A Functional Analytic Approach to Understanding Disordered Gambling

Abstract

The Gambling Functional Assessment (GFA) hypothesized four possible maintaining functions of gambling behavior, including social attention, escape from aversive events, access to tangible items, and sensory stimulation. In the years following the GFA’s release, research teams have argued for a revised model of the GFA to account for just two possible functions maintaining gambling behavior (positive and negative reinforcement). In the current study, we examined the extent to which a four-factor gambling functional assessment was possible, sustaining a conceptual and theoretical orientation consistent with a functional behavioral account of gambling. Three hundred and sixty-five recreational and disordered gamblers completed a demographic survey, the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS), and the GFA. An exploratory factor analysis was first conducted to determine GFA functional items that loaded onto a common factor, and a confirmatory factor analysis was conducted to determine if a four-factor model, consistent with the functional categories of the GFA, provided a good fit for the obtained data. Outcomes supported the model, suggesting that a four-factor functional account of gambling behavior can be obtained. Differing results obtained by separate research teams, however, suggest that more precise research may be needed in the development and analysis of functional instruments for use with gamblers.


Tue, 17 Apr 2018, 5:00 pm


Acquisition of Complex Conditional Discriminations in a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Abstract

Individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder have been reported to demonstrate stimulus overselectivity or restricted stimulus control (i.e., failure to respond to all critical elements of complex stimuli). This potential may have a detrimental impact on the acquisition of academic skills for these individuals if the stimuli in question contain multiple controlling elements. The current study presents a number of methodologies by which attention to, and the subsequent control by, multiple elements of a complex stimulus was demonstrated. The participant in this study was a 10-year-old girl diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. She was taught to select both printed word and picture comparisons, in the presence of complex sample stimuli comprised of visual and auditory elements, via an errorless learning protocol. Specifically, sample stimuli included manual American Sign Language (ASL) signs and the name of the sign. Following training, tests conducted in the absence of programed feedback verified accurate control by each sample element, as well as emergent stimulus-stimulus relations. No evidence of stimulus overselectivity was demonstrated during posttests. This study demonstrated an efficient methodology for forming stimulus classes through complex conditional discrimination training.


Sun, 15 Apr 2018, 5:00 pm


Psychological Events as Integrated Fields

Abstract

J. R. Kantor had an exceptional career with great implications for the philosophy of science and science of psychology. The present commentary provides an overview of Kantor’s construction of psychological events as integrated fields. In doing so, specific attention is given to constructs and events in general, and in the domain of psychology specifically. Related topics, such as the subject matters of the various sciences, are also considered. The unique, multi-factored field nature of Kantor’s psychological event construct is highlighted and contrasted with more common constructions in the field of behavior science. The implications of Kantor’s psychological event for scientific investigation are considered.


Sun, 8 Apr 2018, 5:00 pm


Assessing the Effects of a Relational Training Intervention on Fluid Intelligence Among a Sample of Socially Disadvantaged Children in Bangladesh

Abstract

A growing consensus is that performances on standardized intelligence tests can be positively influenced by interventions that focus on improving relational reasoning. One such intervention, known as SMART (Strengthening Mental Abilities with Relational Training), consists of presenting participants with increasingly complex exemplars of relational reasoning tasks involving premises associated along same-as, opposite-of, more-than, and less-than relations. Following multiple training and testing sessions involving these relations, increased fluency in SMART is related to enhanced performances on tests of intellectual ability (Cassidy et al., 2016). The current study expands upon previous investigations on SMART in two ways. First, we explored whether the amount of training undertaken can predict changes in intelligence test performances. Second, we assessed whether SMART training could be effective for a non-English speaking, socioeconomically disadvantaged cohort. Changes in intelligence were assessed via administrations of the standard Raven’s Progressive Matrices before and after SMART training. Our results show that the stage of SMART training completed is positively related to changes in Ravens’ performances and that such training can be effective for non-English cohorts.


