., relating derived relations) in young children using a multiple baseline across participants design.

 

Training Class Inclusion Responding in Individuals With Autism

SIRI MING (Private Practice), Patrycja Zagrabska (National University of Ireland, Galway), Teresa Mulhern (Carlow College, Ireland), Ian T. Stewart (National University of Ireland, Galway), John D. McElwee (Pennsylvania VB3)
Abstract:

Class inclusion requires responding to an item simultaneously as a member of both a class and a more inclusive class containing that class. For example, a child might be presented with pictures of several dogs and several cats, with more dogs than cats and asked, “Are there more dogs or more animals?” The correct answer (‘animals’) requires responding to a dog as simultaneously both a member of the class ‘dogs’ as well as of the superordinate class ‘animals’. Ming et al. (2018) trained class inclusion in typically developing children and individuals with autism using a Relational Frame Theory approach in which class inclusion requires containment and comparison relations and their combination. Participants received multiple exemplar training using a non-concurrent multiple baseline design in which class containment relations were represented by placing pictures within nested transparent boxes. More recent work has facilitated improved control by using a concurrent design and recording all stimulus categories in both baseline and training, thus enabling a more unambiguous demonstration of generalization and maintenance. It also showed contingent feedback alone as insufficient to allow successful performance but that an intervention involving non-arbitrary guidance but less intensive than in Ming et al. could facilitate the required repertoire.

 

Assessing Relational Responding in Young Children Using a Novel Relational Frame Therory-Based Relational Evaluation Procedure-Based Format

ELLE KIRSTEN (Fit Learning & National University of Ireland, Galway), Ian T. Stewart (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Abstract:

Relational Frame Theory (RFT) sees operant acquisition of various patterns of relational framing (frames) as key to linguistic and cognitive development and it has explored the emergence of a range of psychological phenomena (e.g., analogy, perspective-taking) in these terms. One potentially important advance for RFT research is to develop a better idea of the normative development of relational framing in childhood. This was one of the aims of the present study, which sought to measure relational responding of various types, and at various levels of complexity in young children across a range of ages. A second aim of the study was to focus in particular on analogy, or the relating of relations, as one particularly important pattern of relational responding. The present study examined a range of frames including coordination, comparison, opposition, temporality, and hierarchy at a number of different levels of complexity (non-arbitrary relating, non-arbitrary relating of relations, arbitrarily applicable relating and arbitrarily applicable relating of relations) in young children ranging in age from 3 to 7. Performance overall as well as under various subheadings was correlated with both age and intellectual ability. Outcomes and their implications are discussed.

 
Training Analogical Responding in Young Children Across Several Multiple Baseline Design Studies
IAN T. STEWART (National University of Ireland, Galway), Elle Kirsten (Fit Learning & National University of Ireland, Galway)
Abstract: Analogical (A:B::C:D) relational responding is a key skill in the development of verbal and intellectual repertoires. This paper will 1) briefly review a Relational Frame Theory (RFT) based assessment of analogical relations, and, 2) discuss RFT-based training procedures used to train arbitrary analogical relations in typically developing children and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The RFT-based instrument used in this study allows assessment and training of (i) non-arbitrary (physical) relations (ii) non-arbitrary analogy (relating non-arbitrary relations) (iii) arbitrarily applicable relational responding (relational framing) and (iv) arbitrarily applicable analogical relational responding (relational framing relational frames themselves). A series of multiple baseline design studies used this instrument to test and train arbitrary analogical relations in nine 5-year old typically developing children, and three 10-14-year old children with ASD. All participants generated analogical responses during novel, generalization, and maintenance probes. Data from testing, training, and generalization trials will be presented and discussed, as well as the impact training had on the verbal repertoires of children with ASD.
 
 
Symposium #92
CE Offered: BACB — 
Ethics
Diversity submission Beyond Politically Correct: Practical Steps Toward a More Equitable and Culturally Diverse Behavior Analysis
Saturday, May 23, 2020
3:00 PM–4:50 PM EDT
Virtual
Area: CSS/PCH; Domain: Translational
Chair: Elizabeth Hughes Fong (Saint Joseph's University)
Discussant: Denisha Gingles (Signature Behavior Analytic Services)
CE Instructor: Elizabeth Hughes Fong, Ph.D.
Abstract:

In the last two years, diversity, social justice, and cultural humility have received a surge of interest in the applied behavior analytic (ABA) community, likely largely bolstered by social movements such as MeToo and BlackLivesMatter. This symposium brings together four presentations that provide practical action items for research and practice. The first presentation, by Elizabeth Fong, will bring a broader historical perspective to the conversation surrounding diversity in ABA and will engage the audience in some brief self-reflective and group activities. The second presentation, by Jacqueline Ramirez, reviews research on cultural humility training and provides specific actionable recommendations that the audience can put into practice today. The third presentation, by Robyn Catagnus, presents results of a review of research published in six behavior analytic journals and assesses the presence of cross-cultural research published in these journals. The fourth presentation, by Zoey Ulrey, presents a conceptual functional analysis of leadership behaviors relevant to preventing harassment in organizations. The symposium concludes with a discussion by Denisha Gingles.

