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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Symposium #455
Persistence of Operant Responding: Some Basic and Translational Results
Monday, May 28, 2018
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, San Diego Ballroom B
Area: EAB/AAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Kenneth David Madrigal-Alcaraz (Universidad de Guadalajara (CEIC))
Discussant: Andrew R. Craig (University of Nebraska Medical Center)

Clinical practitioners have been challenged by the relative persistence of behavior reported during and after treatment. For instance, they report difficulties when trying to extinguish a response or when relapse is shown by means of removing the contextual stimuli present during treatment. The studies in this symposium will present some data from basic research, that could provide some information about the variables involved in resistance to change and renewal. Podlesnik et al examined whether changing the stimulus context could produce relapse of an alternative response even when DRA contingencies remained in place during Phase 3. Madrigal et al examined the effects of different types of reinforcers and unsignaled/signaled delayed reinforcers on resistance to extinction. Texeira et al assesed the effects of different response-reinforcer dependencies and contingencies on response rates on resistance to change. Al assessed the effects of the alternation of the frequency and magnitude parameter in two experiments using a multiple-schedule on resistance to change. Overall, these findings provide a wide view of the complexity of behavior and its persistence. Andrew Craig, our discussant, will discuss the implications of such findings in applied settings.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Multiple schedules, Persistance, Renewal
Effects of Context Change in the Presence and Absence of Differential Reinforcement: Basic and Translational Investigations
MADELEINE DIANE KEEVY (University of Nebraska Medical Center), John Bai (University of Auckland), Christopher A. Podlesnik (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Resurgence and renewal are laboratory models of treatment relapse revealing the effects of treatment integrity errors and context change on problem behavior eliminated through treatment with differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA). Study 1 evaluated relapse of target responding when pigeons were exposed to changes in stimulus conditions, changes in the contingency for alternative responding, and a combination of the two. Greater relapse was observed when the pigeons were exposed to the combination of context change and extinction for alternative responding. Study 2 used translational methods to assess the effects of context change (renewal) after DRA with and without extinction in the form of treatment integrity errors (resurgence) on relapse in children with autism. Phase 3 tested for relapse when the participant was returned to the original context (A). In one Phase 3 condition (100%), DRA treatment was continued as in Phase 2. In the other condition (0%) the participant was exposed to extinction of alternative responding, modeling errors of omission. For all participants, resurgence of target responding was greater in the 0% condition compared to the 100% condition. This study revealed resurgence of target behavior is greater when context change is combined with breakdowns in treatment integrity.

Resistance to Change and the Alternation of Multiple-Schedule Components

RAQUEL MOREIRA ALÓ (Universidade de Brasília, Brazil), Felipe Marques de Oliveira Rodrigues (Universidade de Brasília, Brazil)

Our goal is to investigate the effects of the alternation parameters of multiple-schedule components on resistance to change. In Experiments 1 and 2, rats are exposed to rich- and lean-schedule components, created by manipulating the VI values (reinforcement frequency) and the amount of condensed milk delivered per reinforcemer cycle (reinforcement magnitude), respectively. Overall, the rich component delivers 3-4 times more condensed milk than the lean component. These ongoing experiments consist of conditions comprised of one Baseline and one Satiation-test phase. Across phases, a 2-s intercomponent-interval separates multiple-schedule components. Conditions differ in the number of alternations and the duration of the multiple-schedule components per session. These parameters vary between 239 alternations and 10 s per component, and 1 alternation and 20 min per component. All conditions have the same total duration of exposure to each component in each session. Condition order is counterbalanced across subjects, but all start with a 2-min schedule-component alternation. Generally, greater resistance to change was found in the richer component in both experiments in the first condition. The results of these parametric analyses will clarify the role of component duration in modulating the direct relation between resistance to change and reinforcement frequency and magnitude.


The Effects of Quality and Delay of Reinforcement in Resistance to Extinction

KENNETH DAVID MADRIGAL ALCARAZ (Universidad de Guadalajara (CEIC)), Cinthia Hernandez (Universidad de Guadalajara (CEIC)), Carlos Javier Flores Aguirre (Universidad de Guadalajara (CEIC))

Response-reinforcer relations established during baseline training are known to have an effect on resistance to extinction. For instance, when a high frequency of food is delivered in one of two components, subjects responding is more resistant when responding is placed on extinction. Therefore, since differences in resistance to extinction can be observed by means of manipulating a reinforcer parameter (i.e. frequency), it might be possible to also observe differences when delivering different types of reinforcers or by their delayed delivery. Experiment 1 assessed resistance to extinction using a two-component multiple schedule, where each component was correlated to sugar or food-grained pellet deliveries upon lever-pressing in rats. Experiment 2 assessed resistance to extinction using a three-component multiple schedule, where each component was correlated with the Immediate, 5s Unsignaled and Signaled delay food deliveries in rats. In both experiments, different response rates were observed during baseline. Also, during extinction, a greater resistance to extinction was observed in the Food component (Experiment 1) and the Unsignaled Delay component (Experiment 2). The results suggest that temporal contiguity does not seem to play a crucial role in resistance to extinction; nevertheless, further testing should be considered.


Response-Reinforcer Dependency, Response Rates and Resistance to Change: Further Experimental Analyses

Ítalo Teixeira (Universidade de Brasilia, Brazil), CARLOS CANÇADO (Universidade de Brasilia, Brazil)

The effects of different response-reinforcer dependencies and contingencies on response rates on resistance to change were assessed in an experiment with rats. In baseline, reinforcers occurred at similar rates after variable interreinforcer intervals in each component of a two-component multiple schedule. The dependency was 100% in one component, and 30% (in the first condition) and 20% (in the second condition) in the other. A tandem variable-interval differential-reinforcement-of-low-rate schedule was in effect in the component with 100% dependency to produce lower response rates in this component than in the component with lower dependency. Extinction was in effect in each schedule component during the test. In baseline, in both conditions, response rates were lower in the higher dependency component. Also, in both conditions, resistance to extinction generally was greater in the higher dependency (and lower baseline response rate) component. These results are consistent with those of previous studies in which differential resistance to change occurred as a function of procedures that altered baseline response rates. In addition, they suggest that there might be a functional similarity between manipulations of the response-reinforcer relation by means of different percentages of dependency and different schedules of reinforcement in determining resistance to change.




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