EFFECTS OF VARIABLE REINFORCEMENT DELAYS ON CHILDREN’S USE OF MANDS: AN APPLICATION OF RISKY CHOICE TO FUNCTIONAL COMMUNICATION TRAINING
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
FCT, Mands, Problem Behavior, Risky Choice
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Functional communication training (FCT) is a treatment for reducing problem behavior in which individuals are taught a communication response (i.e., a mand) to access the reinforcer previously delivered for problem behavior. Although it is recommended that problem behavior be placed on extinction during treatment, it is not always feasible to include this treatment component. Research on risky choice may offer implications for the design of FCT treatment packages that do not include an extinction component. Using a reversal design, the current translational study examined children’s choices to mand or engage in problem behavior when each alternative resulted in mixed or fixed delays to reinforcement. Four preschool-age children diagnosed with a developmental disorder participated. Following pre-experimental reinforcer preference assessments and functional analyses of problem behavior, I taught each child a replacement mand. I then arranged mixed and fixed reinforcement delays for manding and problem behavior. Results indicated that two children were sensitive to relative variance in delay (i.e., allocated more responding toward the mixed delay); however, an increase in problem behavior to above-baseline levels was observed in at least one treatment condition across all children. Results are discussed in relation to previous research on risky choice, FCT, and resurgence in problem behavior. This study offers implications for the design of FCT treatment packages as well as future applications of risky choice to the treatment of problem behavior.
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Mullane, Michael Patrick, "EFFECTS OF VARIABLE REINFORCEMENT DELAYS ON CHILDREN’S USE OF MANDS: AN APPLICATION OF RISKY CHOICE TO FUNCTIONAL COMMUNICATION TRAINING" (2018). Dissertations - ALL. 928.