Target Audience:

Any behavior analysts

Learning Objectives: Attendees will be able to provide a behavior analytic definition of culture. Attendees will be able to summarize the results of previous research on the effectiveness of cultural humility training programs. Attendees will be able to summarize the results of previous research on cross-cultural provision of ABA services. Attendees will be able to discuss the function of leader behaviors relevant to harassment prevention.
 
Diversity submission Examining Diversity and Culture in Behavior Analysis
ELIZABETH HUGHES FONG (Saint Joseph's University)
Abstract: This discussion with begin with a brief history of ABA in regards to diversity and culture.  From there, ethics, supervision, interventions, as well as challenges and potential solutions will be examined. Participants will be asked to participate in a few self-reflective and group activities to challenge their views on diversity and multiculturalism. Finally, discussion around increasing culturally aware behavior analytic skills in practice as a practitioner and supervisors will be explored, as well as a discussion on some of the barriers that perpetuate the lack of diversity and equity in our field.
 
Diversity submission 

The Big Elephant in the Room: Culture

JACQUELINE RAMIREZ (University of Southern California ), Jonathan J. Tarbox (University of Southern California; FirstSteps for Kids)
Abstract:

The topics of cultural competence and cultural humility have received increasing attention in the behavior analytic profession. Although the terms are often taken as synonymous, they are not the same. The concept of cultural competence assumes that, after sufficient training, one might become competent in another’s culture. The concept of cultural humility asserts that one can never become fully competent in another’s culture, so a more realistic and productive goal is to become humble and open with respect to culture. The field of applied behavior analysis has done very little research addressing the topic. In fact, few training programs in behavior analysis include training in cultural humility as a requirement. A best practice for teaching these frameworks has not been identified and there is a critical need to outline the relevance of cultural humility and to expand on studies from similar disciplines that have a head start in identifying what works. Identifying best practices will enable practitioners to provide ethical, socially significant, and socially validated interventions to our consumers and families, thus remaining true to our ethical code and dimensions of applied behavior analysis.This presentation will make specific, testable recommendations for how behavior analytic training and research may be brought to bear on establishing culturally humble clinician repertoires of behavior.

 
Diversity submission Working in a Cross-Cultural Context? You Can’t Rely on the Research (Yet)
Stacee Leatherman (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), ROBYN M. CATAGNUS (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Thomas Wade Brown (Ball State University)
Abstract: If you are working in a cross-cultural context, you may not find many empirical studies to guide you… yet. Many US practitioners are providing cross-cultural behavior analytic supervision and services, often driven by the growing global demand for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) intervention. These practitioners should rely on empirical research regarding how to best serve a wide variety of cultures, especially when working with a new population. Yet, there are very few studies in US behavior-analytic journals of cross-cultural research with participants from minority groups, immigrant communities, or cultures outside of North America and Europe. A systematic review of 6 behavior-analytic journals (2009-2019), using various search terms related to diversity and culture, yielded just 20 studies reporting participants were from cultural groups such as these, and only two of these included participants with disabilities. This deficit in the literature is exacerbated by key term inconsistency and a (well-established) lack reporting of race and ethnicity in research. Still, there are risks associated with international dissemination and cross-cultural services with a lack of sufficient evidence to guide practitioners. We call for more reports with specific recommendations for diverse populations and suggest inclusive research and practice strategies.
 
Diversity submission Behavioral Conceptual Analysis of Leadership Behaviors for Harassment Prevention
ZOEY ISABELLA ULREY (University of Southern California), Jonathan J. Tarbox (University of Southern California; FirstSteps for Kids)
Abstract: This presentation consists of a conceptual functional analysis of leadership behaviors. Under what conditions do leaders intervene in instances requiring someone to take a stand or act as a bystander and what are the maintaining consequences of those behaviors? Accordingly, what are the maintaining contingencies for less optimal behaviors, such as actively avoiding intervening in instances of potential harassment? Furthermore, how do leader behaviors relevant to harassment influence subordinates’ behavior, both in the presence and absence of the leader? This presentation will review literature on leadership behavior and analyze the contingencies maintaining leadership behaviors relevant to harassment prevention. We will then identify where interventions should target change for the improvement of leader behavior at the individual level and how this has the potential to affect organizational culture at a larger level, with the goal of bringing about more equitable organizational cultures that prevent harassment.
 
