The European Association for Behavior Analysis
2016 Award Winners:
Oslo and Akershus University
Abstract: According to the Cancer Society, the occurrence of melanoma cancer in Norway is between 1700 and 1800 cases per year. Between 300-400 people discover their malignant melanomas to late each year and consequently die from it. If the death rate is to be reduced, it is crucial to establish discrimination skills so that malignant melanomas are detected and treated early. It is 25 years since it was first launched strategies of self-examination of melanoma. There are few studies that have evaluated these strategies, and the studies shows that the strategies have not been found effective. We are investigating whether the use of a conditional discrimination procedure can establish discrimination skills between different categories of moles. In the present study we will use the same criteria as the Cancer Society use to determine risky moles. Participants are going to be municipal workers and students aged 16 to 51 years. They will conduct a conditional discrimination procedure with different experimental phases; training, test and generalization test.
Abstract: Three planned experiments examine the possibility that variability in verbal behavior depends upon the stimulus discrimination of events automatically produced by repetition that is inherent in differential reinforcement of variability schedules (VAR) thus establishing the positive reinforcing potency of stimuli associated with the termination of repetition, not only in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) but also in typically developing children. Three computer-based experiments are designed to increase variability in verbal behavior by enhancing operant stimulus discrimination of automatic stimuli, utilizing a multiple baseline design across both behaviors and subjects. Initially, children will be exposed to a range of visual stimuli in a given category (e.g., fruits, animals) with differential reinforcement of the naming of animals (non-repetition) utilizing an errorless discrimination procedure designed to enhance the SΔ function of the stimuli produced by repetition; all visual cues will be gradually faded. In a second experiment, reinforcement will require variation in both subject and verb, with initially visual discriminative stimuli as in experiment I; independent VAR schedules will be employed for noun and verb emission, wherein each LAG level will be automatically titrated up or down based on performance. A third experiment extends this procedure to three-word (noun-verb-object) utterances. In each experiment, the discrimination-enhancing procedure will be compared (using other word groups) with those of a typical VAR procedure to assess the effects of enhancing discrimination of self-produced stimuli under VAR schedules.