Sun, 8 Apr 2018, 5:00 pm


Exploring Differential Trial-Type Effects and the Impact of a Read-Aloud Procedure on Deictic Relational Responding on the IRAP

Abstract

Under the rubric of Relational Frame Theory (RFT), researchers have investigated the role of deictic relational responding in the analysis of self in relation to others, place, and time, primarily through the use of an extended developmental protocol (Barnes-Holmes, 2001). In a move toward extending methodologies for studying deictic relational responding, more recent research has employed the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) to measure deictic relational responding regarding I versus OTHER (Barbero-Rubio et al. in The Psychological Record, 66, 243–252, 2016). The initial purpose of the current study was to systematically replicate and extend this research. This extension involved the inclusion of a control condition in which no responding to self was involved, only responding to others. The results from Experiment 1 yielded significant IRAP effects for two of the four trial-types in both the deictic and control IRAPs. A second experiment involved a novel method for collecting IRAP data (a read-aloud procedure), which had been shown to yield significant effects for all four trial-types, and four significant effects were indeed recorded for both deictic and control IRAPs. Based on the current findings, a model is presented that seeks to explain the differential trial-type effects that are observed across the different IRAPs and the impact of the read-aloud procedure.


Sun, 8 Apr 2018, 5:00 pm


Graded Delay, Enhanced Equivalence Class Formation, and Meaning

Abstract

Assigned to 12 groups, 120 college students were taught the baseline relations for three equivalence classes (A → B → C→ D→ E) using the simultaneous protocol with trials conducted in matching-to-sample format. In 11 of the 12 groups, all stimuli were abstract shapes; in one group (PIC), the A, B, D, and E stimuli were abstract and the C stimuli were pictures. One group with abstract shapes only (ABS) did not receive preliminary training, while 10 other groups received preliminary training before class formation training. In five groups, participants learned identity relations with the C stimuli using 0-, 1-, 3-, 6-, or 9-s delays. In five others, participants learned arbitrary relations between C and X stimuli using the same five delays. Classes were formed by 70 and 0% of participants in the PIC and the ABS groups, respectively. Class formation increased systematically after preliminary training with the 0-s through 6-s delays and decreased after preliminary training with the 9-s delay. Thus, enhanced class formation was a graded, non-monotonic function of delay duration. For each delay, class formation was greater after establishing arbitrary relations than identity relations. The effects of delay in preliminary training on class formation were similar to their effects on the maintenance of the baseline relations in the derived relation tests. Two opposing processes were posited to account for the delay effects on class formation. Finally, we discussed how class enhancement by meaningful stimuli can also be attributed to their relational functions and delays.


Sun, 8 Apr 2018, 5:00 pm


J. R. Kantor: Theory as the Basic Research Instrument

Abstract

J. R. Kantor must be recognized for his contributions to the subject matter and logic of the theory of psychological phenomena. Kantor stressed the distinction between biological and psychological behavior and proposed the category of the interbehavioral field as a logical frame to develop an adequate psychological system. In this article, the author describes the formulation of a general behavior theory in accordance with Kantor’s proposal and illustrates some systematic and heuristic achievements in such a direction.


Sun, 25 Mar 2018, 5:00 pm


Delay Gradients for Spout-Licking and Magazine-Entering Induced by a Periodic Food Schedule

Abstract

The present experiments studied impulsivity by manipulating the delay between target responses and presentation of a reinforcer. Food-deprived SHR, WKY, and Wistar rats were exposed to a fixed-time 30-s schedule of food pellet presentation until they developed stable patterns of water spout-licking and magazine-entering. In successive phases of the study, a resetting delay contingency postponed food delivery if target responses (licks or entries) occurred within the last 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 25, or 28 s of the inter-food interval. Response-food delays were applied independently for the two behaviors during separate experimental phases, and order of presentation and the behavior that was punished first were counterbalanced. Licking was induced in the order of Wistar > SHR > WKY, and magazine entries were in the order of SHR > WKY > Wistar. Magazine entries showed steeper delay gradients than licking in SHR and Wistar rats but were of similar great inclination in the WKY rats. The different responses were differentially sensitive to delays. This suggests a different ordering of them in the interval between reinforcers. It also has implications for attempts to change impulsive behavior, both in terms of the nature of the response and its removal from reinforcing consequences.


