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 #259
CE Offered: BACB
Evaluating the Effects of Pre-Session Pairing as an Antecedent Manipulation
Sunday, May 27, 2018
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Seaport Ballroom H
Area: AUT/PRA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Leny D. Velasquez Velasquez (Centre for Autism Services Alberta)
Discussant: Mychal Machado (University of Alaska Anchorage)
CE Instructor: Leny D. Velasquez Velasquez, Ph.D.

Early intervention literature recommends the use of pairing at the onset of treatment and as a component of ongoing therapy. Pre-session pairing is designed to function as an antecedent intervention to improve the therapeutic environment by decreasing interfering behavior during structured teaching (e.g., discrete trial teaching). Pre-session pairing consists of multiple types of interactions between a therapist and client in an unstructured format (e.g., play) and procedures are described as a therapist delivering preferred tangible items and/or activities to a client prior to introducing demands. Given the frequency with which pre-session pairing is utilized in clinical practice, the empirical support for the procedure is limited. It is currently unknown how pre-session pairing functions as an antecedent manipulation. The current symposium aims to further clarify the procedures effect on motivating operations and behaviors that are evoked by said motivating operations. The first study examined how pre-session pairing affects motivating operations for social positive and social negative reinforcement through the use of a progressive-ratio schedule. The second study examined how three therapeutic conditions (pre-session pairing, free play, and DTI-only) implemented as antecedent interventions can affect rates of acquisition of skills commonly targeted in early intervention programming.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): antecedent manipulations, pre-session pairing, progressive ratio
Target Audience:

Practitioners and individuals in academia are the target audience for this talk.

Learning Objectives: Attendees will learn procedural components of pre-session pairing. Attendees will learn how pre-session pairing can function as an antecedent manipulation. Attendees will learn how to conduct a progressive-ratio schedule assessment.
Effects of Pre-Session Pairing on the Value of Social Positive and Negative Reinforcement
(Applied Research)
ASHLEY MARIE LUGO (Southeast Missouri State University), Natalia Giuffra (ABA Consulting Services)
Abstract: Pre-session pairing is a rapport building procedure implemented immediately prior to an instructional session. Although several studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of pre- session pairing as an antecedent intervention, the underlying mechanisms that make pre-session pairing successful are still unknown. The purpose of the present study was to examine how pre- session pairing functioned as a motivating operation manipulation. This study used a progressive ratio (PR) reinforcer assessment to quantify the reinforcing value of attention and escape for three typically developing preschool aged children. Three experimental conditions were alternated during the multielement phase. The conditions were: pre-session pairing + progressive ratio (PSP+PR), unstructured free play + progressive ratio (FP+PR), and progressive ratio only (PR Only). Dependent measures included breaking point, cumulative frequency, and items put away independently. Results from the attention arrangement suggested pre-session pairing decreased the value of attention and abated attention maintained behavior. Results from the escape arrangement were inconclusive as patterns of responding differed across all participants.
Evaluating the Effects of Pre-Session Pairing on Skill Acquisition
(Applied Research)
ALLISON JEANETTE WOLZ (Southeast Missouri State University), Ashley Marie Lugo (Southeast Missouri State University), Lacey Duckworth (Southeast Missouri State University), Melissa L. King (Southeast Missouri State University Autism Center)
Abstract: Pairing procedures have been demonstrated to be effective in reducing social avoidance and challenging behavior often exhibited during instructional sessions. However, no studies conducted thus far have examined how pairing conducted pre-session (i.e., pre-session pairing) can affect acquisition of novel tasks. This is particularly relevant, as pre-session pairing is a antecedent intervention commonly utilized in early intervention programming. The present study utilized an adapted alternating treatments design to compare the effects of pre-session pairing to two alternative therapeutic conditions (i.e., free play and DTI-only) on acquisition of tasks commonly found in early intervention programming.



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