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 #93
Evaluation and Implications of Individuals' Preferences for Electronics
Saturday, May 26, 2018
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Seaport Ballroom DE
Area: DDA/CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Catherine Lark (Marcus Autism Center; Louisiana State University)

Given our current technology-driven world, it is important to consider what effects technology has on individuals' behavior and development. This symposium provides a behavior analytic approach to assessing individuals' preferences for electronics while discussing the implications for later development. The symposium will begin with a presentation by Martin and colleagues examining the preference rankings of children with developmental disabilities for electronic items within preference assessments. Subsequently, Hoffmann and colleagues will present on the displacement of low-technology items by high-technology items in preference assessments for adults with disabilities and discuss what implications this has on the validity of the assessment. The symposium will close with a presentation by Bonilla and colleagues on the use of reinforcement delays to alter children's preferences from high-technology to low-technology items. In conclusion, the goal of this symposium is to provide an overview on the use of electronic items within preference assessments as well as discuss a way to shift individuals' preferences towards low-technology items.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Displacement, Electronics, Preference Assessment, Reinforcement Delay

Evaluating Preference for Electronics Compared to Other Items in Children With Intellectual and Developmental Delays

CLARISSA MARTIN (Marcus Autism Center), Karys Michaela Normansell (Marcus Autism Center), Mindy Christine Scheithauer (Marcus Autism Center)

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often display repetitive patterns of behavior and restricted interests. A preference for tangible items, especially electronic items, may be encompassed in these restricted interests. Past research has identified that individuals with developmental delays spend more leisure time on electronic devices compared to typically developing peers. However, this past research was based on caregiver report through surveys, and research on preference for electronic items in this population using direct observation is needed. The goal of this presentation is to present results from a consecutive case-series study of preference assessments conducted with children with intellectual and developmental disabilities who were admitted to a day treatment unit for the assessment and treatment of problem behavior. Data from over 50 participants demonstrated that electronic items, especially those for which there are multiple videos or games available (e.g., tablets), are consistently ranked higher than other tangible items in preference assessments. Implications for treatment settings that conduct preference assessments and identify preferred items for use as reinforcement are discussed.


The Displacement of Low-Tech Items by High-Tech Items During Multiple Stimulus Without Replacement Preference Assessments

AUDREY N. HOFFMANN (Johnson State College), Anna Brady (Utah State University), Ryan Paskins (Utah State University), Tyra P. Sellers (Utah State University)

Researchers have repeatedly found that some types of items (e.g. edibles) tend to displace other types of items (i.e., leisure items) during multiple stimulus without replacement (MSWO) preference assessments. Although anecdotal evidence suggests that high-tech items are frequently more preferred when combined with low-tech items during MSWO assessments, these two categories of items are often combined during assessments. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether or not preference hierarchies are affected by combining high- and low-tech stimuli in MSWO preference assessments. We conducted an assessment using all low-tech items, then using all high-tech items. We then conducted a combined assessment to test for displacement. The results indicated that the high-tech items displaced low-tech items for five of eight participants. Subsequent reinforcer assessments demonstrated similar levels of responding for the highest preferred high-tech and low-tech items, providing evidence that the combined assessment may provide inaccurate results due to displacement.


Identifying Children's Preference in Toys and Encouraging Low-Tech Toy Use With Reinforcement Delays

SOFIA BEATRIZ LATORRE (University of South Florida), Andrew L. Samaha (University of South Florida), Yuram Kim (University of South Florida), Sarah E. Bloom (University of South Florida)

Children's overuse of high-technology, including an overuse of screen time, negatively affects their development including attention span and sleep, and it competes other beneficial activities like exercise, as well as social and academic experiences. This study compared the results of two assessments for describing children's preferences for high- and low-tech activities, assessed the degree to which children preferred high-tech activities, and evaluated an intervention for changing those preferences. In this study, subjects were encouraged to reduce the amount of screen time available by selecting low-tech toys. First, Experiment 1 identified children's preference for high or low-tech toys and tested if parents could predict their preference using a survey tool. Experiment 2 evaluated if delaying access to high-tech toys would affect the child's toy selection. Results indicated parents were able to make modest predictions about their child's preferences, all children showed a preference for high-tech toys over low-tech toys, and all children's preferences shifted toward low-tech toys once therapeutic delays were implemented for choosing high-tech toys.




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