Sun, 25 Mar 2018, 5:00 pm


An Examination of the Transdiagnostic Role of Delay Discounting in Psychological Inflexibility and Mental Health Problems

Abstract

Delay discounting is a basic behavioral process that has been found to predict addictive behaviors and, more recently, other mental health problems. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a transdiagnostic treatment that appears to alter delay discounting, possibly through reducing psychological inflexibility. The current study sought to further bridge research on delay discounting and ACT by examining the relation of delay discounting to a broad range of self-reported mental health problems and measures of psychological inflexibility. A cross-sectional online survey was conducted with 389 college students. Small negative correlations ranging between .09 and .15 were statistically significant between delay discounting and self-reported depression, anxiety, eating concerns, hostility, academic distress, and student functioning (only general social functioning and social anxiety were non-significant). Similar negative correlations were also found between delay discounting and measures of psychological inflexibility. Psychological inflexibility statistically mediated all of the relations between delay discounting and mental health problems such that delay discounting was no longer related to mental health problems when including the mediator. Overall, these results suggest that delay discounting is a transdiagnostic process relevant to a range of mental health problems, potentially through its impact on psychological inflexibility.


Wed, 21 Mar 2018, 5:00 pm


Quantifying the Empirical Growth of Relational Frame Theory Research: a Cautionary Note

Abstract

Relational frame theory (RFT) is a modern, contextual behavioral theory of human language and cognition. A recent article by O’Connor, Farrell, Munnelly, and McHugh (2017) provided an updated citation analysis of data-based and nondata-based articles citing RFT-related terms as a proxy for the influence RFT has had on the scientific literature. Here, we evaluate the claims made by O’Connor et al. and suggest that caution should be exercised when interpreting some of their findings. Progress has, in many ways, clearly been made, but we argue that the growth in RFT outputs is more nuanced than at first appears.


Thu, 15 Mar 2018, 5:00 pm


Kanji Writing Acquisition Through Sequential Stimulus Pairing in Japanese Students with Writing Difficulties

Abstract

In Japan, both typically developing students and students with developmental disabilities often exhibit difficulties with Kanji (Japanese ideogram) writing. These students sometimes demonstrate mirror writing (retrography), suggesting that they have difficulty in locating the parts of Kanji words rather than in writing itself. We examined whether five students with writing difficulties could learn and maintain the stimulus relations among Kanji words, spoken sounds, and corresponding pictures required for writing skills by using two types of pairing procedures: sequential stimulus pairing (SSP) and stimulus pairing (SP). In the SSP procedure, one of the two parts of a Kanji word was presented on the one side of a display, and the other part was sequentially presented on the other side, prior to presentation of the whole Kanji word. In the SP procedure, the whole Kanji word and its spoken sound were presented first, followed by its corresponding picture. The effects of training, as measured by writing performance and the number of training blocks to meet a mastery criterion, were evaluated by means of binominal tests and analysis of variance. The results showed that all students learned to correctly write Kanji words using both procedures, although the SSP procedure required fewer training blocks and enabled students to maintain their knowledge longer. These results suggest that presenting the parts of a stimulus sequentially in their correct spatial location made it easier to observe the Kanji stimuli and might therefore facilitate the acquisition of Kanji writing skills.


Tue, 13 Mar 2018, 5:00 pm



Applied Behavior Analysis: Definitional Difficulties

Abstract

A new science should provide an intensional definition of itself to delineate the necessary and sufficient conditions for an activity to qualify as an instance of said science (Baronett, 2013, pp. 46–48). However, current definitions of applied behavior analysis offered in leading ABA textbooks are descriptive instead of intensional. Therefore, an intensional definition of ABA is offered.


Wed, 28 Feb 2018, 4:00 pm


Resurgence Following Response Cost in a Human-Operant Procedure

Abstract

Resurgence is the reemergence of a previously reinforced behavior following the extinction of an alternative behavior. Although several variables are known to impact resurgence, few studies have examined resurgence when the target response was previously punished. Results of two studies examining resurgence after punishment have been mixed. In the current study, we employed a human-operant procedure to compare resurgence following differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) with extinction and DRA with extinction and response cost. For the three participants, target responding was eliminated more rapidly and fully following DRA with response cost. Similar levels of resurgence, however, occurred following both procedures. These data provide evidence that arranging response cost during DRA facilitates suppression of target responding without affecting subsequent resurgence. The results further our understanding of the role of negative punishment in resurgence as a process and have implications for the development of clinical intervention packages.


