The Florida Association for Behavior Analysis
2016 Award Winner:
Jonathan Kyle Fernand
University of Florida
Department of Psychology, Behavior Analysis Program
Functional analyses are considered the gold standard in behavioral assessments in that they identify the environmental variables influencing a behavior relative to alternative assessment methods (e.g., descriptive assessments); however, several different methodologies exist for the assessment of inappropriate mealtime behavior (IMB) for children with pediatric feeding disorders (Girolami & Scotti, 2001, Piazza et al., 2003, Najdowski et al., 2003). The purpose of the current study is to compare spoon and plate presentation procedures from prior research in the assessment of IMB using a within-subject analysis for children diagnosed with autism who engage in self-feeding. So far, pilot data indicate the spoon presentation method might not control for all relevant variables (e.g., establishing operation), producing a potential false positive in the attention condition. Results of the proposed study will help in guiding future research regarding identification of critical variables in the assessment of pediatric feeding disorders. Future studies will be able to use the current method as a refinement in assessment procedures for determining prevalence of functions for individuals with feeding disorders. Finally, the outcome of this experiment could impact how clinicians utilize functional analysis methodology in the assessment of and eventual treatment for food-related problem behavior.
2015 Award Winner:
Ashley Tudor, B.A., BCaBA, received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Florida International University in 2010 and is a recent Master’s of Arts graduate from Florida Institute of Technology. She has worked in the field of applied behavior analysis for five years, holding positions such as new hire staff trainer and supervisor for in-home ABA services for children with autism spectrum disorder. She is motivated by observing the improvement of behavior and looks forward to future research opportunities. Her particular research interests lie in the area of organizational behavior management, behavioral economics, impulsivity, and the assessment and treatment of challenging behavior in children with autism.
Evaluation of stimulus delivery arrangements on staff performance in a simulated work setting
Supplementary contingent pay arrangements can result in improved employee productivity and may lead to the development of more efficient performance improvement plans in organizational settings. In Experiment 1, we examined the effects of various stimulus delivery arrangements on performance in a computer-based task in a simulated work context. Participants entered hypothetical client data onto a Microsoft Excel® invoice and earned gift-cards for task completion according to the following four conditions: (a) fixed-ratio/high-preference stimuli (FR/HiP), (b) variable-ratio/high-preference stimuli (VR/HiP), (c) fixed-ratio/varied stimuli (FR/Var), and (d) variable-ratio/varied stimuli (VR/Var). Task completion increased in all reinforcement conditions relative to a no-reinforcement baseline. Further, number of rows completed was slightly higher in the FR conditions relative to the VR conditions, irrespective of the quality of the gift card earned (i.e., high preference only or varied). In a second experiment, we evaluated participant preference to perform under the four stimulus delivery arrangements using a concurrent-chains schedule. Results of the preference assessment indicated that participants preferred to work under the VR/HiP contingency, even though that condition did not produce the highest response rate during the performance evaluation.
Ms. Ray is a second-year doctoral student in the Behavior Analysis program at Florida Institute of Technology.
Second order schedules of token reinforcement under fixed-ratio and variable-ratio exchange schedules have been investigated with nonhuman organisms (Webbe & Malagodi, 1978; Foster, Hackenberg, & Vaidya, 2001), but despite the widespread use of token systems with children with disabilities, research evaluating the effects that token exchange schedules have on human performance has yet to be published. The purpose of this study is to extend the basic literature on token economies by comparing the performance of four children with autism under fixed-ratio and variable-ratio token exchange schedules using a multi-element design within a parametric analysis (full abstract).
2007 Award Winner:
Mr. Rooker used his scholarship funds to conduct a study that looks at assessing and treating problem behavior occasioned by dental procedures. The treatment will be video modeling.
2006 Award Winner:
Ms. Donaldson used her scholarship funds to conduct a study on increasing physical activity with overweight and obese adults. The scholarship allowed her to purchase five heart rate monitors that recorded calorie expenditure. These monitors allowed Ms. Donaldson to use calorie expenditure as a dependent measure for physical activity.