Here's a small sample of our recently published research. You can find more studies by visiting the Google Scholar page for Dr. St. Peter.
School-Based Research: Accumulated Reinforcers INcrease Academic Responding and Suppress Problem Behavior for Students with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
We compared rates of academic responses and problem behavior during mathematics with distributed and accumulated reinforcer arrangements for three students with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder who engaged in chronic, severe problem behavior. All three students engaged in more academic responding and less problem behavior when reinforcers accumulated throughout the session, relative to conditions in which reinforcers were distributed throughout the session or withheld completely. We then conducted concurrent-chain analyses to evaluate student preference for the reinforcer arrangements. Two students preferred distributed reinforcers, even though this arrangement continued to produce problem behavior. One student preferred accumulated reinforcers. Our data replicate previous findings regarding the efficacy of accumulated-reinforcer arrangements, but suggest that students do not always prefer the most efficacious reinforcer arrangement.
Staff-Training Research: Training educators to collect accurate descriptive-assessment data
Descriptive assessments involve recording naturally occurring instances of behavior and corresponding antecedent and consequent events. Authors have argued for the use of two forms of descriptive assessment, structured and narrative ABC recording, because these methods may require little training. However, the extent to which minimal training produces accurate data with these methods has not been examined. During Experiment 1, we examined teachers’ accuracy recording descriptive data from videos. Accuracy on problem behavior did not improve over time in the absence of formal training, regardless of initial exposure to structured or narrative ABC recording. Teachers displayed a preference for the structured ABC recording sheet. During Experiment 2, eight participants were instructed using an automated training procedure that provided practice and feedback. Accurate data collection on problem behavior increased for six participants following training. Data-collection accuracy was higher for environmental events involving the presentation of stimuli (demand and attention) than the absence of stimuli (escape and low attention). Participants displayed idiosyncratic preferences for either the structured or the narrative ABC recording sheet.
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: Implications of Using Reversal Designs in Resurgence Studies
Resurgence refers to the recurrence of a previously reinforced response following the worsening of reinforcement conditions (e.g., extinction) for an alternative response. Because of the implications for treatment relapse, researchers have become particularly interested in mitigating resurgence of human behavior. Some studies have employed reversal designs and varied parameters across replications (e.g., ABCADC) to compare effects of second-phase variables. Although resurgence is generally repeatable within and between subjects, the extent to which similar levels of resurgence occur across replications is less clear. To assess the repeatability of resurgence, we conducted a secondary analysis of 62 human-operant data sets using ABCABC reversal designs from two laboratories in the United States. We found significant reductions in the magnitude of resurgence during the second exposure to extinction relative to the first exposure when all other phase variables were held constant. These results suggest that researchers should exercise caution when using within-subject, across-phase replications to compare resurgence between variable manipulations with human participants.