Wed, 28 Feb 2018, 4:00 pm




Functional Analytic Psychotherapy Enhanced Behavioral Activation for Depression: A Concurrent and Non-Concurrent Between-Participants Study

Abstract

Functional analytic psychotherapy enhanced behavioral activation (FEBA) is a therapeutic approach that combines strategies from behavioral activation and functional analytic psychotherapy to improve therapeutic outcomes in clients who lack stable sources of reinforcement in their natural environments. In FEBA, therapists modify clients’ behaviors within the therapeutic session and simultaneously change clients’ environmental conditions in their natural contexts. A concurrent and nonconcurrent multiple-baseline design between participants was conducted. Four participants—2 men and 2 women—who reported depressive symptoms were independently treated in a psychological services center by 2 male therapists. FEBA increased the frequency of healthy behaviors (e.g., engaging in meaningful conversations with friends) in session and out of session. However, depressive behaviors in therapeutic and natural settings did not show stable changes. The implications for implementing some of the results of this study with clients with depression are discussed. Methodological recommendations for using FEBA with specific populations and in other contexts are also presented.


Wed, 28 Feb 2018, 4:00 pm


An Evaluation of the Pair Discussion Component of Interteaching

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the impact of the pair discussion component of interteaching on student quiz performance for two sections of an introductory undergraduate course in behavior analysis with a total of 49 students. An alternating treatment design was used whereby the pair discussion was alternated in a quasi-random fashion with a whole-class discussion throughout the semester. In both experimental conditions, all other components of interteaching were in effect. Feedback on quiz performance was provided immediately upon quiz submission. Results show a slight advantage for the pair discussion condition, but no statistically significant differences between the two conditions. Social validity results show a preference for whole-class discussion. These results are discussed in light of the limitations and strengths of the study, and we outline directions for future research.


Wed, 28 Feb 2018, 4:00 pm


Exploring the Single-Trial-Type-Dominance-Effect in the IRAP: Developing a Differential Arbitrarily Applicable Relational Responding Effects (DAARRE) Model

Abstract

The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) has been used as a measure of implicit cognition and has been used to analyze the dynamics of arbitrarily applicable relational responding. The current study uses the IRAP for the latter purpose. Specifically, the current research focuses on a pattern of responding observed in a previously published IRAP study that was difficult to explain using existing conceptual analyses. The pattern is referred to as the single-trial-type dominance effect because one of the IRAP trial types produces an effect that is significantly larger than that of the other three. Based on a post hoc explanation provided in a previously published article, the first experiment in the current series explored the impact of prior experimental experience on the single-trial-type dominance effect. The results indicated that the effect was larger for participants who reported high levels of experimental experience (M = 32.3 previous experiments) versus those who did not (M = 2.5 previous experiments). In the second experiment, participants were required to read out loud the stimuli presented on each trial and the response option they chose. The effect of experimental experience was absent, but the single-trial-type dominance effect remained. In the third experiment, a different set of stimuli than those used in the first two experiments was used in the IRAP, and a significant single-trial-type dominance effect was no longer observed. The results obtained from the three experiments led inductively to the development of a new model of the variables involved in producing IRAP effects—the differential arbitrarily applicable relational responding effects (DAARRE) model—which is presented in the General Discussion.


Wed, 28 Feb 2018, 4:00 pm


Emergence of Simpler Untested Derived Stimulus Relations in Extinction: Implications for Understanding Derived Relational Learning

Abstract

The purpose of the present research was to clarify further the necessary and sufficient conditions that establish derived stimulus relations. Under more complex conditions (i.e., training involving four, four-member stimulus classes), past research has demonstrated that untested stimulus relations did not emerge when recently trained relational responding was extinguished. The present research examined whether such emergence was more likely under less complex conditions. In experiment 1, untested equivalence relations emerged in extinction using a training structure with three, three-member classes. In experiment 2, untested symmetrical relations emerged in extinction using a training structure with four, four-member classes. The necessary and sufficient conditions that establish derived stimulus classes seem to depend on environmental complexity. Presented are the implications of these findings for conceptualizing derived relational responding as a generalized, or higher-order, response class.


Wed, 28 Feb 2018, 4:00 pm