Past research has demonstrated a transformation of stimulus functions under similar conditions using gambling tasks and adults (e.g., Zlomke & Dixon, 2006), and the present study attempted to extend this research. Experimenters exposed 7 children (ages 7 to 10 years) to a simulated board game with concurrently available dice differing only by color. Following initial exposure to the game, participants were trained to discriminate between two contextual cues representing the relational frames of more than and less than. Following the training procedure, experimenters reexposed participants to the simulated board game. Six of the 7 participants demonstrated an increased preference toward the die with the color that had been paired with more than during the conditional discrimination training.
addiction; children; gambling; prevention; relational frame theory; risk taking
The purpose of the present study was to use video modeling to teach children with autism to engage in reciprocal pretend play with typically developing peers. Scripted play scenarios involving various verbalizations and play actions with adults as models were videotaped. Two children with autism were each paired with a typically developing child, and a multiple-probe design across three play sets was used to evaluate the effects of the video modeling procedure. Results indicated that both children with autism and the typically developing peers acquired the sequences of scripted verbalizations and play actions quickly and maintained this performance during follow-up probes. In addition, probes indicated an increase in the mean number of unscripted verbalizations as well as reciprocal verbal interactions and cooperative play. These findings are discussed as they relate to the development of reciprocal pretend-play repertoires in young children with autism.
autism; pretend play; video modeling
Preference for mand topography was evaluated for 2 individuals with developmental disabilities who exhibited problem behavior. The results of a functional analysis showed that each participant's problem behavior was maintained by social reinforcement. Participants were taught two novel mand topographies for the same functional reinforcer, and each proved to be effective in reducing problem behavior. Finally, preference for mand topography was assessed within a concurrent-schedules design. Results indicated that functional communication training was an effective treatment, regardless of the mand used, and that each participant demonstrated a preference for one mand topography relative to the other.
functional analysis; functional communication training; problem behavior; mands
We reviewed all research articles in 10 recent volumes of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA): Vol. 28(3), 1995, through Vol. 38(2), 2005. Continuous recording was used in the majority (55%) of the 168 articles reporting data on free-operant human behaviors. Three methods for reporting interobserver agreement (exact agreement, block-by-block agreement, and time-window analysis) were employed in more than 10 of the articles that reported continuous recording. Having identified these currently popular agreement computation algorithms, we explain them to assist researchers, software writers, and other consumers of JABA articles.
computers; continuous recording; interobserver agreement; observational data; recording and measurement
If the members of a functional response class occur in a predictable order, a response-class hierarchy is said to exist. Although this topic has received some attention in the applied literature, it remains relatively understudied. The purpose of the current investigation was to develop an analogue model of a response-class hierarchy. Children with and without developmental disabilities were first taught three responses in an attempt to develop a functional response class ordered along the dimension of response effort (Experiment 1). Following response-class development, an extinction analysis was used to determine whether the responses were hierarchically related (Experiment 2). Results of Experiment 1 indicated that a functional response class was developed, and that there was a relation between response rate and effort for the established response class. Results of Experiment 2 indicated that a response-class hierarchy existed within the previously developed response classes for 3 of 4 participants.
problem behavior; response covariation; response-class hierarchy
We evaluated the evocative effects of four conditions (high- and low-preference activities, low and divided attention) and stimulant medication on the behavior of a 16-year-old boy with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and moderate mental retardation. All behavior (activity engagement, activity changes, inappropriate touching, rude behaviors, and physical aggression) improved with stimulant medication in most conditions, but undesirable behaviors were not reduced to acceptable levels in all conditions. This finding suggests that stimulant medication may be a valuable adjunct to function-based interventions.
motivating operations; stimulant medication; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Extinction-induced resurgence is the recurrence of previously reinforced behavior when another behavior is placed on extinction (Lieving, Hagopian, Long, & O'Connor, 2004). This phenomenon may account for some instances of treatment relapse when problem behavior recovers during extinction-based treatments. The current study sought to determine whether resurgence of problem behavior would reliably occur with 5 participants who received treatment with FCT. Results showed that problem behavior reemerged for all but 1 participant when the communicative response was exposed to extinction or thin schedules of reinforcement. These findings suggest that resurgence may account for some instances of response recovery during treatment, and that the described procedure may be useful for the further study of resurgence and eventual prevention of this phenomenon.
autism; extinction; functional communication training; problem behavior; resurgence
Although the influence of reinforcement history is a theoretical focus of behavior analysis, the specific behavioral effects of reinforcement history have received relatively little attention in applied research and practice. We examined the potential effects of reinforcement history by reviewing nonhuman, human operant, and applied research and interpreted the findings in relation to possible applied significance. The focus is on reinforcement history effects in the context of reinforcement schedules commonly used either to strengthen behavior (e.g., interval schedules) or commonly used to decrease behavior (e.g., extinction).
