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

Previous Page


Poster Session #86
AAB Saturday PM
Saturday, May 23, 2015
5:00 PM–7:00 PM
Exhibit Hall C (CC)
22. Effects of Caregiver-Implemented Aggression Reduction Procedure on Aggression in Dogs
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
KRISTYN ECHTERLING-SAVAGE ECHTERLING (Beyond the Dog), Florence D. DiGennaro Reed (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Aggressive behavior of companion animals poses a threat to caregivers, other targets of aggressive behavior (e.g., strangers, other animals), and those animals engaging in the behavior. In applied settings, it is often the caregiver who is responsible for implementing treatments to reduce aggressive behavior in dogs. This study examined the effects of a caregiver-implemented aggression reduction procedure on dog aggression. Both caregiver and dog behavior were targeted. After a baseline condition showing caregivers were unsuccessful in reducing dog aggression and the behaviors preceding aggression, caregivers were trained using consumer management procedures. Implementation of a procedure to address dog aggression in relatively simple contexts was targeted. Generalization programming then was used to target caregiver plan implementation and dog problem behavior in more complex contexts. Consumer management procedures increased caregiver implementation to desirable levels. The aggression reduction procedure effectively reduced dog aggression for all dogs. A slight reduction and increased variability in dog precursor behavior was observed when the aggression reduction procedure was implemented.
23. Using Big Rats and Behavior Analysis to Address Pressing Humanitarian Issues
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
TIMOTHY EDWARDS (APOPO), Christophe Cox (APOPO), Bart Weetjens (APOPO), Alan D. Poling (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Anti-Persoonsmijnen Ontmijnende Product Ontwikkeling (APOPO), a Belgian nonprofit organization headquartered in Tanzania, employs giant African pouched rats (Cricetomys gambianus) in demining operations as land mine detection animals and in diagnostic algorithms to identify sputum samples from TB-positive individuals. High and stable rat performance is essential to APOPOs humanitarian work, and behavior analysis is the key to establishing and maintaining behavior that meets the necessary criteria. A variety of recent experiments and evaluations have contributed to the enhancement of operational TB- and mine-detection rats performance, and exploratory research examining the ability of the rats to contribute to other types of humanitarian work has informed organizational strategy and opened doors for new applications. Behavior analysis offers real, pragmatic solutions to the challenges frequently encountered in developing countries and in the challenging area of scent detection. This unconventional but impactful work clearly demonstrates the potential for new and meaningful applications of the science of behavior analysis.
24. Use of Preference Assessments and Structured Adopter-Dog Interactions Increases Adoptions
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
ALEXANDRA PROTOPOPOVA (University of Florida), Maria Brandifino (University of Florida), Clive Wynne (Arizona State University)
Abstract: Previous research showed that lying down next to potential adopters and not ignoring their play initiations during interactions outside of the kennel correlate with increased likelihood of adoption in shelter dogs. In the present study, we experimentally assessed whether increasing these behaviors during interactions with potential adopters influenced adoption outcome. In Experiment 1, we validated a brief play preference assessment in order to find individual preferences for toys in shelter dogs. We then used this assessment as part of the experimental intervention. In Experiment 2, we randomly assigned dogs to the experimental and control condition and evaluated 160 interactions between these dogs and potential adopters. The experimental intervention consisted of conducting a play preference assessment prior to the interaction and structuring the interaction once a potential adopter expressed interest in the dog. A logistic regression model revealed that condition, but not morphology of the dog, was predictive of adoption outcome (χ2= 3.95, P < .047). Dogs in the experimental condition were adopted 68% times more often than in the control condition. A questionnaire revealed that adopters did not find the structured interaction intrusive. This validated intervention may be used in animal shelters to increase adoption rates in dogs.
25. Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior to Reduce Pawing in Horses
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
Devon Belding (St. Lawrence University), ADAM E. FOX (St. Lawrence University)
Abstract: Traditionally, aversive control is the most common method to reduce stereotypy in horses. However, it often results in unintended negative side effects, including potential abuse of the animal. Differential-reinforcement-of-other-behavior (DRO) schedules may reduce stereotypy with fewer negative consequences. The current study extended the use of DRO schedules to reduce pawing stereotypy using a multiple baseline design across three horses. Results indicated DRO schedules are effective to reduce pawing in horses; however, individual differences in sensitivity to the DRO and reinforcer efficacy may be important considerations.
