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Here's a small sample of our recently published research.
School-Based Research: Developing "healthy Contingencies" interventions for challenging behavior
Interventions based on functional analyses may result in better treatment outcomes than those using arbitrary reinforcers. However, functional analyses may be impractical in some situations, or an immediate intervention may be necessary while a functional analysis is being conducted. In these situations, delivering the social reinforcers most commonly identified by functional analyses (attention, access to tangibles, and escape from demands) following appropriate behavior and withholding these events following problem behavior may improve behavior. We assessed the extent to which this type of intervention would improve child behavior with three participants. All participants engaged in moderate to high rates of problem behavior and very little appropriate requesting during baseline, and high rates of appropriate requests and reduced rates of problem behavior during treatment.
Higher-Education Research: Increasing Class participation Using the Good Behavior Game
Participation in college classrooms remains low, despite evidence that increased participation contributes to better grades. Incorporating active student educational strategies may help combat poor participation. The Good Behavior Game is a tool for improving various behaviors of children and adolescents in schools. However, strategies similar to the Good Behavior Game have not yet been assessed with young adults in college classrooms. We used an alternating treatments design to evaluate effects of a modified version of the Good Behavior Game on participation across three introductory psychology courses at a public university. We collected baseline data on class participation and then compared two variations of the Good Behavior Game—one included delivering a preferred reward to individuals on the winning team and one did not include a reward. Incorporating components of the Good Behavior Game increased class participation with and without a preferred reward, relative to baseline. Students reported preferring the game with a reward relative to the game with no reward and not playing the game. Because class participation has been correlated with better course grades, incorporating features of the Good Behavior Game may be a feasible approach for improving college students’ education.
Human-Operant Research: REducing Relapse After Successful Treatment by Changing Treatment Strategies
Resurgence refers to the reemergence of a previously reinforced response following the extinction of a more recently reinforced response. In a published study, resurgence occurred to a lesser extent following differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) than differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) with pigeons, but this effect has not been replicated with humans. We conducted a within-subject comparison of resurgence following DRA and DRO, using a human-operant preparation. Six college students earned points by clicking a mouse button across two-component multiple schedules. During both baseline components, points were delivered for the first click to a black circle after 2 s. Responding on the black circle decreased during the second phase, using a DRA in one component and a DRO in the other component. We tested for resurgence by terminating point deliveries (extinction) during both components in the third phase. For three of the participants, more resurgence occurred in the component previously associated with DRO than the component previously associated with DRA. The other three participants showed more resurgence in the first component experienced during extinction, regardless of whether that component was associated with DRA or DRO. However, resurgence was exacerbated when the first component during extinction was DRO rather than DRA. Although sequence influenced resurgence, DRA may be preferable to DRO as an intervention when resurgence is a concern.