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Long-term effects of noncontingent reinforcement on behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement

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Long-term effects of noncontingent reinforcement on behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement
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LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF NONCONTINGENT REINFORCEMENT ON
BEHAVIOR MAINTAINED BY AUTOMATIC REINFORCEMENT










By

JANA SEITER LINDBERG


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2000















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


I would like to thank those who helped make this research possible. First, I thank

Dr. Brian Iwata, my advisor and supervisory committee chair, for teaching me to evaluate

and conduct behavioral research. His advice and support throughout this project have

been invaluable. I also thank the other committee members--Drs. Jennifer Asmus, Marc

Branch, Shari Ellis, and Timothy Vollmer--for their assistance. In addition, I thank my

colleagues, Gregory Hanley and Eileen Roscoe, who acted as therapists for the

experiments. Finally, I thank my husband, Brooks Lindberg, for believing in me and

cheering me on.














TABLE OF CONTENTS


ACKNOW LEDGM ENTS............................................................................................... ii

LIST OF FIGURES........................................................................................................ iv

ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................... v

INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................... I

Autom atic Reinforcem ent............................................................................................ 1
Assessment of Behaviors Maintained by Automatic Reinforcement............................. 2
Treatment of Behaviors Maintained by Automatic Reinforcement............................... 5
Noncontingent Reinforcem ent (NCR).......................................................................... 8
Rationale for Current Investigation............................................................................ 19

EXPERIM ENT 1 .......................................................................................................... 22

M ethods and Results ................................................................................................. 23
Participants and Setting......................................................................................... 23
Response M easurement and Reliability ................................................................. 24
Phase 1: Preference Assessment............................................................................ 24
Phase 2: Brief NCR Evaluation.............................................................................. 25
Phase 3: Extended NCR Evaluation....................................................................... 27
Discussion................................................................................................................. 30

EXPERIM ENT 2 .......................................................................................................... 32

M ethods and Results ................................................................................................. 33
Participants and Setting......................................................................................... 33
Response M easurement and Reliability ................................................................. 33
Phase 1: Functional Analysis................................................................................. 34
Phase 2: Preference Assessm ent............................................................................ 35
Phase 3: Brief NCR Evaluation.............................................................................. 39
Phase 4: Extended NCR Evaluation....................................................................... 41
Phase 5: Naturalistic NCR Evaluation.................................................................... 43
Discussion................................................................................................................. 44

GENERAL DISCUSSION ............................................................................................ 47

REFERENCES ............................................................................................................. 57

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ......................................................................................... 61
iii















LIST OF FIGURES



Figu= 3

1 Leisure item preference assessment results for Matthew and Angela...................... 26

2 Percentage of intervals of item contact for Matthew and Angela across 10-min
baseline and analog NCR sessions ......................................................................... 28

3 Percentage of intervals of item contact for Matthew and Angela across 120-min
NCR constant and NCR varied sessions.............................................................. 29

4 Rates of SIB for Laura and Robert across functional analysis conditions .............. 36

5 Leisure item preference assessment results for Laura and Robert.......................... 38

6 Rates of SIB for Laura and Robert across 10-min baseline and NCR sessions........ 40

7 Rates of SIB for Laura and Robert across 120-min NCR constant and NCR varied
sessions ................................................................... ............ ........ .....................42

8 Rates of SIB for Laura during 10-min observation periods at home....................... 45














Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF NONCONTINGENT REINFORCEMENT ON
BEHAVIOR MAINTAINED BY AUTOMATIC REINFORCEMENT

By

Jana Seiter Lindberg

May 2000


Chairman: Brian A. Iwata
Major Department: Psychology

The purpose of the current investigation was to evaluate the long-term effects of

noncontingent reinforcement (NCR) on behavior problems maintained by automatic

reinforcement. In the first experiment, treatment effects were examined by studying

behavior that can be considered analogous to the response options available when NCR is

used to treat self-injurious behavior (SIB) maintained by automatic reinforcement:

Manipulation of a low- or medium-preference leisure item was likened to engaging in

SIB maintained by automatic reinforcement, and manipulation of a high-preference item

was likened to manipulating a competing leisure item available during NCR. Two

individuals participated. An assessment was conducted to identify low-, medium-, and

high-preference leisure items. The effects of NCR were then evaluated during 10-min

and 120-min sessions.









In the second experiment, the effects of NCR were evaluated on the SIB of two

individuals. First, functional analyses were conducted to determine that the participants'

SIB was not maintained by social reinforcement. Assessments were also conducted to

identify leisure items associated with long durations of manipulation and low levels of

SIB. The effects of providing continuous access to a highly preferred leisure item were

then assessed during 10-min and 120-min sessions. Varied reinforcers were subsequently

delivered during 120-min sessions to determine if treatment effects might be extended.

The effects of using NCR all day were also assessed over several months for one

participant.

The results of Experiments 1 and 2 demonstrated that reinforcers obtained

through item manipulation can compete with the reinforcers obtained automatically by

engaging in SIB during brief NCR sessions. However, data from the 120-min sessions

indicated that NCR may lose its effectiveness when used for long periods of time.

Providing varied high-preference leisure items may extended the usefulness of NCR for

some individuals. When NCR was implemented all day, its therapeutic effects were

shown to last over several months. Thus, NCR may reduce some individuals' SIB over

long periods, but additional interventions may be necessary for others.















