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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #253
CE Offered: BACB
The Effect of Response Rate, Reinforcement Schedules, and Stimulus-Reinforcer Relations on Response Patterns During Extinction and Delays to Reinforcement
Sunday, May 26, 2019
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Swissôtel, Concourse Level, Zurich E-G
Area: EAB/DDA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Fabiola Vargas (University of Texas at Austin)
Discussant: Christopher A. Podlesnik (Florida Institute of Technology)
CE Instructor: Jennifer J. McComas, Ph.D.
Abstract: Response patterns during extinction or delays to reinforcement following functional communication training are of interest to those concerned about durable treatment effects. This symposium is comprised of four data-based presentations on the effect of response rate, reinforcement schedules, and stimulus-reinforcer relations on response patterns during extinction and delays to reinforcement. The studies presented are translational in nature and span basic human operant to applied investigations, all designed to improve our understanding of the effect of these variables on subsequent response patterns. Fabiola Vargas Londono will present first on the effect of response rate of functional communication responses (FCRs) on subsequent responding during extinction. Next, Jennifer McComas will present the results of a human operant study of the effect of a lag schedule of reinforcement on subsequent persistence and resurgence, followed by Kelly Schieltz who will present on the effects of stimulus-reinforcer relations on resurgence of problem behavior. Rachel Cagliani will present the final paper that demonstrates the effects of delays to reinforcement on FCRs. Finally, Christopher Podlesnik will discuss the papers in the context of translational research and future directions.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience: Scientist-practitioners, researchers, BCBA-Ds

Further Evaluations of the Effects of Response Rate on Resurgence of Responding in Individuals With Autism: A Translational Study

(Applied Research)
FABIOLA VARGAS LONDOÑO (UT-Austin), Terry S. Falcomata (The University of Texas at Austin), Andrea Ramirez-Cristoforo (The University of Texas at Austin ), Cayenne Shpall (Student)

Prior research has demonstrated that response rate pertaining to target responding can affect levels resurgence (e.g., Reed & Morgan, 2007; Da Silva, Maxwell, & Lattal, 2008). However, the effects of response rate have not been evaluated with clinically relevant populations. We conducted a two-experiment study in which we translated the results of Da Silva et al. (2008). In Experiment 1, we assessed resurgence of respective mands with distinct response rates (in Phase A) including a relative high response rate (i.e., under a FR 6 schedule of reinforcement) versus a relatively low response rate (i.e., under a FR 1 schedule of reinforcement) with an equal rate of reinforcement in individuals with autism. The results of Experiment 1 were idiosyncratic and inconsistent with basic findings. In Experiment 2, based on aspects of the findings in Experiment 1, we incorporated a discrimination procedure and subsequently evaluated relative resurgence of responding across conditions with different rates of responding. The results of Experiment 2 were consistent with the basic findings in that higher levels of resurgence were associated with higher rates of responding. Future avenues of research and potential implications of the current results will be discussed.

A Translational Evaluation of the Effects of a Lag Schedule on Resurgence of Target Responding and Persistence of Alternative Responding: An Analog of Functional Communication Training
(Basic Research)
JENNIFER J. MCCOMAS (University of Minnesota), Terry S. Falcomata (The University of Texas at Austin), Ashley Bagwell (University of Texas at Austin), Joel Eric Ringdahl (University of Georgia)
Abstract: Functional communication training (FCT) is one of the most commonly cited function-based treatments for problem behavior. However, FCT has been demonstrated to be susceptible to treatment relapse (i.e., resurgence) during challenges to treatment. One strategy for preventing and/or mitigating resurgence is the inclusion of multiple alternative responses during FCT. We evaluated the effects of reinforcing multiple alternative responses via lag schedules on the persistence and resurgence of responding within a human operant experimental preparation. We alternated two conditions across a 3-phase resurgence preparation. During Phase A, in both conditions, a target response was reinforced on a fixed ratio (FR) 1 schedule. During Phase B, target responding was on extinction in both conditions; an alternative response was reinforced on a FR 1 schedule in one condition and multiple responses were reinforced on a Lag 3 schedule in the other condition. During Phase C, all responses across both conditions were on extinction and we compared persistence of alternative responding and resurgence of targeting responding across conditions. The majority of subjects exhibited higher persistence of alternative responding and lower resurgence of target responding in the Lag schedule condition. Future avenues of research and potential implications of the current results will be discussed.
An Evaluation of Resurgence Following Functional Communication Training Conducted in Alternative Antecedent Contexts via Telehealth
(Applied Research)
KELLY M. SCHIELTZ (University of Iowa), Alyssa N. Suess (Trinity Health), David P. Wacker (The University of Iowa), Jessica Detrick (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Treatments based on differential reinforcement may inadvertently increase the recurrence of problem behavior when challenge conditions are encountered. The current study evaluated one potential solution to the possible strengthening effects of differential reinforcement treatments using methodology proposed by Mace et al. (2010). Participants were four children with autism spectrum disorder and treatment involved using telehealth to implement functional communication training (FCT) in three contexts with antecedent stimuli that had minimal histories of reinforcement for problem behavior before initiating FCT in the treatment context. Evaluations of the effects of treatment and tests of resurgence were conducted intermittently during treatment to evaluate maintenance, and to specifically compare the results to Wacker et al. (2011). The initial results of FCT treatment were comparable to Wacker et al. (2011) when treatment was initiated with alternative stimuli. Resurgence was reduced to similar levels during extinction challenges for all participants when compared to those achieved by Wacker et al., but clinically significant reductions in resurgence occurred more quickly in the present study
An Evaluation of Local Extinction Following Augmentative and Alternative Communication Mands on Response Variability
(Applied Research)
RACHEL CAGLIANI (University of Georgia), Kevin Ayres (University of Georgia), Joel Eric Ringdahl (University of Georgia)
Abstract: Carr and Kologinsky (1983) found that when mands contacted extinction individuals altered their responding to another mand modality. Several studies have further investigated the effect of response variability by demonstrating that altering parameters of reinforcement, specifically delay to reinforcement or temporary extinction, may result in individuals shifting their response allocation from AAC to vocalizations (Tincani, 2004; Tincani, Crozier, & Alazetta, 2006; Carbone, Sweeney-Kerwin, Attanasio, & Kasper, 2010; Gevarter et al., 2014). Delay to reinforcement serves as a temporary exposure to extinction; the individual responds and the therapist waits a pre-determined amount of time before delivering the reinforcer. The current study evaluated response variability when augmentative and alternative communication mands temporarily contacted extinction. Across three data sets, 6 of 8 individuals overall with autism spectrum disorder shifted their responding to vocalizations when the AAC mand contacted extinction temporarily. Researchers determined the appropriate delay to reinforcement through a parametric manipulation.



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