 
Symposium #95
CE Offered: BACB
Developmental Behavioral Economic View
Saturday, May 23, 2020
3:00 PM–4:50 PM EDT
Virtual
Area: DEV/OBM; Domain: Translational
Chair: Mansi Shah (Dare Institute)
Discussant: William Joseph Harrigan (Harvard Extension School)
CE Instructor: William Joseph Harrigan, Ph.D.
Abstract:

The role of behavior analysis in understanding composite variables, such as life satisfaction, is best understood in small steps. Questions of what effects the value of different reinforcers have are important steps in understanding how we can make life better. In this symposium four different investigations of reinforcement will be presented. The first presentation is a proposed instrument for exploring the relationship between task interest and time on task; influenced by the work of John Holland. The second presentation discusses behavioral predictors of burnout, and how a lack of fit between personal interests and the demands of their environment leads to emotional exhaustion. The third presentation discusses how artistic ability, and science and research interest relate to creativity. The fourth presentation discusses how gratitude evolves with developmental stage, and how intimate relationships, and emotional complexity contribute to gratitude. Each of these presentations shows steps toward developmental behavioral economic modeling of reinforcement and its effects.

Target Audience:

The target audience is people who know behavioral science, and want to increase their knowledge of the developmental pathways in acquiring new and effective behaviors. People who are interested in how to combine behavior analysis with behavioral development. People who want to have a broad perspective of critical applications of behavior analysis to real world problems.

 
Sharpening Interest Measurement: Questions of Time
WILLIAM JOSEPH HARRIGAN (Harvard Extension School), Sarthak Giri (Dare Institute)
Abstract: Models of professional interest, such as the Holland RIASEC (Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social Enterprising. Conventional) inventory, have determined, through factor analysis, six reinforcers factors that predict and control behavior. However, due to lack of a direct behavioral measure of these interest grouping, precise prediction is difficult. The original Holland measure asks about whether they prefer to do a task or not. Two modifications are proposed. The first proposed instrument assesses the amount of time participants say they prefer to spend on tasks in each of the six RIASEC groups. The second proposed instrument measures the amount of time participants spend on each of six tasks that have been selected to show preferences for each of the RIASEC interests. This allows for a directly measurable time on task variable to assess the extent of participant’s interest. One goal of these changes is to give participants and researchers a clearer notion of how much they would like to perform their prefer tasks. By giving the concrete variable of time on tasks, participants apply a familiar cost. By asking the participant to consider opportunity cost, a more robust notion of the value of these reinforcers can be inferred.
 

Quantifying the Role of Job-Person Fit in Work Related Burnout

Sarthak Giri (Dare Institute), KYONA SCHACHT (Boston University)
Abstract:

Burnout is a multivariate psychological syndrome, described and measured by, per Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), one’s emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment. The job-person fit framework states that a poor fit between a person’s interest and the nature of the job and day-to-day tasks increases the risk for burnout. In order to determine whether burnout scores would be higher for those whose interests do not match their job, participants (N= 55) were asked to take an anonymous online survey. The survey consisted of: modified Holland RAISEC Inventory (HRI), Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), and questions about their job and the amount of time they spent doing tasks that would appeal to one of the 6 RAISEC groups. The HRI was modified to make it shorter, more behavioral and face valid. The results indicated that a mismatch in their personal interests and the task they performed at work indicated burnout in 2 out 3 variables: Emotional Exhaustion (r = 0.323) and Depersonalization (r = 0.334). Implications for future research are discussed.

 
Indicators of Value of Creativity as a Personal Quality in Adults
Alexandra Dodzin (Langley High School), SHUTONG WEI (Dare Association, Inc.)
Abstract: Certain people tend to place a great value on creativity. To identify what behavioral factors underlie creativity, survey data was collected from 107 anonymous participants. The survey of 117 questions were separated into sections that pertained to different aspects of creativity: 1) external and internal evaluation of creative character traits; 2) personal perception of likelihood to complete certain tasks; and 3) the frequency of completion of creative tasks. The factors of the rating scale are the following: 1) originality and creative thinking (factor loading .754); 2) importance of creativity as part of character (factor loading .709); 3) building and understanding the design of mechanical objects (factor loading .671); 4) intuition (factor loading .664). The factors of the power scaled instrument are 1) artistic ability (factor loading .778); 2) science and research (factor loading .742). The results show that individuals are more likely to value creativity more and exhibit more creative behaviors who are high in these factors. Interest and personal characteristics both play a big role in behavioral development. This paper isolates some of those factors and make people more creatively productive. The paper also addresses the difference between creativity and originality and how creativity manifests itself in individuals.
 

