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.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Symposium #201
CE Offered: BACB
Translational Research on Relapse: Renewal, Resurgence, and Reinstatement With Human and Non-Human Participants
Sunday, May 26, 2024
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Convention Center, 200 Level, 204 AB
Area: EAB/BPN; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Daniel Santos Da Silva (Utah State University )
Discussant: Christopher A. Podlesnik (University of Florida)
CE Instructor: Christopher A. Podlesnik, Ph.D.

Understanding of relapse to unhealthy behaviors is essential. Translational research is critical to this effort. The four studies in this symposium investigated different types of relapse, including renewal, resurgence, and reinstatement, with human and non-human participants. Randall and colleagues investigated ABA renewal with eye tracking in human participants. A target response was reinforced in one context (A), extinguished in a second context (B), and then recurred following return to the original context (A). Programming of shared stimuli between Contexts A and B may reduce renewal. Smith and colleagues examined Differential Reinforcement of Alternative (DRA) behavior as an animal model of interventions for decreasing target behaviors in applied settings. They found that synthesizing reinforcers (multiple reinforcers) reduced the target behavior but increased relapse. Willis-Moore and colleagues present an analog of vaping, a dangerous and epidemic behavior in young people. Rats reliably self administered snout-only flavored nicotine across acquisition, extinction, and reinstatement. Finally, Bridges and colleagues examined relapse using food seeking in rats. They report the effects of changing cues, contexts, and alternative reinforcement contingencies on reinstatement, resurgence, and renewal. Together, these presentations will provide cutting edge explorations of important facets of relapse, followed by discussion by Dr. Christopher Podlesnik.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:


Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Describe different relapse paradigms (2) Describe the importance of translational research (3) Describe ways to mitigate relapse

A Preliminary Investigation of Eye-Tracking Software to Inform an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Renewal Mitigation Procedure

KAYLA RANDALL (Georgia Southern University), Sydney Arthur (Georgia Southern University), Joshua Williams (Georgia Southern University), Ryan Kimball (University of Saint Joseph (West Hartford, CT))

ABA renewal is one type of operant renewal in which a target response is reinforced in a unique context (i.e., Context A), extinguished in novel context (i.e., Context B), and then recurs following a transition back to the original context. Recently, researchers have examined the robust phenomenon of ABA renewal when differential reinforcement of an alternative response is included in Context B and the renewal test. One method to mitigate ABA renewal is to program common stimuli so as to increase the similarity between Context A and Context B. This stimulus control strategy may support the generalization of behavior change between contexts. Currently, no studies exist on how to empirically derive the selection of the stimuli to program into Context B. We conducted a preliminary investigation using eye-tracking software to empirically determine which common stimulus to program into a three-phase ABA renewal arrangement that included differential reinforcement for 12 undergraduate students in a translational preparation. Our results replicate previous research demonstrating ABA renewal despite differential reinforcement contingencies. Further, ABA renewal may be less robust and more variable when common stimuli selected for programming are empirically determined using eye-tracking software.

Synthesized Alternative Reinforcement and Resurgence
SEAN SMITH (SUNY Upstate Medical University), Beatriz Elena Arroyo Antunez (SUNY Upstate Medical University), Jacqueline D DeBartelo (Student at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), William Sullivan (Golisano Children's Hospital & Center for Special Needs; SUNY Upstate Medical University), Henry S. Roane (Upstate Medical University ), Andrew R. Craig (SUNY Upstate Medical University)
Abstract: Differential reinforcement of alternative (DRA) behavior is an effective intervention for decreasing target behaviors in applied settings. In some cases, clinicians implement DRA by simultaneously presenting multiple, qualitatively different reinforcers (i.e., synthesized reinforcement) contingent on alternative responses. The concatenated matching law suggests that reinforcer magnitude and quality, both of which are affected by synthesizing reinforcers, contribute to reinforcer value. Previous research has demonstrated that reinforcer value affects resurgence during treatment disruptions, but research has not evaluated the effects of combining magnitude and quality manipulations on resurgence. In this experiment, groups of rats received (a) isolated (i.e., food or sugar) reinforcement for target responding in Phase 1, (b) either isolated or synthesized (i.e., food and sugar) reinforcement for alternative responding while target responding was on extinction in Phase 2, and (c) no reinforcement in Phase 3. Compared to rats receiving isolated reinforcement in Phase 2, rats receiving synthesized reinforcement showed more rapid and complete reductions in target responding in Phase 2, but greater resurgence during the transition to Phase 3. These results have implications for researchers’ conceptualization of resurgence and may provide important information for application.
Toward a Face-Valid Rodent Model of Self-Administration of Nicotine-Vapor: Acquisition, Extinction, and Reinstatement
MARIAH WILLIS-MOORE (Utah State University), Kiernan Callister (Utah State University), Daniel Santos Da Silva (Utah State University ), David Legaspi (Utah State University), Preston Alden (Utah State University), Lucy Scribner (Utah State University), Amy Odum (Utah State University)
Abstract: Although originally thought by some to reduce the harm of tobacco cigarettes, the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems, or vaping, is a rising health concern, especially among adolescents and young adults. Vaping increases risks such as stroke, lung, and cardiovascular disease, and is associated with a greater propensity to start smoking tobacco cigarettes. Given the foreseeable harm of vaping, especially in at-risk populations, it is critical to identify factors related to phenomena such as acquisition and relapse. Towards this end, we have developed a non-invasive, non-proprietary, animal-model of nicotine-vaping that allows for fully voluntary snout-only access to vaporized nicotine. Here, we describe our model, including recent data from an experiment (n = 4) examining factors that impact acquisition, extinction, and reinstatement. Specifically, we have found that rats will reliably self-administer vaporized nicotine puffs over extended time periods. Furthermore, we have seen a change and decrease in responding following removal of vape puffs and vaping-associated cues. This effect may differ across biological sex. We are currently investigating how cues and flavoring (a major influence in human vaping) impact reinstatement. Our potential findings may provide insight into future regulation of vaping products and policies surrounding vaping.
Relapse Magnitudes of Food Seeking in Rats: Reinstatement, Renewal, Resurgence, and Their Combinations
MARY ELIZABETH BRIDGES (Jacksonville State University ), Julianna N. Mostillo (Jacksonville State University), Richard L. Sheffield Jr. (Jacksonville State University), Rusty Nall (Jacksonville State University)
Abstract: Behavioral treatments to reduce undesirable behavior exist, but recurrence of previously reduced behavior (relapse) often occurs. There are at least three major types of relapse. Reinstatement is induced by re-exposure to stimuli previously paired with reinforcement. Renewal is induced by transitions to contexts other than treatment. Resurgence is induced by worsening of alternative reinforcement conditions. Relapse-mitigation techniques are typically specific to the anticipated relapse type, and behavior is often susceptible to each of the different relapse types and their combinations. Therefore, clinicians may dedicate significant resources to implementing several relapse-mitigation techniques or risk safeguarding against one type of relapse only to have another emerge. The present experiment assessed relative magnitude of different relapse types and their combinations with the goals of determining the largest magnitude relapse effects and developing a translational testing ground for novel relapse mitigation techniques across relapse types. Using a translational model of food seeking in rats, magnitudes of reinstatement, renewal, resurgence, and their combinations were assessed by changing cues, contexts, and/or alternative reinforcement contingencies across baseline (VI 20s reinforcement), extinction (VI 20s alternative reinforcement for groups including resurgence components), and relapse phases. Results and implications for clinicians, researchers, and theories of relapse will be discussed.



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