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 #232
CE Offered: BACB
Renewal, Reinforcement, and Reinstatement: Insights From Basic and Translational Research
Sunday, May 26, 2024
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Convention Center, 200 Level, 204 C
Area: EAB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Emily Salvetti (University of Nebraska Medical Center; Munroe Meyer Institute)
Discussant: Michael Kranak (Oakland University)
CE Instructor: Michael Kranak, Ph.D.

This symposium explores the intricate dynamics of relapse phenomena in behavior-analytic contexts through two distinct yet interconnected research projects. The first study delves into the complex interplay of renewal and reinstatement—two forms of treatment relapse—in the realm of challenging behavior within behavior-analytic services. In this study, undergraduate college students engaged in a simulated computer task under varying conditions. One group experienced ABA renewal alone during differential reinforcement of an alternative response (DRA). The second group experienced the same conditions, but with renewed target behavior temporarily contacting reinforcement during relapse tests in Context A. Findings suggest increased relapse persistence when renewed target responses are briefly reinforced during contextual shifts, posing nuanced challenges for behavior analysts. The second study introduces a rat model simulating commission errors in relapse scenarios, emphasizing the significance of inadvertent reinforcement. Theoretical and practical implications from both studies illuminate the complexities of relapse phenomena, offering valuable insights for behavior-analytic interventions and highlighting the need for precise strategies in addressing challenging behaviors.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): DRA, Reinstatement, Renewal, Treatment relapse
Target Audience:

Researchers; Graduate students; Clinicians

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Discuss the nuances of treatment relapse in behavior-analytic contexts; (2) Analyze the role of contextual shifts and reinforcement patterns in relapse scenarios.
Examining the Combined Effects of Renewal and Response-Dependent Reinstatement: A Human Operant Investigation
(Basic Research)
RYAN KIMBALL (University of Saint Joseph (West Hartford, CT)), Michael Kranak (Oakland University), Rodolfo Bernal-Gamboa (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), A. Matías Gámez (Universidad de Córdoba, Spain)
Abstract: Renewal is a type of relapse that occurs due to a change in context. Unfortunately, the renewal of challenging behavior may also introduce the opportunity for stakeholders of behavior-analytic services to reinforce the renewed challenging behavior inadvertently (i.e., a treatment integrity error of commission), which may result in another form of relapse called reinstatement. However, few studies have examined the combined effects of renewal and reinstatement. To that end, we used a translational approach to study the combined effects of renewal and reinstatement in a group design with undergraduate college students (n = 13) and a simulated computer task. One group of participants experienced a three-phase arrangement with ABA renewal alone during differential reinforcement of an alternative response (DRA). The second group experienced the same conditions, but relapsed target responding also produced reinforcement during the first two minutes of the relapse tests in Context A. Preliminary results show that the magnitude of relapse might not significantly differ between groups. Nevertheless, preliminary findings also suggest that temporarily reinforcing renewed target responses might increase the persistence of relapse during context changes.
Exploring the Impact of Delivering Few Reinforcers on the Renewal of Operant Behaviors in Rats
(Basic Research)
RODOLFO BERNAL-GAMBOA (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), Tere Mason (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), A. Matías Gámez (Universidad de Córdoba, Spain), Michael Kranak (Oakland University), Ryan Kimball (University of Saint Joseph (West Hartford, CT))
Abstract: Several authors have proposed the renewal effect as a laboratory model to understand relapse after a successful behavior intervention. The main goal of the present experiments was to contribute to developing an experimental situation that might simulate some aspects of commission errors. Thus, during Phase 1 rats were trained to performed a target response for food in Context A. Then, in Phase 2 the target response underwent extinction while an alternative response was reinforced. Half of the rats received Phase 2 in Context B (Experiment 1), whereas the other half experienced Phase 2 in the original Context A (Experiment 2). Rats in Experiment 1, were tested in Context A; while the test was carried out in Context B for rats in Experiment 2. For half of the rats in each experiment, testing was similar to Phase 2 (i.e., target response in extinction while an alternative response was reinforced; ABA, AAB); for the other half, the target response was reinforced only at the beginning of the test (ABA+, AAB+). Our data suggests that reinforcement does momentarily favors target behavior since we found higher levels of renewal in the groups that experienced that situation. Theoretical and applied implications are discussed.



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