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.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #36
CE Offered: BACB
Translational Research in the Prevention and Treatment of Problem Behavior
Saturday, May 23, 2015
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
214C (CC)
Area: DDA/EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Tara A. Fahmie (California State University, Northridge)
Discussant: Andrew L. Samaha (University of South Florida)
CE Instructor: Tara A. Fahmie, Ph.D.
Abstract: Decades of applied research have established guidelines for the assessment and treatment of challenging behavior, such as self-injury, aggression, and property destruction. This symposium includes two translational studies covering areas of research in severe behavior that have received relatively little attention. Jessica Cohoenour will present a study on behavioral disinhibition in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Though behavioral disinhibition has been shown to occur in basic research on animals, its occurrence with human participants, as well as its relevance to relapse and the use of extinction procedures in the treatment of severe behavior, are less established in the literature. Tara Fahmie will present a study on the prevention of challenging behavior. To bypass the common methodological difficulties in studying prevention, a laboratory model included undergraduate students as participants and a mouse click as the dependent variable. Our discussant, Andrew Samaha, will provide his informed perspective on these unique approaches to the study of prevention and treatment of challenging behavior.
Keyword(s): Autism, Disinhibition, Shaping, Translational

An Experimental Analysis of Behavioral Disinhibition

JESSICA M. COHENOUR (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Valerie M. Volkert (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Keith D. Allen (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute)

Behavioral disinhibition is the reappearance of extinguished behavior when a novel stimulus is introduced into the environment (Brimer, 1970a). This phenomenon may be responsible for some types of treatment relapse when problem behavior returns after the introduction of a novel stimulus despite extinction procedures being held constant. Several basic researchers have attained experimental results supporting this type of effect with animals (e.g., Brimer, 1970a; Brimer, 1970b; Gagn?, 1941; Yamaguchi & Ladioray, 1962) but only two studies to date have attempted to experimentally study disinhibition in human participants (i.e.., Baumeister & Hawkins, 1966; Warren & Brown, 1943). The current study sought to determine if behavioral disinhibition would occur with 3 participants with Autism Spectrum Disorder who were taught a simple lever pull response. Results showed that lever pulls increased for two of three participants when we introduced novel stimuli (i.e., a light and a buzzer) to the environment after extinction. These findings suggest that disinhibition may account for some instances of response recovery after extinction and that this study?s preparation may be beneficial to the further study of disinhibition and the variables that affect its occurrence.

The Prevention of Problem Behavior: A Laboratory Model
TARA A. FAHMIE (California State University, Northridge), Anne C. Macaskill (Victoria University of Wellington), Ellie Kazemi (California State University, Northridge), Uilani Elmer (California State University, Northridge)
Abstract: Research on the functional analysis of severe behavior (aggression, self-injury, property destruction) has yielded a great deal of information about the conditions that give rise to and maintain such behavior in individuals with intellectual disabilities. These collective findings have produced a powerful technology for behavior change; however, the prevailing focus in applied behavior analysis remains on the treatment of existing problem behavior. Despite suggestions that this same technology may be applied to the prevention of problem behavior, limited research exists on the preventive efficacy of behavioral interventions. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the preventive efficacy of common behavioral interventions using a laboratory model. Undergraduate students participated in a computer game, in which a percentile schedule was used to shape a pre-specified response as an analogue to problem behavior. A group design was used to assess the effects of noncontingent reinforcement and differential reinforcement of incompatible behavior on the prevention of the pre-specified response. Both visual inspection and statistical analyses were applied to the data to provide preliminary evidence of the efficacy of these two approaches in the prevention of severe behavior. Clinical recommendations based on our findings will be discussed.



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