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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Poster Session #206K
TBA Sunday Poster Session
Sunday, May 28, 2023
1:00 PM–3:00 PM
Convention Center, Exhibit Hall F
Chair: Michele R. Traub (St. Cloud State University)

Can a Podcast Change Behavior? Teaching Staff to Implement Positive Reinforcement

Area: TBA; Domain: Applied Research
SETAREH MOSLEMI (University of North Texas; UNT Kristen Farmer Autism Center), Samantha Bergmann (University of North Texas ), Susan Marie Nichols (UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center), Ray Lai (University of North Texas; UNT Kristen Farmer Autism Center), Julia Wang (Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science at the University of North Texas), Karen A. Toussaint (University of North Texas)
Discussant: Michele R. Traub (St. Cloud State University)

Using Behavior Skills Training (i.e., providing instructions, modeling, role play, and feedback) to train individuals is effective but can be time intensive, costly, and requires direct interaction with a trained clinician. These resources can be scarce in settings that train staff to implement applied behavior analytic interventions with children with autism/autistic children. Therefore, there is a need to identify more efficient ways to train individuals to implement behavior-change procedures. In the current study, we used a 100 min audio-only (i.e., podcast) training with worksheets to teach listeners how to use positive reinforcement. We conducted the study with three new direct-line staff at a university-based autism center and evaluated the effects using an A-B design across multiple target behavior scenarios with a confederate. Two participants showed mastery-level performance in one or more of the target behavior scenarios following listening to the podcast, and one participant required additional training. All participants had higher scores on a knowledge assessment following the podcast. Results suggest that an audio-only training can teach staff to implement positive reinforcement and may be an efficient and efficacious way for delivering staff training. Implications for future research directions are discussed.

148. Comparing the Effectiveness of Synchronous and Asynchronous Continuing Education Trainings for Board Certified Behavior Analysts
Area: TBA; Domain: Applied Research
FRANCESCA BARBIERI (Behavior Leader, Inc.; Saint Louis University), Natalie A. Parks (Saint Louis University), John M. Guercio (Benchmark Human Services; Saint Louis University), Heather Lynn Lewis (Saint Louis University)
Discussant: Sheri Kingsdorf (Masaryk University)
Abstract: The spread of COVID-19 revolutionized our lives and prompted us to quickly transition many activities, including education, online, with no time to prepare. A requirement for Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) to renew their certification is to complete 32 units of Continuing Education (CE) every two years. While online trainings for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) have existed for several years, COVID-19 forced almost all of them, in addition to conferences, to be online. While this is now a common delivery modality, there is little research regarding the best format for online learning. Participants will be randomly assigned into two groups, each of which will receive the same two sets of training, one synchronously and one asynchronously. A multiple baseline probe design across skills will be used to determine which type of training results in better outcomes for participants. It is hypothesized that synchronous learning will result in higher accuracies on competency assessments conducted post training. This study will expand the current research regarding online learning and help support behavior analysts in establishing best practices for delivering continuing education courses to BCBAs.

The Impact of the Center for Autism and Social Inclusion (CAIS) in the Teaching of Discrete Trials for Psychology Students in Brazil

Area: TBA; Domain: Applied Research
CLÁUDIO ALMEIDA SARILHO (Universidade de São Paulo (USP))
Discussant: Michele R. Traub (St. Cloud State University)

The Center for Autism and Social Inclusion of the University of São Paulo (CAIS-USP) was created in 2007 as a result of a binational project involving the Brazilian research agency CAPES, the american FIPSE and north American universities. CAIS´s mission is to teach professional behavior analysts to effectively assist people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. This mission is relevant due to both the shortage of free services for people with ASD in Brazil, and the growing demand for this type of service, which results in few qualified professionals prepared to implement effective interventions. The present study aimed to teach the following discrete trial training domains to therapists: organization of the environment, attention, instruction, consequence, intertrial interval, data recording and randomization of stimuli. Nineteen students from the psychology course at the University of São Paulo (USP) participated. Teaching consisted of BST elements such as modeling, testing and practice with feedback. Baseline data were initially collected to verify students repertoire prior to the teaching procedure and 2 reassessments were conducted throughout the process to monitor student performance. Results indicate that the teaching procedure using some BST components was effective in discrete trial teaching. Students demonstrated higher score in domains such as: instruction, consequence, interval, record and randomization. In addition, students with greater participation in the practical class performed better than students with a number equal to or greater than 4 absences throughout the semester.


