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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Paper Session #319
Conditioning Leisure Skills and Investigating Problem-Solving Tools
Sunday, May 24, 2020
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 1, Salon C
Area: DEV
Instruction Level: Basic
Chair: Ashley B. Greer (The Faison Center)

The Effects of Multiple Conditioning Treatments on the Increase of Appropriate Play With Leisure Items for Adolescents With Autism

Domain: Applied Research
Katherine M. Matthews (The Faison Center), ASHLEY B. GREER (The Faison Center), Amy Coleman (The Faison Center)

We conducted a study on increasing engagement of appropriate play with leisure items for 5 adolescents diagnosed with autism. Using a multiple baseline design, pre-intervention free operant probes were conducted to assess if participants engaged in appropriate play with leisure items, stereotypy, or passivity across 5-min free-play sessions. Participants who demonstrated a steady state of engagement with leisure items during free operant pre-probe sessions were selected for the intervention. The intervention included up to 3 levels of conditioning treatments to increase appropriate engagement with leisure items. Levels 1-3 ranged from least to most intrusive interventions, respectively. Level 1 intervention utilized operant conditioning procedures to teach appropriate play across a variety of leisure items. Level 2 intervention applied the stimulus-stimulus pairing procedure to condition the items as reinforcers. Level 3 intervention allowed contingent access to a pre-identified reinforcer during engagement of an unconditioned leisure item. The next level of intervention was implemented if the participant did not meet criteria of independently engaging with leisure items in free operant post-probe sessions. Emission of stereotypy was allowed across all intervention levels if the behavior did not interfere with the appropriate engagement of leisure items. Results for the study are ongoing.

Comparison of Words and Objects as Tools in Problem-Solving Tasks
Domain: Basic Research
MARIA ELENA RODRIGUEZ PEREZ (University of GUadalajara), Gerardo A Ortiz Rueda Rueda (Universidad de Guadalajara-Mexico), Elizabeth Lozano (University of Guadalajara), Carmen Quintana (University of Guadalajara)
Abstract: Objects and words can acquire a tool function in problem-solving tasks if their use meets three criteria: (1) it emphasizes stimulus properties, (2) it extends the organism skills, and (3) it mediates the solution to the problem. In order to compare the tool function of words and objects, a second-order matching to sample task was modified in such a way that a ruler could be used to stablish matching relations related to size (“similar width”, “different height”, etc.). In experiment 1, nine adults (university students) and nine 7-9 year-old-children participated. They were divided into three groups according to the order of training conditions: instrumental training using the ruler, instrumental training while receiving stimuli descriptions, or instrumental training. Results showed that neither the ruler nor the stimuli descriptions promoted correct responding. In experiment 2, a ruler was substituted by a set square. Verbal descriptions were also modified to promote relational responding ( “larger than”). Participants’ performance reached high percentages of correct responses especially when both, objects and words, were included in training. These results suggested that words and objects were equally efficient as tools. When children used them effectively, their performance resembled adult behavior.



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