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 #218
CE Offered: BACB
Laboratory Studies Assessing Clinically Relevant Approaches to Understanding Resurgence
Sunday, May 26, 2019
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
Swissôtel, Concourse Level, Zurich E-G
Area: EAB/DDA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Marissa Kamlowsky (Florida Institute of Technology )
Discussant: Kelly M. Schieltz (University of Iowa)
CE Instructor: Kelly M. Schieltz, Ph.D.
Abstract: Resurgence is the return of a previously extinguished response due to a discontinuation or reduction in availability of an alternative source of reinforcement. This symposium presents laboratory research relevant to application using human and nonhuman animals. Overall, these presentations cover variables influencing resurgence that could be relevant to the likelihood of relapse under clinical situations. Several presentations examine how manipulations that increase the generality from differentially reinforcing the alternative behavior potentially mitigate resurgence of target responding. The first two presentations assess resurgence when the extinction test for resurgence either includes or does not include stimuli previously paired with alternative reinforcement. Similarly, the third presentation examines two different approaches to mitigating resurgence by introducing extinction of alternative behavior during differential reinforcement of alternative behavior and the presence or absence of delivering a distinct reinforcer for alternative behavior during the resurgence test. The final presentation examines a novel approach to assessing resurgence by examining resurgence of specific strategies for solving mathematical problems.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): relapse mitigation, resurgence, translational research, treatment relapse
Target Audience: Practitioners, teachers, applied researchers, translational researchers, and basic researchers
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to define relapse and resurgence, describe some techniques aimed to mitigate resurgence, and state the clinical applications of resurgence studies involving rats as well as university students.

A Comparison of Resurgence During Extinction With and Without Conditioned Reinforcement

(Basic Research)
ANTHONY OLIVER (West Virginia University ), Kennon Andy Lattal (West Virginia University)

Resurgence is the transient recurrence of a previously reinforced, but not currently occurring activity, when reinforcement conditions of some ongoing Alternative response are worsened. The degree to which reinforcement conditions need to be worsened to evoke resurgence, however, is not fully understood. This experiment assessed resurgence when the Alternative response was extinguished, in different phases, when an empty food hopper was presented dependent on keypecking and when the hopper presentations were omitted. Three pigeons were exposed to a three-phase resurgence procedure in which the Resurgence Test phase consisted of a single 6-hr session. Two cycles of the three-phase procedure were studied. During the first cycle Resurgence test, hopper presentations (without food) were delivered according to a VR 40 schedule of reinforcement during the Resurgence Test session. During the second cycle Resurgence Test session, the Resurgence Test occurred without any consequence for Alternative responses, that is, conventional extinction. Resurgence occurred during both Resurgence test conditions; however, generally more resurgence occurred in the absence of the hopper presentations and the time course of resurgence differed between the two conditions.

Using Auditory Extinction Cues to Mitigate Resurgence
(Basic Research)
SAMUEL SHVARTS (Florida Institute of Technology; The May Institute ), Rachel Thomas (Florida Institute of Technology ), James J Oskam (Florida Institute of Technology ), Corina Jimenez-Gomez (The Scott Center for Autism Treatment, Florida Institute of Technology), Christopher A. Podlesnik (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Resurgence is a laboratory model of treatment relapse revealing the effects of Treatment integrity errors on problem behavior eliminated through treatment with differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA). This study took a translational approach to assess the effects of an auditory extinction cue to mitigate resurgence of target responding in children with autism using arbitrary responses to simulate target and alternative responding. The auditory cue was a recorded praise statement and was introduced in Phase 2 and remained in one of the test conditions in Phase 3. In 8 of 12 resurgence test comparisons (with and without the e-cue), responding was mitigated in the e-cue condition compared to the typical resurgence condition. Incorporating a praise statement within DRA treatment could maintain alternative responding while mitigating resurgence of the target response when the reinforcer is not available. This translational study connects applied research examining praise and basic research examining extinction cues to examine a novel DRA treatment strategy.

Resurgence in Humans: Increasing Generalization Between Treatment and Testing Reduces Relapse

(Basic Research)
ERIC A. THRAILKILL (University of Vermont, Department of Psychological Science), Mark E. Bouton (University of Vermont, Department of Psychological Science)

Resurgence is the increase in performance of an extinguished instrumental (operant) response that coincides with the extinction of a response that had been reinforced to replace it. Resurgence may involve processes relevant to relapse in applied and clinical behavioral interventions. While resurgence is a robust phenomenon in human operant extinction, the processes that control it remain unclear. We examined whether methods that reduce resurgence in animals also reduce it in humans. Undergraduate participants first learned to emit an operant response (R1) for a reinforcing outcome (snack food; O1). In a second phase (Phase 2), extinction was introduced for R1 and a second response (R2) was simultaneously introduced and reinforced with a monetary reward (USD $0.10 coins; O2). In a test phase, extinction was then introduced for R2 and resurgence of R1 was assessed. In Experiment 1, periodic exposure to R2 extinction during Phase 2 attenuated resurgence. In Experiment 2, response-independent presentations of O2, but not O1, during the test prevented resurgence. The results identify a role for generalization from Phase 2 to the test in determining resurgence in humans. Evidence suggests that resurgence may result from common processes in animals and humans, and it supports a contextual account of resurgence.

Resurgence of Problem Solving
(Basic Research)
CATHERINE STEPHENS (West Virginia University), Claire C. St. Peter (West Virginia University)
Abstract: Resurgence is the recurrence of a previously reinforced response after a more recently reinforced response is placed on extinction. Resurgence may explain why problem behavior recurs after initially successful treatment. However, resurgence may also explain how adaptive behavior recurs to solve problems. The aim of this study was to determine if resurgence occurred when a student was asked to solve quadratic equations. Each participant was taught two methods of solving quadratic equations. We reinforced different problem-solving methods across three phases. In the first phase, only simple factoring was reinforced. In the second phase, only the AC method was reinforced (simple factoring was placed on extinction). In the third phase, neither method was reinforced (both on extinction). The AC method was used primarily to solve problems in the extinction phase. For one participant, simple factoring, in combination with other methods, was also used, demonstrating resurgence during problem solving. There may be variables such as changes in context and reinforcement history controlling responding during problem solving. Future research should investigate the role of these variables.



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