Caring, Gratitude, and Other Prosocial Behaviors

SHUTONG WEI (Dare Association, Inc.), Weilyn Chong (Hong Kong International School)
Abstract:

The focus of this article is to provide an understanding of what caring is and why it is one of the bases of behavioral economics. It addresses the definition of care, how it differs from the actions of gratitude, stages at which caring can be identified and how caring underlies societal actions and development. The paper also analyzes how caring changes depending on which stage an organism is performing at, how big of a social structure the organism is in and how caring is necessary in human societies. The paper details the results from an anonymous online survey designed to measure the perceived value of caring and gratitude. The first factor noted both an intimate relationship and immediate reaction. The first factor had a loading of 0.819. This included either parental relationships, immediate reactions to other people’s actions or both. The second factor with the indicated less intimate relationships and longer reaction time, not with more emotional complexity. The second factor had a loading of 0.816. This included strangers, non-relatives, and reactions that require long term memory retrieval to perform.

 
 
Symposium #101
CE Offered: BACB — 
Ethics
Collaborative Approach to Supporting Severely Impacted Adults
Saturday, May 23, 2020
4:00 PM–4:50 PM EDT
Virtual
Area: CBM/DDA; Domain: Translational
Chair: David Pyles (Pyles & Associates)
Discussant: David Pyles (Pyles & Associates)
CE Instructor: Adrienne Hursh, M.A.
Abstract:

Collaboration amongst interdisciplinary teams to manage treatment outcomes should be a first line of defense in effective behavior support with adults. Most of the time, figuring out the function of the target problem behavior is an easy task. The difficulty arises when treatment objectives are targeted in isolation thus creating a significant barrier to effective intervention. Often times adults with disabilities are served by various providers including behaviorists, psychiatrists, mental health professionals and non-behaviorally trained direct support staff. More often the consultation model for behavior services is used and the behaviorist is charged to work with a team of professionals and paraprofessionals that may or may not be focused on the same objectives. Initial and ongoing collaborative treatment planning will allow for more effective interventions. The talks that are presented in this symposium show measurable effects of professionals and paraprofessional who use a collaborative treatment model to support various individuals.

Target Audience:

The target audience for this presentation includes any professionals working in the field alongside other professionals and paraprofessionals.

Learning Objectives: Attendees will identify when and how to collaborate with other providers Attendees will learn to determine when the collaboration is effective or ineffective Attendees will learn strategies to manage ongoing collaboration
 

Collaboration With Psychiatrists: Working With Dually-Diagnosed Adults

Adrienne Hursh (Pyles and Associates), DENNIS PALIWODA (Pyles and Associates )
Abstract:

When working with dually diagnosis adults, behavior analysts want to minimize the need for medication for behavior challenges. The treatment evaluations presented here include collaboration between a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and a psychiatrist to achieve medication stabilization and behavior reduction. The targeted individuals include (1) a 59 year old woman diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder, Depressed type and Moderate Intellectual Disability, (2) a 41 year old woman diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Severe Intellectual Disability, and Autism, and (3) a 30 year old woman diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder, Schizophrenia, Moderate Intellectual Disability, Epilepsy and Pseudo-Seizures. All of the ladies live in a group home setting (not all in the same home) and have a history of frequent hospitalizations as well as residing in state-run facilities. A collaborative model was used with the psychiatrist and direct staff that included development and implementation of a behavior plan, as well as visual/graphical feedback for decision-making with medications. Across all individuals, behavior challenges reduced and medication changes due to increasing behavior problems was no longer needed.

 

Collaboration With Paraprofessionals to Decrease Severe Problem Behavior

SHAI MAOR (Pyles and Associates)
Abstract:

Working with adults usually means utilizing a consultative approach where the BCBA is the consultant and paraprofessionals are the direct line staff. When this happens, collaboration with the service providers who employ the paraprofessionals and the paraprofessionals themselves is essential. In addition, the behavior program must include a strong staff training component to ensure accurate and consistent delivery of the behavior program. Without collaboration and staff training, the behavior program cannot be fully adopted to ensure effective support for the individual. This presentation includes treatment evaluations of collaborative models for three males, ages 23-28. All have dual diagnoses and have 2:1 staffing ratios due to the intensity of problem behaviors. Attendees will be presented with data that represent collaborative work with paraprofessionals that is focused on behavior plan implementation and overall behavior excess reduction.

