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Ninth International Conference; Paris, France; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #11
Recent Translational Research on the Variables Controlling the Development, Maintenance, and Recurrence of Responding
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
2:00 PM–3:50 PM
Loft GH, Niveau 3
Area: EAB
CE Instructor: Brian D. Greer, Ph.D.
Chair: Brian D. Greer (University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Discussant: Iser Guillermo DeLeon (University of Florida)
Abstract: Bridging the basic and applied realms of behavior analysis, translational research seeks to determine the conditions under which basic principles of behavior control the behavior of humans in more typical contexts (e.g., home, school, and community settings), while also suggesting important areas for future basic research. The translational papers in this symposium examine the variables controlling the development, maintenance, and recurrence of target responding. Billie Retzlaff will begin this symposium by sharing the results of a recent translational investigation on the potential for the induction of additional functions of responding following synthesized contingencies of reinforcement. Hank Roane will then present on the role of response variability on the resurgence of problem behavior during challenges to treatment. Brian Greer will then present on strategies to mitigate the resurgence of problem behavior following functional communication training. Finally, Sarah Cowie will present on how reinforcers control behavior due to their ability to signal the immediate future probability of additional reinforcers.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): functional analysis, reinforcement, resurgence, treatment
A Translational Investigation of the Potential for Induction of Additional Functions Following Synthesized Contingency Analyses
(Applied Research)
BILLIE RETZLAFF (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Wayne W. Fisher (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Jessica Akers (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Brian D. Greer (University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Abstract: Fisher, Greer, Romani, Zangrillo, and Owen (2016) compared the results of traditional functional analyses, where each potential putative reinforcer is evaluated individually, with results of a synthesized contingency analysis, where potential putative reinforcers are combined to create a single synthesized test condition. Results indicated that the synthesized contingency analysis produced false-positive outcomes for four of the five participants. These results also raise the possibility that combining potential putative reinforcers in a synthesized test condition may worsen problem behavior or induce novel functions of problem behavior. The presented study is a translational investigation designed to test whether exposure to synthesized contingencies can induce novel functions of behavior. An arbitrary response was established under the control of a specific establishing operation for each participant. We then conducted a traditional functional analysis of the arbitrary response and results indicated the response only occurred in the training context. Next we conducted a synthesized contingency analysis of the arbitrary response, and finally we conducted a second traditional functional analysis. Findings indicated both participants engaged in the arbitrary under more stimulus conditions following exposure to the synthesized contingency analysis. These findings are discussed in terms of current practices in functional assessment of problem behavior.
Examination of Resurgence and Response Variability During Challenges to Treatment
(Applied Research)
William Sullivan (Dept. of Pediatrics, Upstate Medical University ), Valdeep Saini (Dept. of Pediatrics, Upstate Medical University ), Nicole M. DeRosa (Dept. of Pediatrics, Upstate Medical University ), HENRY S. ROANE (Dept. of Pediatrics, Upstate Medical University )
Abstract: Treatment of challenging behavior in individuals with developmental disabilities often involves withholding reinforcement for problem behavior (i.e., extinction) while simultaneously reinforcing an appropriate alternative behavior (i.e., differential reinforcement). Previous research has demonstrated that if reinforcement of the alternative behavior is reduced or eliminated (i.e., interruption of treatment), resurgence of problem behavior may occur. However, it is also possible that extinction-induced response variability (i.e., emergence of functionally related topographies of behavior) may also occur when reinforcement is withheld for previously reinforced responses. The current study sought to evaluate the occurrence of resurgence of problem behavior and extinction-induced response variability during a human operant arrangement in which an inactive control response was present and during clinical cases in which interruptions to treatment were programmed. Results suggested that resurgence and response variability may have an inverse relation when treatment is interrupted, such that if resurgence of problem behavior occurs, a child is less likely to display response variability and conversely, resurgence of problem behavior may not be as robust when a child engages in greater response variability. Clinical implications regarding the effects of treatment interruptions will be discussed.
Strategies to Mitigate the Recurrence of Problem Behavior Following Functional Communication Training
(Applied Research)
Wayne W. Fisher (University of Nebraska Medical Center), BRIAN D. GREER (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Ashley Marie Fuhrman (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Valdeep Saini (Dept. of Pediatrics, Upstate Medical University ), Christina Simmons (University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Abstract: Functional communication training (FCT) has strong empirical support for its use when treating socially reinforced problem behavior. However, treatment effects often deteriorate when FCT procedures are challenged, leading to the recurrence of problem behavior, decreased use of the functional communication response (FCR), or both (Mace et al., 2010; Volkert, Lerman, Call, & Trosclair-Lasserre, 2009; Wacker et al., 2011). Researchers have accordingly described a number of strategies to improve the efficacy of differential-reinforcement procedures (e.g., FCT) when challenged. For example, Wacker et al. (2011) assessed the maintenance of FCT-treatment effects by periodically exposing the FCR to periods of extinction and found that additional exposure to FCT helped guard against the disruptive impact of later periods of extinction. Basic researchers have described this and similar modifications to FCT procedures based on behavioral momentum theory (BMT) that should also help mitigate treatment relapse. Our research team has recently begun investigating these BMT-inspired modifications to FCT. In this presentation, I will share the results of our preliminary work in this area.
Reinforcers Control Behaviour Because of What They Signal About the Immediate Future
(Basic Research)
SARAH COWIE (The University of Auckland, New Zealand ), Jessica Catherine McCormack (The University of Auckland, New Zealand ), Paula Hogg (The University of Auckland, New Zealand), Javier Virues Ortega (The University of Auckland, New Zealand )
Abstract: The assumption that reinforcers strengthen behavior forms the foundation of many behavior-analytic interventions. However, recent basic research suggests that reinforcers control behavior because of what they signal about events that are likely to occur in the immediate future, rather than because they strengthen the behavior they follow. We extended an experimental paradigm used with non-human animals to study reinforcer control of choice in children. Seven typically developing children and one child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder played a game where opening one of two drawers would result in a reinforcer. The probability of the next reinforcer being obtained for opening the same drawer as had produced the last reinforcer was varied across conditions. Generally, children chose the drawer more likely to produce the next reinforcer, even on occasions when a different response had been reinforced in the preceding trial. This finding suggests that strengthening may be an unnecessary construct, and that a better understanding of how appetitive consequences control behaviour may be achieved using an alternative framework.



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