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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #197
CE Offered: BACB
Parametric Evaluations of Noncontingent Reinforcement to Improve Compliance and Decrease Challenging Behavior
Sunday, May 24, 2020
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, Level M4, Independence E
Area: EDC/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Stephanie Jones (West Virginia University)
Discussant: Yannick Andrew Schenk (May Institute)
CE Instructor: Yannick Andrew Schenk, Ph.D.

One variation of noncontingent reinforcement (NCR) involves delivering preferred items independently of responding. NCR is a common intervention for changing clinically significant behavior. However, few studies have evaluated the parameters that are necessary for NCR to be effective. This symposium includes within subject parametric evaluations assessing impacts of varying levels of treatment integrity during NCR and varying magnitude of NCR in applied settings. The first presentation includes two experiments in which commission and omission errors of varying degrees are superimposed on an effective NCR procedure with typically developing elementary school students. Effects of errors differed across error type and participants. The second presentation includes evaluations of effects of varying duration and quantity of noncontingent access to preferred items on compliance. All participants across both experiments exhibited more compliant behavior with higher magnitude noncontingent access. These parametric evaluations of NCR shed light on conditions under which NCR is an effective or ineffective behavioral intervention.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Noncontingent reinforcement, Parametric Evaluations, Treatment
Target Audience:

BCBAs Researchers


Effects of Reduced Integrity Implementation of Noncontingent Reinforcement on Disruptive Behavior

STEPHANIE JONES (West Virginia University), Claire C. St. Peter (West Virginia University)

Noncontingent reinforcement (NCR), which involves the delivery of reinforcers independently of responding, significantly decreases challenging behavior when implemented consistently. Less is known about effects of inconsistent implementation, although these inconsistencies are likely common. In Experiment 1, we evaluated effects of reinforcing 20% and 80% of challenging behavior during Noncontingent reinforcement for students who engaged in challenging behavior maintained by access to items. In Experiment 2, we evaluated effects of omitting 20% or 80% of scheduled noncontingent reinforcers on the likelihood of challenging behavior for the same participants. Challenging behavior consistently occurred during baseline. Consistent NCR suppressed challenging behavior by at least 75% relative to baseline. Effects of reduced integrity implementation differed across participants and error type.

The Effect of Varying Durations and Quantities of Noncontingent Access to Preferred Items on Compliance
HALLIE MARIE ERTEL (Florida Institute of Technology), Ashley Shuler (FIT), David A. Wilder (Florida Institute of Technology), Ansley Catherine Hodges (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: The high-probability (high-p) sequence is frequently used to increase compliance. It involves presentation of a series of instructions with which a participant has historically complied immediately before the presentation of an instruction that has a lower probability of compliance (i.e., a low-p instruction). To date, the high-p sequence has received mixed support in the literature. Thus, researchers have begun to investigate alternatives to the sequence, one of which involves omission of the high-p instructions and noncontingent access to preferred items immediately before the delivery of the low-p instruction. In the current study, the effect of varying durations and quantities of noncontingent access to a preferred item, prior to the delivery of a low-p instruction, was evaluated across two experiments. Participants included seven children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Multielement designs were used to evaluate the effects of noncontingent reinforcement (NCR) on compliance. In experiment 1, we provided three different durations of noncontingent access to preferred items immediately before delivering a low-p instruction: zero s, 30 s, and 3 min. In Experiment 2, we provided three different quantities of noncontingent access to preferred items: 5 edibles, 1 edible, and 0 edibles. Each experiment ended with a choice phase. The results show a greater increase in compliance during the higher durations and quantities of noncontingent access across all participants in both studies.



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