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 #322
CE Offered: BACB
Recent Translational Research Informing Treatments for Problem Behavior
Sunday, May 27, 2018
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Grand Hall C
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Ashley Marie Fuhrman (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute)
Discussant: Christopher A. Podlesnik (Florida Institute of Technology)
CE Instructor: Christopher A. Podlesnik, M.A.

It is important for the experimental and applied domains of behavior analysis to collaborate. Recent translational research has demonstrated that practitioners can use quantitative models and analog arrangements to improve applied treatments. The presentations in this symposium will discuss the implications of translational research for treatments for problem behavior. The symposium will consist of four presentations followed by comments from Dr. Christopher Podlesnik. First, Faris Kronfli will present on the use of the matching law to analyze a caregiver-training model. Next, Sarah Weinsztok will discuss the effects of reinforcer quality and magnitude in mitigating treatment degradation when integrity errors occur. Ryan Kimball will present on context renewal and discuss the implications for training for stimulus generalization. Finally, Dr. Andrew Craig will discuss research on behavioral momentum theory and its predictive validity for reducing resurgence of problem behavior.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): problem behavior, quantitative models, translational research
Target Audience:

Practitioners, faculty, graduate students, and professionals

Learning Objectives: Attendees will be able to: 1. Describe how the matching law can be used to analyze training models 2. Discuss the effects that reinforcer quality and magnitude can have on target behavior in the face of treatment-integrity errors 3. Describe context renewal and its implications for applied treatments 4. Discuss behavioral momentum theory and how it can be used to predict the resurgence of target behavior
A Quantitative Description of a Caregiver Training Model
FARIS RASHAD KRONFLI (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)
Abstract: We assessed and treated problem behavior with individuals diagnosed with autism and analyzed the data using the matching law. First, initial observations were conducted in the home to identify a pre-intervention measure of caregiver behavior. Second, functional analyses were conducted to identify contingencies maintaining problem behavior. Third, function-based interventions were implemented to reduce problem behavior and teach appropriate behavior. Fourth, caregivers were taught to implement the intervention followed by post-intervention observations in the home. Last, an analysis of the initial and post-intervention observations were conducted using the matching law. The matching law accurately described a shift in inappropriate behavior to appropriate behavior following caregiver training.

The Mitigating Effects of Reinforcer Magnitude and Quality on Treatment Degradation: A Translational Approach

SARAH WEINSZTOK (University of Florida), Iser Guillermo DeLeon (University of Florida), Brianna Laureano (University of Florida)

Treatment integrity errors, or any deviation from a treatment program, may be unavoidable in the natural environment and may be detrimental to the persistence of treatment effects. We devised an analogue preparation of differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) with young learners with ASD to investigate ways to mitigate treatment degradation when integrity errors occur. We parametrically increased combined omission and commission errors, and examined how the manipulation of reinforcer magnitude and reinforcer quality in favor of the alternative response affected responding as errors increased. Results indicate that higher magnitude or higher quality reinforcement for alternative behavior may have some mitigating effects when treatment degrades (i.e. the amount of treatment integrity errors increase), but that manipulation of reinforcer quality may be more effective than magnitude in doing so. Additionally, these manipulations may increase persistence of the alternative response even when schedules of reinforcement favor problem behavior. We discuss the implications for programming behavioral interventions for problem behavior.


Translational Evaluation of Operant ABA Renewal During Alternative Reinforcement: A Preliminary Investigation

RYAN KIMBALL (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute), Brian D. Greer (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute), Adam M. Briggs (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute)

Operant renewal is the reemergence of a previously extinguished behavior due to a change in stimulus context after extinction. Renewal is problematic in the context of the treatment of severe behavior disorders because destructive behavior may reemerge from simply transitioning from a treatment context to another context (e.g., home). In the current study, we examined a modified ABA renewal procedure in a translational format with analogue tasks. First, we reinforced target responding in Context A. Next, we concurrently extinguished target responding and differentially reinforced an alternative response in Context B. Finally, we tested for renewal of target responding in a return to Context A while extinction and differential reinforcement remained in place for target and alternative responding, respectively. Participants (diagnosed with ASD or other developmental disabilities) were exposed to both a typical ABA renewal procedure and the modified renewal procedure. For some participants, the results of the current experiment demonstrated the renewal of operant behavior despite the continued presence of extinction for target responding and the presence of differential reinforcement for an alternative response. The present findings spotlight the conditions under which context renewal occurs and provides evidence for further research on training for stimulus generalization.


On the Predictive Validity of Behavioral Momentum Theory for Reducing Resurgence of Problem Behavior

ANDREW R. CRAIG (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Wayne W. Fisher (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Brian D. Greer (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Billie Retzlaff (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Ashley Marie Fuhrman (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Katherine Lichtblau (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Valdeep Saini (Upstate Medical University)

Resurgence refers to recurrence of eliminated behavior when an alternative source of reinforcement is discontinued. This form of relapse poses unique challenges for maintenance of positive treatment effects following alternative-reinforcement based interventions for problem behavior. Behavioral momentum theory provides specific insights into procedural manipulations that should reduce the likelihood that problem behavior will resurge in the face of treatment challenges. For example, momentum theory suggests that resurgence should be reduced by using lower rates of reinforcement during treatment or longer periods of exposure to treatment. Further, presentation of either response-noncontingent reinforcers or stimuli associated with reinforcer unavailability after suspension of treatment should minimize resurgence. Four recently published studies that aimed to test one or more of these predictions will be reviewed. In each study, a treatment that was informed by momentum theory to reduce resurgence was compared to a control treatment using within-subject designs in individuals with developmental disabilities. Together, the results from these studies provide support for the predictions of behavioral momentum theory: In 75% of cases, resurgence was lower following the momentum-informed treatment than the control treatment. Implications of these findings for alternative-reinforcement based treatments will be discussed.




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