 
 
Symposium #119
CE Offered: BACB/NASP
Enhancement of Reading Competence With Headsprout: A Computer-Based Behavioral Intervention
Saturday, May 23, 2020
5:00 PM–5:50 PM EDT
Virtual
Area: EDC/DEV; Domain: Translational
Chair: Julian C. Leslie (Ulster University)
Discussant: Janet S. Twyman (blast)
CE Instructor: Julian C. Leslie, Ph.D.
Abstract:

The failure of a large proportion of children in early education to reaching desired standards of reading competence is a concern in many countries. Many small scale studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Headsprout (R) in enhancing reading skills in young children but computer-based behavioral interventions have rarely been implemented on a wide scale. There are many obstacles to this, mostly cultural rather than scientific, but it is important to overcome these if behavior analysis is to make a major contribution in this essential area of basic education. As Headsprout is currently available inexpensively there is an opportunity to make rapid progress with this agenda and we have been working on this in Northern ireland for a number of years. The first paper in this symposium reports a large-scale study recruiting participants from a number of primary schools in the region, and the second paper reviews the series of studies conducted to date, identfying successes and also the scientific and a cultural issues that remain to be addressed.

Target Audience:

Professionals and researchers working in mainstream and special education settings.

Learning Objectives: Following this session, those attending: 1. will be aware of the widespread deficits in reading attainment in schools internationally; 2. will have some knowledge of the the Headsprout Early reading program; 3. will have reviewed evidence of the effectiveness of the Headsprout Early reading program in closing the gap between age-typical readers and disadvantaged children.
 

Better Reading for Better Outcomes: Impact of Headsprout Early Reading on Literacy of Disadvantaged Primary School Children in Northern Ireland

GERRY MCWILLIAMS (Ulster University), Claire E. McDowell (Ulster University, Coleraine), Una O'Connor Bones (Ulster University), Julian C. Leslie (Ulster University)
Abstract:

A quarter of UK primary school children leave school below the expected literacy level. In Northern Ireland, although the literacy of primary school children is improving, the gap between disadvantaged and other children is not closing. This study is providing an HER intervention for children across 8 schools in Northern Ireland with high levels of disadvantage, using a pre-test, post-test study design to test the impact of HER on literacy performance. Additionally, this research analysed the correlation between the time spent on HER and subsequent improvements in literacy performance. Distinctive features are the relatively large scale, and the use of school staff and resources to deliver HER, thus increasing ecological validity and sustainability. Measures include a standardised reading assessment in combination with a bespoke fluency and accuracy test, administered before, during and after HER training. Baseline, midpoint and post intervention data will be reported. Findings suggest HER contrubted towards closing the gap in reading attainment between disdadvantaged primary school children and their age-matched peers, and that this type and scale of study can contribute to school-wide adoption of computer-aided behavioural interventions to support children’s reading progress.

 

What Have We LearnedAbout Reading? A Review of a Research Programme to Enhance Reading Competence in Disadavantaged Children in Northern Ireland

JULIAN C. LESLIE (Ulster University), Catherine Storey (Queen's University Belfast), Claire E. McDowell (Ulster University, Coleraine)
Abstract:

Many countries face continuing problems in developing literacy and reading skills in primary education with substantial numbers of children missing national literacy targets. Behaviour analysis focusses on the need to specify key skills that comprise any higher-order activity and then train them explicitly in a program that is individualised. For reading, key skills are phonemic awareness, use of phonics, fluency, guided oral reading, and acquisition of new vocabulary words. The Headsprout Early Reading© program, developed by behaviour analysts, is an online package which targets each of the skills through intensive systematic phonics training. It makes use of computer-based instruction and promotes higher levels of student engagement and enjoyment. We have carried out several studies within mainstream schools in Northern Ireland using Headsprout© to improve the reading skills of disadvantaged children and have obtained encouraging results. The most recent stage has been to carry out a study involving a number of schools, and have the classroom teachers implement the Headsprout© program. This is closer to our overall goal of district-wide implementation. There are further challenges in sustaining behaviour-based interventions in schools, and it will be suggested that we can usefully draw on the huge literature on autism interventions to address these.

 

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