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 #348
Experimental Arrangements and Reinforcer Variables Affecting Resurgence
Monday, May 25, 2015
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
006C (CC)
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Apral Foreman (West Virginia University)
Abstract: Resurgence is a replicable process that has been demonstrated across an array of different types and values of reinforcement schedules and species. However, the specific reinforcement-history parameters that produce (and re-produce) resurged responding remain unclear. The experiments in this symposium systematically examine reinforcement-schedule parameters (such as reinforcement rate and reinforcer magnitude) and experimental arrangements to determine situations in which responding resurges, and the extent to which that resurged responding is replicable across repeated exposures to extinction. Presenters will describe empirical data, and discuss implications of those data for theory and practice.
Keyword(s): behavioral momentum, extinction, human operant, resurgence
The Effects of Reinforcement Schedule Density for Alternative Behavior on Resurgence
KATHRYN M. KESTNER (Western Michigan University), Stephanie M. Peterson (Western Michigan University), Claire C. St. Peter (West Virginia University)
Abstract: Extinction-induced resurgence refers to recovery of a previously extinguished response when an alternative response no longer produces reinforcement. Resurgence has been demonstrated across organisms with a variety of behaviors and reinforcers. Applied interventions using differential reinforcement of alternative behaviors are common and resurgence of problem behavior has been observed following interruptions to the alternative reinforcement schedule. Research on applied interventions may benefit from translational studies informing the effects of controllable variables on resurgence. Research with nonhuman animals suggests that the schedule of reinforcement for the alternative response can increase or decrease the degree of resurgence obtained during a test. One parameter of reinforcement that seems to affect resurgence in the nonhuman literature is density of alternative reinforcement. The present study compared the effects of varying rich and lean density alternative reinforcement schedules on resurgence of responding in human participants on a computer task. Potential implications for designing applied interventions to reduce treatment relapse and suggestions for future areas of research will be discussed.
Relations between Resurgence and Reinforcer Parameters
LUCIE ROMANO (West Virginia University), Claire C. St. Peter (West Virginia University)
Abstract: Resurgence refers to the reoccurrence of a previously reinforced response when differential reinforcement for an alternative response is discontinued. Although resurgence is thought to be influenced by the “momentum” of the previously reinforced response, much remains unknown about how variables that influence behavioral momentum, such as reinforcer rate and magnitude, affect resurgence. In the current series of studies, we identified different ways in which response momentum could be affected (such as the reinforcement rate, reinforcer magnitude, and delay to reinforcement) and systematically manipulated those variables in a human-operant experimental arrangement. Results suggest that, in addition to behavioral momentum, resurgence may be strongly affected by the extent to which shifts between reinforcement and extinction are discriminable. We discuss the implications of these findings for the treatment of problem behavior.
Repeated Within-Session Resurgence
JAMES E. COOK (West Virginia University), Kennon Andy Lattal (West Virginia University)
Abstract: Resurgence is a replicable process, but the resurgence effect is transitory and decreases with repetition, making repeated within-subject examinations of resurgence difficult. Four pigeons underwent repeated within-session resurgence tests across daily sessions. Each session was divided into 3 phases. In Phase 1, responses on the left key (resurgence key) were reinforced on a fixed-interval (FI) or variable-interval (VI) 30-s schedule. In Phase 2, responses on the center key (alternative key) were reinforced on an equivalent schedule, and responses on the left key were placed on extinction. In Phase 3 (resurgence test), responses on both keys were placed on extinction. The right key (control key) never provided reinforcement. Phases changed when responding occurred exclusively on the key providing reinforcement for 5 consecutive intervals. In the resurgence test, responding occurred on the resurgence key, and little to no responding occurred on the control key. The resurgence effect occurred in 56-100% of 23-30 consecutive sessions but decreased in magnitude with repetition. This method may be useful to researchers interested in examining repeated relapse phenomena.



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