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.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Symposium #245
CE Offered: BACB
The Impact of Antecedent, Behavior, and Consequence Variables on Response Persistence
Sunday, May 30, 2021
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Area: DDA/PCH; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Rose Morlino (University of Georgia)
CE Instructor: Carolyn Trump, Ph.D.
Abstract: The long-term maintenance of treatment effects is necessary for successful intervention. However, practitioners cannot afford to wait until environmental variables change and hope the treatment effects last. Therefore, it is important to evaluate maintenance during treatment to determine the durability of effects. Nevin and Wacker (2013) suggests ways to evaluate maintenance of treatment effects through a behavioral momentum theory (BMT) framework. By using a BMT framework, researchers can quantify treatment maintenance as response persistence under conditions that challenge treatment (e.g., extinction). The following studies evaluated the effects of antecedent, behavior, or consequence variables on response persistence when treatment challenges occurred. During skill-acquisition or communication interventions with elementary-aged children with disabilities, researchers measured response persistence during treatment challenges such as extinction or the presence of distractors. Results indicate that antecedent, behavior, and consequence variables effect response persistence. Specifically, the use of verbal stimuli, high-preferred mand modalities, and high reinforcement rates or magnitudes increase the persistence of responses during treatment challenges.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): maintenance, response persistence, treatment relapse
Target Audience: BCBAs/Researchers
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe variables that affect response persistence; (2) provide examples of disruptors that can be used to test response persistence; and (3) broaden their understanding of the range of variables that can affect persistence, beyond reinforcement density.
They Were Warned, They Were Given an Explanation, Nevertheless, We Evaluated Response Persistence
CAROLYN TRUMP (University of Northern Colorado), Kevin Ayres (University of Georgia), Joel Eric Ringdahl (University of Georgia)
Abstract: Instead of simply observing an intervention’s effect over time (i.e., maintenance), Nevin and Wacker (2013) emphasized systematic methods to program and assess treatment durability. Specifically, the authors suggested evaluating response persistence after deliberately presenting treatment challenges (e.g., extinction, satiation, low procedural fidelity levels). Although various studies evaluate the effect of different contextual variables on response persistence, few studies evaluate the effect of verbal stimuli. Therefore, this study examined the effect of instructions compared to no-instructions on response persistence. This study included four kindergarten students receiving special education services. Following preference, reinforcer, and proficiency assessments, the researcher implemented a within-subject design to systematically assess response persistence when challenged by a distractor (i.e., preferred video clips). Results indicated inconsistent total response patterns (correct and incorrect responses) in both the instruction and no-instruction conditions, across participants. However, three out of four participants exhibited greater persistence of errors in the no-instruction condition, and all four participants displayed greater proportional error percentages in the no-instruction condition. This research expands the literature evaluating various components affecting response persistence and provides implications for future evaluations as well as considerations for applied settings.
The Potential Effects of Mand Preference on the Long-Term Maintenance of Functional Communication Training
COURTNEY MAUZY (University of Georgia), Joel Eric Ringdahl (University of Georgia), Wendy K. Berg (The University of Iowa), Kelly M. Schieltz (University of Iowa), Karla Zabala (University of Georgia), Rose Morlino (University of Georgia)
Abstract: Functional communication training (FCT; Carr & Durand, 1985) is the most frequently used reinforcement-based treatment to reduce problem behavior exhibited by individuals with developmental disabilities (Tiger, Hanley, & Bruzek, 2008). However, less is understood regarding long-term maintenance of FCT effects when treatment is disrupted. Nevin and Wacker (2013) suggested that maintenance might be best defined, based on Behavioral Momentum Theory (BMT), as the persistence of adaptive behavior and the lack of resurgence of problem behavior when challenges to treatment occur. Ringdahl and colleagues (2018) utilized this conceptual framework to evaluate the impact of variables related to response topography, specifically preference for mand modality, on the persistence of appropriate behavior. Results suggested using high-preferred mand modalities identified through a concurrent-operant preference assessment increased appropriate behavior persistence. However, the high-preferred mand contacted more overall reinforcement pairings as a by-product of the preference assessments. In the current study, we addressed this potential confound by equating the number of response-reinforcer pairings across response alternatives during the preference assessment in the context of communication-based interventions for three elementary-aged children with limited vocal repertoires. Current results indicate high-preferred mands were more persistent than low-preferred mands, replicating the findings of Ringdahl et al. (2018) while controlling for response-reinforcer pairings.
The Effect of Enhanced Reinforcement on Communication Persistence During Functional Communication Training
ROSE MORLINO (University of Georgia), Joel Eric Ringdahl (University of Georgia), Courtney Mauzy (University of Georgia), Karla Zabala (University of Georgia), Kelly M. Schieltz (University of Iowa), Wendy K. Berg (The University of Iowa)
Abstract: Response persistence is a necessary component of treatment maintenance, as described by Nevin and Wacker (2013). When treatment challenges (e.g., extinction) arise, responses that are the most resistant to change will maintain over-time. This outcome is advantageous when interventions included reinforcing appropriate behavior. Thus, it is important to access response persistence under different environmental arrangements to determine the durability of a treatment program. Previous studies have evaluated variables that may impact response persistence (e.g. preference for mand modalities). These studies show that preference effects persistence (Ringdahl et al., 2018). The current study sought to extend this literature and evaluate the effects of reinforcement arrangements following functional communication training (FCT). In this study, FCT was conducted with two elementary-aged children with disabilities and a minimal vocal repertoire. Once a communicative response was established, researchers evaluated the impact of reinforcement arrangements on the persistence of FCT during treatment challenges (e.g., extinction). Results indicated that reinforcement arrangements affected response persistence. Specifically, communication that contacted a higher rate or magnitude of reinforcement persisted longer than communication that contacted a lower rate or magnitude of reinforcement, replicating basic research findings from the behavioral momentum theory (BMT) literature.



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