extraexperimental history; human operant; reinforcement history; transition states; translational research
Aversion to eye contact is a common behavior of individuals diagnosed with Fragile X syndrome (FXS); however, no studies to date have attempted to increase eye-contact duration in these individuals. In this study, we employed a percentile reinforcement schedule with and without overcorrection to shape eye-contact duration of 6 boys with FXS. Results showed that although aversion to eye contact is often thought to be unamenable to change in FXS, it can be shaped in some individuals using percentile schedules either alone or in combination with overcorrection.
eye contact; Fragile X syndrome; overcorrection; percentile schedules; shaping
The present study evaluated the effects of classwide satiation and embedded reinforcement procedures on preschoolers' activity preferences during scheduled free-play periods. The goal of the study was to increase time allocation to originally nonpreferred, but important, activities (instructional zone, library, and science) while continuing to provide access to all free-play activities. The satiation intervention applied to preferred activities resulted in increased time allocation to the instructional and science activities, the customized embedded reinforcement interventions resulted in increased time allocation to all three target activities, and high levels of attendance to the instructional and library activities were maintained during follow-up observations. Implications for the design of preschool free-play periods are discussed.
choice; embedded reinforcement; free play; preference assessment; preschoolers; satiation
The purpose of this study was to teach empathetic responding to 4 children with autism. Instructors presented vignettes with dolls and puppets demonstrating various types of affect and used prompt delay, modeling, manual prompts, behavioral rehearsals, and reinforcement to teach participants to perform empathy responses. Increases in empathetic responding occurred systematically with the introduction of treatment across all participants and response categories. Furthermore, responding generalized from training to nontraining probe stimuli for all participants. Generalization occurred from dolls and puppets to actual people in a nontraining setting for 2 participants. Generalization was observed initially to the nontraining people and setting for the other participants, but responding subsequently decreased to baseline levels. Introduction of treatment in this setting produced rapid acquisition of target skills.
autism; empathy; social skills
The manner in which teachers mediate children's learning varies across early childhood classrooms. In this study, we used a multielement design to evaluate the efficacy of three commonly implemented strategies that varied in teacher directedness for teaching color- and object-name relations. Strategy 1 consisted of brief exposure to the target relations followed by an exclusively child-led play period in which correct responses were praised. Strategy 2 was similar except that teachers prompted the children to vocalize relations and corrected errors via model prompts. Strategy 3 incorporated the same procedures as Strategy 2 except that a brief period of teacher-initiated trials was arranged; these trials involved the use of prompt delay between questions and prompts, and correct responses resulted in tokens and back-up activity reinforcers. Children's preferences for the different teaching strategies were also directly assessed. Strategy 3 was most effective in promoting the acquisition and generalization of the color- and object-name relations and was also most preferred by the majority of children, Strategy 1 was the least effective, and Strategy 2 was typically the least preferred. Implications for the design of early educational environments based on evidence-based values are discussed.
child preference; direct instruction; discovery learning; embedded teaching; evidence-based teaching strategies
We evaluated the influence of two different frequencies of data collection on skill acquisition and maintenance within behavioral treatment programs for children with autism spectrum disorders. Six children were taught multiple skills in up to four different behavioral programs. Half of the skills were measured continuously (i.e., trial by trial), and the other half were measured discontinuously (i.e., first trial only). When differences were detected, quicker acquisition was typically associated with discontinuous measurement, and stronger maintenance was typically associated with continuous measurement.
autism spectrum disorders; continuous measurement; discontinuous measurement; skill acquisition
Seat belt use is an important factor in the prevention of automobile accidents involving injuries and fatalities. The current study used a multielement design to compare the “Click It or Ticket” and “Please Buckle Up—I Care” procedures. Results indicate that the Click It or Ticket prompt resulted in a 20-percentage-point increase in seat belt use, and Please Buckle Up—I Care resulted in a 14-percentage-point increase.
prompting; safety; Click It or Ticket; seat belts
The present study describes the development and pilot testing of the Observation System for Recording Physical Activity in Children–Home version. This system was developed to document physical activity and related physical and social contexts while children are at home. An analysis of interobserver agreement and a description of children's physical activity in various settings are presented. The system, which was shown to be reliable, provides a direct observation tool for researchers who are interested in assessing and intervening in physical activity in the home environment.
direct observation; home environment; physical activity; physical environment; preschool children
A Social StoriesTM intervention package was used to teach 2 students with autism to read Social Stories, answer comprehension questions, and engage in role plays. Appropriate social behaviors increased and inappropriate behaviors decreased for both participants, and the effects were maintained for up to 10 months. This intervention package appears to be useful in inclusive classroom environments and does not require intensive supervision of the child's behavior.
