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.


49th Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2023

Event Details

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Symposium #253
CE Offered: BACB
Recent Translational Investigations Examining Resurgence-Mitigation Strategies
Sunday, May 28, 2023
5:00 PM–6:50 PM
Hyatt Regency, Centennial Ballroom C
Area: EAB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Carla N Martinez-Perez (University of Florida)
Discussant: Andrew R. Craig (SUNY Upstate Medical University)
CE Instructor: Charlene Nicole Agnew, Ph.D.

Resurgence is the recurrence of a previously extinguished target response (i.e., problem behavior) following a worsening of conditions for a more recently reinforced alternative response through differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA). Researchers across the basic-applied continuum rigorously examine the behavioral processes related to resurgence and provide a better understanding of this phenomenon. Thus, this symposium incorporates recent research evaluating potential mitigation strategies across basic and applied researchers. To start, two presentations will examine data using rats as subjects. The first presentation will examine resurgence following an expanded-operant treatment through DRA. The following presentation investigates alcohol consumption through differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) treatment. The following presentation investigates the use of response cost as punishment for target responses during DRA with data collected via crowdsourcing and provides a meta-analytic review of the effects of these results. The last presentation re-evaluates and extends a prior study on treatment duration on the resurgence of destructive behavior within a clinical setting. Audience members will gain insight into variables that may contribute to treatment relapse in both the laboratory and the clinic. Dr. Kathryn Kestner will provide a discussion.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): mitigation, relapse, resurgence, translational research
Target Audience:

The target audience is graduate students, and faculty doing research in laboratory models of treatment relapse such as resurgence. A basic understanding of the literature on relapse and training conceptualizing experimental procedures of resurgence is recommended.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to identify different resurgence mitigation strategies; describe the purpose of examining variables that contribute to resurgence of problem behavior; discuss recent empirical data on resurgence.

Examining Punishment of Target Behavior on Resurgence: A Parametric Study of Response Cost and Meta-Analysis

(Basic Research)
CARLA N MARTINEZ-PEREZ (University of Florida), Carolyn Ritchey (Auburn University), Toshikazu Kuroda (Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International), Kyleigh Montague (University of Florida), Christopher A. Podlesnik (University of Florida)

Resurgence occurs when a worsening of conditions for an alternative response increases a previously reinforced and subsequently extinguished target response. Researchers have evaluated the extent of resurgence-mitigation strategies by punishing target responses during conditions that differentially reinforce an alternative response (i.e., DRA) across different punishers (e.g., shock, response cost, timeouts) and species (e.g., rats, pigeons, fish, humans). We systematically replicated this line of research with human participants recruited via crowdsourcing using response cost as punishment. In Phase 1, we reinforced target responses with points exchangeable for money and did not reinforce alternative responses. In Phase 2, we reinforced alternative responses and parametrically manipulated the magnitude of point loss (-1, -100, -320, -1000) contingent upon target responses. During Phase 3, we arranged a resurgence test by extinguishing target and alternative responses. The results of this experiment suggest similar resurgence effects across groups. The second study was a meta-analytic review to compare the effects of these results to literature that included punishment of target response during Phase 2, across a range of punishers and species. The results of the meta-analysis suggest that including a punishment contingency reduces target responding during Phase 2 but the effects on resurgence are mixed.

Further Evaluation of Treatment Duration on the Resurgence of Destructive Behavior
(Applied Research)
JESSICA L FRENCH (Rutgers University - Rutgers University - Children's Specialized Hospital Center for Autism Research, Education, and Services), Brian D. Greer (Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School), Timothy A. Shahan (Utah State University), Wayne W. Fisher (Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School), Daniel R. Mitteer (Rutgers University (RUCARES)), Ashley Marie Fuhrman (Trumpet Behavioral Health)
Abstract: Translation of promising procedures for mitigating treatment relapse has received considerable attention recently from researchers across the basic–applied continuum. One procedure that has demonstrated mixed support involves increasing the duration of treatment as a strategy for blunting resurgence. In a recent translational study, Greer et al. (2020) failed to detect a mitigation effect of increased treatment duration on the resurgence of destructive behavior. However, design limitations may have been responsible. The present study corrected these limitations by (a) employing a sequential design to decrease the possibility of multiple-treatment interference, (b) evaluating more treatment durations, (c) arranging treatments of fixed durations, and (d) conducting treatments of more extreme duration in a different clinical sample. Despite these improvements in experimental rigor and the testing of more extreme boundary conditions, the present study also failed to detect a mitigation effect of increased treatment duration. Likely explanations are discussed.

Voluntary Abstinence From Ethanol Self-Administration Produced by Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior

(Basic Research)
CHARLENE NICOLE AGNEW (Proud Moments ABA), Kate Elizabeth Derrenbacker (Upstate Cerebral Palsy), Beatriz Elena Arroyo Antunez (SUNY Upstate Medical University), William Sullivan (Golisano Children's Hospital & Center for Special Needs; SUNY Upstate Medical University), Henry S. Roane (Upstate Medical University and Elemy Autism Care), Andrew R. Craig (SUNY Upstate Medical University)

Treatments for alcohol use disorders such as contingency management may result in an individual abstaining from alcohol consumption while treatment is in place. However, once treatment is discontinued, resurgence of alcohol consumption may occur. Laboratory investigations of resurgence with alcohol self-administration allow for the development of a better understanding of this phenomenon. However, many laboratory investigations involve extinction of alcohol-seeking, which may have questionable face validity as alcohol is freely available in most applied contexts during treatment and therefore abstinence is voluntary. In this study, a resurgence paradigm without extinction for ethanol seeking was used to study alcohol consumption in rats. During baseline, rats were provided with access to ethanol contingent on lever pressing. Treatment consisted of differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO). Here, food pellets were delivered following intervals with no lever pressing. During resurgence tests, both ethanol and food were unavailable. DRO treatment was successful at decreasing ethanol seeking to zero and near-zero levels for most rats. Resurgence of ethanol seeking did occur to various degrees. The findings and implications of this study are discussed through the lens of treatments for alcohol use disorder.

Examining Resurgence in Rats Following Expanded-Operant Treatments
(Basic Research)
ANTHONY NATHAN NIST (Utah State University), Timothy A. Shahan (Utah State University)
Abstract: Resurgence of previously reinforced behavior represents a challenge to otherwise successful differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) based interventions. Expanded-operant treatments seek to increase the number of functional alternative behaviors through DRA, thereby potentially mitigating resurgence. However, few studies exist that have directly examined these methods as a tool for resurgence mitigation providing limited and unclear results. As such, the present set of experiments were designed to investigate the impact of expanded-operant DRA methods on resurgence of previously reinforced behavior using rat subjects. In both experiments, groups of rats experienced either concurrent, serial, or single DRA interventions following a baseline phase in which a target response was trained to examine potential differences in resurgence. Additionally, primacy/recency effects in the Serial group were examined by arranging slight differences in the presence or absence of stimuli associated with alternative reinforcement during DRA across experiments. Both experiments showed that neither serial nor concurrent DRA had any effect on resurgence compared to single DRA when obtained reinforcement rates were similar across groups. Further, despite differences in stimuli arrangements across experiments, the Serial group showed a primacy effect in both experiments. Overall, these results suggest that expanded-operant treatments may not help to reduce resurgence.



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