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 #335
CE Offered: BACB
Behavior Under Shifting Conditions of Reinforcement
Monday, May 29, 2023
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Hyatt Regency, Centennial Ballroom C
Area: EAB/AUT; Domain: Translational
Chair: Chata A. Dickson (New England Center for Children)
CE Instructor: Chata A. Dickson, Ph.D.
Abstract: This symposium features translational research evaluating behavior under shifting conditions of reinforcement. Two of the studies were conducted in outdoor settings with typically developing adults serving as participants. One of these evaluated effects of effort on resurgence of shooting a basketball from a location previously correlated with reinforcement. The other investigated resurgence of dwelling in an experimentally defined unmarked location within an 84m-squared area. In both cases, resurgence occurred consistently across repeated measures. The third study compared effects of two treatment conditions on cooperation with transitions from more-preferred to less-preferred activities. Children with autism served as participants, and the activities were similar to those they encountered daily at their school. Collectively, the studies showcase procedures for evaluating and affecting behavior in transition states.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): activity transitions, behavioral resurgence
Target Audience: Attendees should have an understanding of schedules of reinforcement and behavior analytic experimental procedures.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, if asked, participants will (1) define resurgence and describe the commonly used three-phase test for resurgence (2) describe the potential impact of remote histories of reinforcement on responding under extinction (3) describe how response effort may impact resurgence (4) describe the conditions under which transitions between activities may be problematic with respect to negative incentive shift
Response Effort and Behavioral Resurgence of Longer- and Shorter-Range Basketball Shots
(Basic Research)
DIEGO COYLE DIEZ (The New England Centre For Children), Drew Ewen (New England Center for Children; Western New England University), Hannah Byrne (New England Center for Children; Western New England University), Chata A. Dickson (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Four typically developing adults were tasked with shooting a basketball toward a hoop from two different locations on a basketball court. Two target locations (near and far) were marked with chalk. The target response was shooting a basketball toward the hoop. Each session consisted of three components and lasted until 20 shots had occurred. First, shots from one of the locations were followed by a whistle. Second, shots from the other location were followed by a whistle. Third, no shots were followed by a whistle, and this was the test for resurgence. Each whistle was accompanied by a point exchangeable for an opportunity to win a gift card. Sessions were conducted in a reversal design, and the two conditions defined whether shots from the near or far location would be reinforced in the first component. Resurgence occurred for all participants regardless of location, and a greater magnitude of resurgence was observed when the first component targeted the near location for three out of four participants.
Resurgence of Spatially Defined Behavior
(Basic Research)
JULIANNA ETHEL PELKEY (Melmark New England), Chata A. Dickson (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: We extended previous research on resurgence by evaluating durations of dwelling within experimenter-defined spaces in a field. Participants were 7 typically developing adults who were instructed at the start of the study to move about the area and to listen for a whistle, which would signify accrual of a lottery ticket that increased their chances of winning a prize. Each session consisted of 3, 4-min phases. In the first phase, the experimenter sounded a whistle on a VI 10 s schedule only when the participant was in one of the four quadrants; in the next phase the whistle sounded only when the participant was in another of the quadrants, and in the third phase, no whistles were sounded. We were interested in the resurgence of dwelling in the first quadrant during the third phase of each session. Resurgence occurred in 22 of the 30 evaluations, and was repeated across and within participants, and with and without contingency reversals. Future research may apply similar methods, and this approach may solve some of the problems with generality that have been identified by researchers and practitioners wishing to extend the findings of resurgence studies to relevant human contexts.

A Comparison of Two Methods for Enhancing Cooperation With Activity Transitions

(Applied Research)
GEGUEL FEDERICO LANDESTOY, M.S., ABA, BCBA (Melmark New England ), Chata A. Dickson (New England Center for Children)

Activity transitions are sometimes associated with challenging behavior, perhaps especially when transitions are from higher to lower preference activities. We compared the effects of two methods of prompting activity transitions on pausing and challenging behavior. Participants were two students at a school for children with autism. The two methods, advance notice and intervening activity, were presented in a multi-element design. higher, moderate, and lower preference activities (HP, MP, and LP) were identified using preference assessments. In the advance notice condition the participant was informed that he had 1 more minute with the HP before he was cued to engage in the LP. In the intervening activity condition, the participant was provided with an MP for 1 min before he was cued to engage with the LP. Pausing started when the participant was cued to begin the LP and ended with the first active response. For one participant, the intervening activity condition resulted in shorter transition times and fewer instances of challenging behavior. For the other participant there was no difference between the two conditions. For some individuals, scheduling a period of engagement with a moderate preference activity may result in shorter times to engagement in the next activity.




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