autism; inclusion classroom; role play; social skills training; Social Stories
The purpose of the current study was to explore the use of overt and covert self-rules in the acquisition, maintenance, and generalization of a chained task by adults with mild developmental disabilities. This research differed from previous research in that the experimenter did not deliver reinforcement for correct responses during training, and we examined the correspondence between each self-rule statement and each subsequent response on each trial. Results showed that the self-rules participated in control over participants' responding, in that the skill was acquired and shown to generalize in the absence of experimenter-delivered reinforcement. Moreover, performance was shown to deteriorate when the emission of overt, but not covert, self-rules was blocked.
daily living skills; rule following; self-rules; verbal behavior
A multiple baseline design across 3 children with autism was used to assess the effects of prompting and social reinforcement to teach participants to respond to an adult's bid for joint attention and to initiate bids for joint attention. Participants were taught to respond to an adult's bid for joint attention by looking in the direction of an object at which the adult pointed, by making a comment about the object, and by looking back at the adult. Additional training and reinforcement were needed to teach the participants to initiate bids for joint attention. Findings are discussed in terms of the social relevance of teaching children with autism to respond to and initiate bids for joint attention.
autism; joint attention; social skills; teaching language
The purpose of the current study was to examine the effects of a multicomponent intervention that included discrimination training, real-time visual feedback, and self-monitoring on postural behavior at a computer workstation in a simulated office environment. Using a nonconcurrent multiple baseline design across 8 participants, the study assessed the effects of the intervention across three postural variables. Following an information phase, the intervention started for the lowest stable postural variable. The intervention led to substantial improvements in safety behavior for most targeted postural variables. A reversal to the information phase for 2 participants did not lead to decreases in safety. Postures self-monitored with high accuracy improved to a greater degree than postures self-monitored with low accuracy.
behavioral safety; computer workstations; ergonomics; feedback; occupational safety
Research suggests that including leisure items in the attention condition of a functional analysis may produce engagement that masks sensitivity to attention. In this study, 4 individuals' initial functional analyses indicated that behavior was maintained by nonsocial variables (n = 3) or by attention (n = 1). A preference assessment was used to identify items for subsequent functional analyses. Four conditions were compared, attention with and without leisure items and control with and without leisure items. Following this, either high- or low-preference items were included in the attention condition. Problem behavior was more probable during the attention condition when no leisure items or low-preference items were included, and lower levels of problem behavior were observed during the attention condition when high-preference leisure items were included. These findings suggest how preferred items may hinder detection of behavioral function.
assessment; autism; functional analysis; problem behavior
Research has demonstrated that interspersing mastered tasks with new tasks facilitates learning under certain conditions; however, little is known about factors that influence the effectiveness of this treatment strategy. The initial purpose of the current investigation was to evaluate the effects of similar versus dissimilar interspersed tasks while teaching object labels to children diagnosed with autism or developmental delays. We then conducted a series of exploratory analyses involving the type of reinforcer delivered for correct responses on trials with unknown or known object labels. Performance was enhanced under the interspersal condition only when either brief praise was delivered for all correct responses or presumably more preferred reinforcers were provided for performance on known trials rather than on unknown trials.
autism; behavioral momentum; high-probability instructional sequence; interspersal procedures; reinforcer potency
Visual inspection of data is a common method for understanding, responding to, and communicating important behavior–environment relations in single-subject research. In a field that was once dominated by cumulative, moment-to-moment records of behavior, a number of graphic forms currently exist that aggregate data into larger units. In this paper, we describe the continuum of aggregation that ranges from distant to intimate displays of behavioral data. To aid in an understanding of the conditions under which a more intimate analysis is warranted (i.e., one that provides a richer analysis than that provided by condition or session aggregates), we review a sample of research articles for which within-session data depiction has enhanced the visual analysis of applied behavioral research.
binned analyses; data analysis; visual inspection; within-session data
The current study evaluated the use of various behavioral measures of running away with regard to (a) the differential utility of interval- versus event-based measures, (b) the differential utility of rate versus duration measures, (c) the utility of correcting for occurrence opportunity, and (d) the influence of unit of analysis (i.e., single-subject vs. grouped data). Seven different baseline measures were calculated for 84 runaways, and a unit-size analysis was conducted by constructing groups of various sizes from the original sample. An expert panel evaluated the suitability of the baseline measures for treatment evaluation. Results demonstrate the utility of evaluating duration-based measures and correcting for occurrence opportunity. Results also indicate that single-subject baselines may often be unacceptable for treatment evaluations, regardless of the type of measure selected for use.
baseline measures; foster care; running away