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 #154
Basic and Applied Advances and Digitization of Relational Framing Procedures for Persons With Autism
Sunday, May 28, 2023
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 4E/F
Area: AUT/EAB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Mikayla Campbell (Utah Valley University)
Discussant: Caleb Stanley (Utah Valley University)
CE Instructor: Zhihui Yi, M.S.

This symposium will span multiple novel and innovative areas in the delivery of relational training (RT) procedures. The presentations will include 1) basic research that compares fixed and mixed presentation during relational training and their efficacy in promoting the emergence of derived relational responding (DRR); 2) an applied study comparing traditional table-top RT and computer-assisted RT in learner engagement and robustness in DRR; 3) applied study using alternating treatment design comparing learner outcomes between table-top pen-and-paper RT and computer-assisted RT which involves a custom-built electronic data collection (EDC) system and computer-assisted RT instructions; and finally 4) an exploratory randomized controlled trial evaluating the effect of the same custom-built system on learner and staff outcomes among eight students receiving RT as part of their Individualized Education Programs (IEP) in a public school setting. Implications for improving and optimizing the delivery of RT procedures will be discussed. In sum, presentations 1-3 seek to expand research in parameters optimizing RT procedures through basic and applied research, while presentation 4 seeks to investigate the real-world impact of the above findings.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Electronic Data-Collection, PEAK, Relational Training
Target Audience:

Behavior analysts, students, and faculty

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe differing outcomes between mixed and blocked RT procedures; (2) describe outcomes of computer-assisted RT and EDC; (3) compare the differences between pen-and-paper table-top RT and computer-assisted RT with EDC.
Rates of Learning Under Fixed- and Mixed-Operant Arrangements: Adult Performance on Computer-Based Discrete Trial Tasks
CRAIG A MARRER (Endicott College), Mark R. Dixon (Endicott College)
Abstract: Discrete trial training remains a common intervention procedure within applied behavior analysis. However, a variety of procedural variations have arisen within applied practice, some of which do not appear to be directly related to applied research. The current study investigated the effects of fixed- and mixed-operant instructional arrangements on rates of learning with adult participants. A group design was used in which participants completed matching and listener discrimination training with arbitrary stimuli via a computer program across both operant arrangements. Results indicate that rates of learning were better during fixed-operant training compared to a mixed-operant training. These preliminary results suggest the need for additional examination of procedures commonly used within applied practice, especially those that do not seem to be emergent from the experimental literature.
Comparing the Effectiveness of Traditional and Automated Relational Frame Training on Client Engagement
MEREDITH T. MATTHEWS (University of Illinois at Chicago), Zhihui Yi (Univeristy of Illinois Chicago), Mark R. Dixon (University of Illinois Chicago), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University)
Abstract: Discrete trial training (DTT) is an extremely widely used and highly supported method of teaching skills by breaking them down into smaller, chain-like increments through the use of reinforcement using preferred items. Match to sample training procedures presented in a DTT format have been documented to promote derived relational responding. While traditional DTT is long supported, using physical stimuli can become repetitive and redundant, can reduce the efficiency during trial blocks, and often consumes far more time and resources when compared to similar gamified programs. We utilized an alternating treatment design across three programs to determine if a computerized version of PEAK reaches the same or better outcomes when compared to the traditional DTT delivery mode. The programs selected were novel to the learner to ensure that no previous relationships had been established, and each set contained unique stimuli to ensure that no symbols received reinforcement from the other trials. The present study sought to assess the effects of computer-assisted relational training against the traditional tabletop relational training delivery mode through the robustness of derived relational responding, percentage of independent correct responding, as well as frequency measures of inattention during trial blocks. Implications of applying an automated, computer-assisted form of relational training versus the traditional tabletop relational training delivery mode alone are discussed.
Comparing Traditional and Automated PEAK Programming on Client and Staff Outcomes: PowerPEAK
CLAIRE M ZUCH (Missouri State University), Meredith T. Matthews (University of Illinois at Chicago), Kaylee Liley (Missouri State University), Lindsey Nicole Holtsman (Emergent Learning STL Center ), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University)
Abstract: The long-standing traditional approach to DTT utilizes physical stimuli which can become monotonous for participants and can decrease efficacy in programming when compared to similar programs that has been gamified. While these effects are true for participants, traditional DTT programming can become redundant or repetitive to clinician while consuming more time than programs which have been automated. The first study utilized an alternating design across five participants comparing the robustness of derived relational responding (DRR), percentage of correct responding, as well as frequency of inattention through traditional DTT procedures against an automated form of DTT. Participant’s results demonstrated similar outcomes when using traditional and automated DTT programming. The second study provides an extension off the first by comparing fidelity of treatment implementation by clinicians, duration of individual program, and total programs completed through traditional DTT procedures against automated DTT procedures in an alternating treatment design. Efficiency in automated programming is demonstrated by the decrease of program duration and increase of total programs completed when compared to traditional programming. Both studies demonstrate the potential for automation to advance the field forward in the localized context of a clients programming and in the broader context of efficiency in programming for clinicians.

The Digital Revolution: Comparing Staff and Learner Outcomes of Computer-Assisted Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Relational Frame Training of Children With Autism and Related Disabilities

ZHIHUI YI (Univeristy of Illinois Chicago), Jennifer Koenig (Highland Community Unit School District #5), Mark R. Dixon (University of Illinois Chicago)

There has been an increasing presence using electronic data collection (EDC) among applied behavior analysis (ABA) services. Studies show that both generic and custom-built proprietary software can effectively and accurately collect behavior data similar to traditional pen-and-paper data collection. The current study extended previous findings in evaluating the efficacy of a custom-built EDC during relational frame training based on the PEAK curriculum, given its unique procedures (e.g., scoring, relational training procedures, etc.). Eight participants were randomly assigned to two groups (Experiment VS Control), and over the course of three weeks, participants received PEAK-based relational training as part of their Individualized Education Program (IEP). After week 1, participants in the Experiment Group transitioned to the EDC, where teachers and staff used the custom-built EDC in delivering ABA services. Results show a significant interaction between group assignment and time (p < .006). The total duration needed to complete all assigned programs for participants in the Experiment Group significantly decreased after the transition to EDC (p = .003) and maintained at the reduced level in week 3 (p = .862). No significant changes were observed for participants in the Control Group (p = .676). Implications for using EDC to assist relational training were discussed.




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