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.

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50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

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Paper Session #84
Technology Considerations for Operant Research
Saturday, May 25, 2024
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Convention Center, 200 Level, 204 AB
Area: EAB
Instruction Level: Basic
Chair: James T. Todd (Eastern Michigan University)
 
Description and Validation of a Novel Human-Operant Research Software
Domain: Service Delivery
BRADEN J TOLER (West Virginia University), David Legaspi (Utah State University), Daniel R. Mitteer (Rutgers University (RUCARES))
 
Abstract: In recent years, computer models have become an indispensable tool for conducting basic human-operant research. However, one’s ability to conclude meaningful relations between independent and dependent variables relies on the assumption that the computer software is reliable and operates as intended. This technical report delves into the features and validation process of a novel software entitled VirtuOperant; built using the Python programming language to support human-operant research. Our software validation procedure draws inspiration from the methodology developed by Smith and Greer (2022). This structured approach not only affirms the software's efficacy but also emphasizes its potential for replicability across varied research scenarios (e.g., simulations of discrimination learning, treatment relapse). The focus of this report revolves around the validation of the software and underscores the software's potential for future human-operant research. We found VirtuOperant to be reliable at programming various reinforcement schedules and phenomena. Given its reliability and ability to generate data automatically, we anticipate this software becoming a useful tool for future research.
 
Using Livecode Authoring Environment for Inexpensive Operant Laboratory Control and Data Collection
Domain: Theory
JAMES T. TODD (Eastern Michigan University)
 
Abstract: Operant laboratory control and data collection is typically done with computers running either expensive commercial software connected to proprietary electronic interfaces or employing user-developed implementations constructed from whatever might be at hand. In both instances, high costs, the need to learn difficult computer syntax, and technical issue inherent in matching disparate electronic peripherals to main systems can create a high barrier to entry for the researcher. I describe the use of the inexpensive Livecode authoring system, standard computers, and off-the-self interface devices to create low- to moderate-cost systems for laboratory control and data collection. Livecode, a descendent of Apple's Hypercard, provides an graphical rapid development environment programmed in plain-language scripts rather than obscure (for most) computer syntax. Livecode can be used to create stand-alone applications for MacOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android systems. These may be used natively (on screen), even on phones, or in conjunction with inexpensive off-the-self input-output devices to control experiments, collect data, create graphics, and communicate results directly to experimenters in real time. The Apple operating system's enhanced ability to communicate with and directly control other applications (e.g. Excel, graphing programs, databases) via AppleScript makes it a good choice for automated laboratory control and data collection. Other systems have other advantages, and much of the information in this paper applies to them as well.
 
 

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