26. Teaching a cat to go to a safe place during a tornado using stimulus control and shaping procedures.
Area: AAB; Domain: Service Delivery
REGAN GARDEN (University of North Texas), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Due to changes in legislation and public awareness, new attention is being paid to emergency planning and management of both household pets and captive wildlife. Help with behaviors related specifically to emergency preparedness is a growing area in applied animal behavior. This project provides one example of how backward chaining, stimulus prompting, and transferring stimulus control can be used to train a household pet (a domestic cat) to go to a designated place of safety during a tornado when the owner is away from home. The learner in this study was a domestic short-hair household pet adopted from a local animal shelter. Mean interobserver agreement was 93%. Training domestic animals and captive animals to go independently to a safe location can improve animal welfare. Similar projects could increase human compliance to evacuation procedures and restrictions, protect critical endangered species and zoo assets, and provide practical projects for students learning about behavior analysis. Training domestic animals in safety behaviors for classroom presentations can be a valuable educational tool when training children about emergency situations, and it can be a great way to share information and increase excitement for behavior analysis within the community.
27. Identifying Behavioral Precursors to Play-induced Aggression in Domestic Dogs
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
LINDSAY MEHRKAM (University of Florida), Cassandra Vazquez (University of Florida), Taylor Whitley (University of Florida), Cashmere Caragan (University of Florida), Clive Wynne (Arizona State University)
Abstract: Dogs engage in specific behaviors often termed "play signals" to communicate intent to engage in social play with a conspecific (Bekoff 1974). However, previous research has suggested that even experienced owners and trainers have difficulty distinguishing between play and aggression in dogs. The primary aim of this study was to extend the use of conditional probability analysis as used in human clinical settings (e.g., Hershcovitz et al. 2009) to identify high-probability and low-probability precursors to aggression during dog-dog play. A total of 709 play bouts were obtained from 391 dogs at two local dog parks. The occurrence of each discrete behavior (e.g., play-type, tail position and direction, ear position, vocalization, play signals, head position, self-handicapping) within a 15-s interval preceding the end of the bout were subsequently coded from video. Play bow was among the behaviors with the highest probability of occurring prior to the end of a non-aggressive play bout, whereas "play face", a widely-cited "play signal" - occurred at a relatively lower probability. These results demonstrate how quantitative analyses of behavior can contribute to a greater understanding of behaviors that serve as visual communicative cues among dogs during social play.
28. Precision Teaching and Applied Animal Behavior: Using Precision Teaching to Train a Service Dog
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
SHOSHANA STEIN (Ivy Tech Community College), Sorah Stein (Partnership for Behavior Change)
Abstract: A boxer-jack russell terrier puppy of about 20 months was taken from a shelter having been given only 3 days left to live (it was a kill shelter with limited space). She is partially unreliable with any commands I teach/ have taught her. Instead of waiting until she becomes an adult and then teaching the commands to her when she can perform them with fluency, I have decided to use precision teaching to break down the end result movements into smaller components in which i can have her do over and over again to gain fluency. Using precision teaching to help gain fluency makes it easier for her to then perform at her best. Once she masters these smaller components and the data flatlines, the specific program is stopped. The movement will be continued to be tested as time goes by with reinforcers, (click treat or just click) and data will be recorded.
29. Impulsivity & Perseveration in Owned & Shelter Dogs
Area: AAB; Domain: Basic Research
LISA GUNTER (Arizona State University), Clive Wynne (Arizona State University)
Abstract: Smaller-sooner or larger-later reward paradigms have been employed as a measure of impulsivity in the investigation of decision-making in lab animals (Odum, 2011), and also with companion dogs (Wright, Mills and Pollux, 2012; Reimer, Mills and Wright, 2014). Additionally, perseveration defined as a resistance-to-extinction in a previously reinforced task (Feather, 1962) has been shown to have a relationship with impulsive choice (Broos et al., 2012). Given earlier studies exploring canine behavioral persistence (Protopopova, Hall and Wynne, 2014), in this study we investigated the association between impulsivity and perseveration in dogs. In Experiment 1, owned dogs participated in a delay-discounting procedure where nose-touching of the experimenter’s left or right hand resulted in one or three pieces of food. Once this distinction was learned, an increasing time delay was introduced to the larger reward hand. We recorded the maximum time tolerated for the larger-later reward. In the perseveration task, dogs were reinforced for nose-touching on a continuous reinforcement schedule before entering into extinction. The number of nose-touches under extinction before the dog no longer responded was recorded. In Experiment 2, dogs housed at an animal shelter were also tested in these procedures. Preliminary data analysis from the two experiments will be presented.