Graph Adjustments Between Unpublished and Published Culminating Projects

Area: TBA; Domain: Applied Research
BENJAMIN N. WITTS (St. Cloud State University), Corey Peltier (University of Oklahoma), Ryan Farmer (University of Memphis)
Discussant: Michele R. Traub (St. Cloud State University)

Recently, psychology in general has explored concerns around the publication process, though this exploration is less so in behavior analysis. One potential source for identifying areas of interest in understanding the publication process is through behavioral product analysis. In our study, we semi-randomly selected five articles from 2020 across three behavior-analytic journals that were based on at least one author’s thesis or dissertation. We then compared graph construction and general participant data between published and unpublished works. Our findings show some graphs improving in quality, graph construction changes (e.g., moving from bar charts to line charts), and changes in participant representation. Possible sources of explanation are explored with an eye toward future efforts to better understand the process of change from unpublished to published capstone work.

152. Creating a Discrete-Trial Laboratory Experiment for Goldfish
Area: TBA; Domain: Basic Research
KATHRYN POTOCZAK (Shippensburg University), Spencer Kemmerzell (Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania), Todd Melisauskas (Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania), Nicole Tormann (Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania)
Discussant: Sheri Kingsdorf (Masaryk University)
Abstract: This project sought to create an alternative to teaching basic operant conditioning techniques with rodents by developing a means to illustrate discrete-trial water maze training with goldfish. It utilized two comet goldfish, and after food wand training, subjects were placed in a start area within the maze and a timer was started, with each trial concluding when the designated finish area was reached, resulting in a food reinforcer. Data was recorded on sheets created specifically for use with this procedure; response time from start to finish decreased over subsequent trials, as did errors (wrong turns) within the maze. This experiment will teach future students about the operant concept of shaping (teaching a new behavior using successive approximations, positive reinforcement, and extinction) and demonstrate the difference between discrete-trial and free-operant learning paradigms, foundational concepts in the field of behavior analysis. This study was a part of a larger project that aims to create a complete operant lab manual for use with goldfish, which would allow students the opportunity to participate in a lab that is less costly and more manageable than a traditional rat lab.
153. Generalization in Single-Case Research: Examining Inclusion and Rigor in the Published Literature
Area: TBA; Domain: Applied Research
COLLIN SHEPLEY (University of Kentucky), Sally Bereznak Shepley (The University of Kentucky), Amy Spriggs (University of Kentucky)
Discussant: Michele R. Traub (St. Cloud State University)
Abstract: Single-case research has played a pivotal role in shaping the instructional practices utilized by behavior analysts to promote learning. The types of learning we are referring to are often conceptualized as phases that include acquisition, fluency, maintenance, and, arguably the most critical, generalization. Despite the significance of generalization, there has been minimal research on the extent to which generalization is being assessed in single-case research within a rigorous experimental design. Therefore, we examined the trends and prevalence of single-case publications that included evaluations of generalization and the rigor of those evaluations. We searched 240 peer-reviewed journals spanning 40 years (1978-2017). A total of 1,324 single-case publications were identified, of which 424 publications assessed generalization. Of these, only 36 contained an evaluation that met the minimum standards of rigor for a single-case deign as proposed by the What Works Clearinghouse. Although generalized learning is the ultimate goal of most educational programming, few rigorous examples were found in the peer-reviewed literature. This poster will promote discussion about the importance of generalized learning for the individuals being served and the extent attendees’ program for and evaluate generalized learning in their everyday practice.



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