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 #131
CE Offered: BACB
Translational Evaluations of Common Classroom Contingencies
Sunday, May 24, 2015
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
214C (CC)
Area: DDA/EDC; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Jolene R. Sy (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
CE Instructor: Jolene R. Sy, Ph.D.
Abstract: Classroom behavioral procedures are typically derived from controlled laboratory studies with nonhuman animals. Such studies can isolate relevant variables. Equally important is applied research, which might highlight clinical issues that should further be studied in the lab. For example, in some classrooms, students are given a choice between a larger, immediate reinforcer (talking with friends) followed by a delayed punisher (needing to complete unfinished work during recess), or a smaller, immediate reinforcer (teacher praise for completing worksheets) not followed by delayed punishment. To the extent that choices such as these are common in classroom environments, self-control should be studied under similar arrangements. Likewise, implementation of a Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior (DRO) schedules to reduce problem behavior (out-of-seat) might also adventitiously reinforce "other" behavior (raising hand). To strengthen DRO interventions in classroom settings, it is important to understand the effect of DROs on "other" behavior. Finally, applied research on the Good Behavior Game (GBG) suggests that the GBG may not be implemented with integrity by others. Thus, it is important to modify the GBG in such a way as to compensate for decreases in treatment integrity. Taken together, these studies highlight the interplay between basic and applied behavioral research.
Keyword(s): classroom, group contingencies, self-control, translational research
The Effects of a Mild Delayed Verbal Punisher on Choice of an Immediate Reinforcer by Children with Autism
Jolene R. Sy (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Leonard Green (Washington University), OLIVIA GRATZ (Saint Louis University), Thea Ervin (Saint Louis University), Kathleen Mack (Saint Louis University)
Abstract: Self-control can be examined by evaluating how different combinations of immediate and delayed consequences affect preference. Woolverton et al. (2011) found that nonhuman animals were more likely to choose an immediate reinforcer that also produced a delayed punisher as the delay to the delivery of the punisher increased. The purpose of the current effort was to examine the choices of individuals diagnosed with autism under similar contingencies and determine whether adding a signal and increasing the length of the signal to a delayed mild verbal punisher would increase self-control (i.e., selection of a smaller reward not followed by a delayed punisher). Results were idiosyncratic across children. For one child, increases in magnitude of the reinforcer cancelled the punishing effects of a “no” statement. For another child, self-control was more likely when the signal lasted the entire duration of the delay. Consistent findings were not found for the third child, for whom other variables (e.g., self-instructions) appeared to have more of an influence on his choice behavior. Findings highlight the need to evaluate self-control under a variety of arrangements.
An Evaluation of the “O” in DRO
JESSICA BECRAFT (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Joshua Jessel (Western New England University), John C. Borrero (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
Abstract: Differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) has often been considered a negative-punishment technique with little to no emphasis on the possible strengthening effects on “other” behavior. We included two responses (target and other) across three treatment schedules (DRO, extinction, and fixed-time [FT]) in a human-operant preparation to determine the extent to which reinforcer presentation at the completion of the DRO interval could strengthen other responding. A computer program arranged for unsignaled changes in contingencies to a target response while never providing reinforcers for the other response. All 13 college-student participants exhibited more other responses than target responses during at least one exposure to DRO. Although there was a slight increase in other behavior during the extinction condition, overall rates of other responding were never higher than that of the target response. Furthermore, 7 of 13 participants never emitted the other response during the FT condition. The findings provide some support for the response-strengthening effects of DRO.
Effects of the Good Behavior Game with Students Diagnosed with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders Under Varying Levels of Treatment Integrity
Olivia Gratz (Saint Louis University), Jolene R. Sy (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Jeanne M. Donaldson (Texas Tech University), THEA ERVIN (Saint Louis University)
Abstract: The Good Behavior Game (GBG) is a class-wide behavior management strategy that requires the class to be divided into teams, the development of simple rules, and contracting contingencies for breaking or following those rules. Previous research has found the GBG to be effective with a variety of age groups. The purpose of the present study was to conduct a systematic replication of Donaldson et al. (2011) by extending the game to four classrooms with participants diagnosed with emotional or behavioral disorders and to describe the relationship between treatment integrity and the efficacy of the GBG. We found that the GBG was more effective when criteria for winning the game was made more stringent to compensate for decreases in treatment integrity.



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