30. What can a Deaf-Blind Dog Do? Scent Discrimination as Environmental Enrichment.
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
VALERI FARMER-DOUGAN (Illinois State University), Jaime Earl (Illinois State University)
Abstract: As more dogs with disabilities are adopted there remain questions as to how owners may provide environmental enrichment for these dogs, particularly those who are deaf/blind. The present investigation examined scent discrimination training as an enrichment task for deaf/blind Australian Shepherd, Keller. Three commercially available scents: birch, anise and clove (Leesburg) were used as target scents. During Experiment 1, Keller was shaped to find each of the scents: A box containing one of the three scents was placed at increasing distances, from 6 inches to approximately 42 inches, and Keller received food reinforcers for locating the box. In Experiment 2, Keller was shaped to find one of two boxes using a modified matching to sample task: The target scent was presented, and then Keller was prompted to find that scent. A second scent box served as a distractor. The target scent and the distractor scent were varied across the three scents used in Experiment 1, and the distance between the two boxes was increased from 0 inches to 42 inches. Results from Experiment 1 and Experiment 2 demonstrate that a deaf/blind dog can learn a scent discrimination task, and that scent discrimination is an excellent enrichment activity for deaf/blind dogs.
31. Differences in Reward Sensitivity between Hearing and Visually Impaired (HVI) and Normal Hearing and Vision (NHV) Dogs.
Area: AAB; Domain: Basic Research
VALERI FARMER-DOUGAN (Illinois State University), Terry Coughlin (Illinois State University)
Abstract: Hearing/visually impaired (HVI) dogs show increased attending to human cues compared to normal hearing/vision (NHV) dogs. We examined whether HVI and NHV dogs would also differ in reward sensitivity when humans provided reinforcement for approach using conc VI VI schedules. Three HVI and three NHV dogs participated. Two research assistants (RAs) sat approximately 1 meter apart inside adjoining left and right 1 m x 1 m reinforcement areas. Reinforcer availability was signaled by the RA stomping his/her foot. A food reinforcer was given if the dog approached within 4 seconds of a signaled reward; if not, it was canceled. Each dog was exposed to 5 daily trials of 4 reinforcement schedules: conc VI 15 VI 60; conc VI 15 VI 30, conc VI 60 VI 15 and conc VI 30 VI 15. The amount of time each dog spent within the left and right reinforcement areas and the number of reinforcers received for each area was recorded for each session. These data were used to calculate reward sensitivity and bias using Baum’s generalized matching equation (Baum 1974). Results showed that HVI dogs exhibited overmatching, while NHV dogs showed typical reward sensitivity values. No differences were found for bias.
32. Generalized Identity Matching with a Dog; A Stimulus Control Approach
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
Abstract: How the environment is arranged can greatly impact an organism's learning. While teaching a dog to match to sample, it was discovered that how the environment was arranged impacted how successful the dog was in matching to sample; if the objects were in a straight line, the dog was unsuccessful, but scatter the objects around the room with other objects and the dog was able to match to sample successfully. We will break down the stimulus control of the different environmental arrangements and how each affected the dog's learning and behavior.
33. Punishing an Operant Response in Betta splendens Without the Use of Shock
Area: AAB; Domain: Basic Research
DIANA SADER (University of Manitoba), Joseph J. Pear (University of Manitoba)
Abstract: The effects various intensities of shock have on different animal behaviors has been investigated, yet there is a lack of research on the impact alternative, more ethical forms of punishers have on behavior. Thus, the following study will investigate if a less severe punisher within a punishment contingency can also exert stimulus control over behavior. Water flows, the less aversive punisher, will be presented to Betta splendens contingent on their operant response in an aquatic shuttle tank. This novel punisher will also be pitted against an established unconditioned reinforcer to determine its relative suppressive strength. It is expected that the water flow will suppress the fish's response of crossing over into the compartment of the tank that will contain the active water flow. However, consistent with previous research it is also expected that the response of crossing over into the compartment will increase when the reinforcer is added into the side of the tank that has the active water flow. This study will contribute to existing punishment research by ascertaining if less harrowing punishers can effectively suppress target behaviours.
34. Evaluating the Spatial Learning of the Red Claw Crayfish, Cherax Quadricarinatus
Area: AAB; Domain: Basic Research
ALEXIS WASHA (Southern Illinois University), Kelti Owens (Southern Illinois University), Jordan Belisle (Southern Illinois University), Caleb Stanley (The University of Mississippi), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The present study examined the use of water deprivation and negative reinforcement on the spatial memory of the red claw crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus) in a T-Maze. Three crayfish were used in the study using an ABCB multiple-baseline across-subjects experimental design. In baseline, completion of the T-maze to either the left or right resulted in 1-min of water access. Following baseline, only completion of the T-maze to either the left or right resulted in water access. For each crayfish, the side that resulted in water access in the first and third experimental phases was the opposite of a demonstrated side bias in the baseline phase. A side reversal occurred in the second experimental phase. The results demonstrated that each of the three subjects allocated their responding to the side that provided access to water, and learning curves were observed across all experimental phases and subjects.
Keyword(s): Poster



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh