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: 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.