INTRODUCTION


The purpose of the current investigation was to evaluate the long-term effects of

noncontingent reinforcement (NCR) on behavior problems maintained by automatic

reinforcement. To provide the reader with a background to the current research, this

paper will (a) explain the concept of automatic reinforcement, (b) describe how behavior

is shown to be maintained by automatic reinforcement, (c) summarize five treatment

strategies for behavior problems maintained by automatic reinforcement, (d) review the

history of noncontingent reinforcement as a treatment for behavior disorders, and (e)

explain the rationale for conducting the current study.


Automatic Reinforcement

Many persons with developmental disabilities engage in repetitive behaviors that

persist in the absence of social reinforcement. These behaviors are said to be maintained

by automatic reinforcement to the extent that they directly produce their own reinforcing

consequences. The concept of automatic reinforcement was first introduced by Skinner

(1953), who used the term to describe reinforcement that does not involve mediation by

another person. Vaughn and Michael (1982) clarified and extended the concept of

automatic reinforcement when they explained that automatic reinforcement "is a

'natural'result of behavior when it operates upon the behaver's own body or the







2
surrounding world. In general, the reinforcement may be conditioned or unconditioned,

positive or negative" (p. 219).


Assessment of Behaviors Maintained by Automatic Reinforcement

Identifying the influence of automatic reinforcement on behavior may be difficult

because reinforcement is produced directly by the behavior and often cannot be

manipulated independently of the behavior (Vollmer, 1994). Nevertheless, Shore and

Iwata (1999) suggested four strategies for assessing behavior that is suspected of being

maintained by automatic reinforcement. First, the behavior should be shown not to be

differentially sensitive to social consequences, which is best demonstrated by conducting

a functional analysis (Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman, & Richman, 1982/1994), in which

an individual is exposed to test and control conditions. If the target behavior is not

differentially high in one or more of the test conditions for social reinforcement (i.e.,

attention or escape), results would suggest that the behavior is insensitive to social

contingencies. In other words, if behavior occurs at comparable across levels in all

conditions (e.g., Vollmer, Marcus, & LeBlanc, 1994) or occurs at lower levels in the test

conditions for social reinforcement than in the test condition for automatic reinforcement

(e.g., Kennedy & Souza, 1995), it is unlikely that the behavior is maintained by social

reinforcement.

The second step is to verify that the behavior persists in the absence of social

reinforcement, which is most often accomplished by observing the individual while

alone. Vollmer, Marcus, Ringdahl, and Roane (1995b) have suggested that, at the

conclusion of a functional analysis, an individual might be repeatedly observed while

alone to verify that the behavior continues to occur when the test conditions for social







3
reinforcement are no longer being conducted. Persistence of behavior in the absence of

social interaction rules out the possibility that undifferentiated functional analysis results

were caused by intermittent social reinforcement, idiosyncratic reinforcers, multiple

control, adjunctive schedules, or sequence effects.

Third, if the behavior operates on the external environment and produces an

observable response product, the consequence may be subject to manipulation. A

functional relation is demonstrated by showing that the behavior occurs when it produces

the observable consequence but does not occur when the consequence is prevented. For

example, Rincover (1978) controlled one individual's level of plate spinning by

attenuating the auditory stimulus produced by the behavior. The individual spun the plate

more often when the table was left bare; plate spinning decreased when carpet was placed

on the table.

If the behavior does not produce an observable consequence or if it produces a

consequence that is difficult to manipulate, then substitutable reinforcers may be

identified that compete with the behavior. Substitutable reinforcers are "different

reinforcers that are nevertheless interchangeable under certain conditions" (Shore, Iwata,

DeLeon, Kahng, & Smith, 1997, p. 130). Finding substitutable reinforcers may help

identify the nature of the automatic reinforcer that maintains the target behavior because

the reinforcers may share common properties.

It has also been suggested (Vollmer, 1994) that if behavior occurs at high rates in

all functional analysis conditions, a medical examination should be conducted to

determine if the behavior is maintained by automatic negative reinforcement. Behavior

maintained by automatic negative reinforcement attenuates or delays aversive







4
physiological stimulation. For example, scratching may reduce irritation caused by skin

conditions, and head hitting may attenuate pain caused from a headache or ear infection.

Behavior maintained by automatic negative reinforcement is likely to occur whenever the

individual experiences pain or discomfort. Thus, if the behavior occurs across all

conditions or if the behavior occurs in a cyclical pattern, the behavior may be maintained

by automatic negative reinforcement, and the source of discomfort should be identified

and eliminated whenever possible.

These strategies have been used to assess a number of behaviors exhibited by

individuals with developmental disabilities. Researchers have found that automatic

reinforcement has maintained behaviors such as eye poking (Kennedy & Souza, 1995;

Lalli, Livezey, & Kates, 1996), face slapping (Van Houten, 1993), hand mouthing (Goh

et al., 1995; Mazaleski, Iwata, Rodgers, Vollmer, & Zarcone, 1994), hand biting

(Ringdahl, Vollmer, Marcus, & Roane, 1997; Vollmer et al., 1994), hair pulling (Rapp,

Miltenberger, Galensky, Ellingson, & Long, 1999), head banging (Ringdahl et al., 1997;

Vollmer et al., 1994), pica (Piazza et al., 1998), property destruction (Fisher, Lindauer,

Alterson, & Thompson, 1998), skin picking and rubbing (Roscoe, Iwata, & Goh, 1998;

Shore et al., 1997), and stereotypy (Fisher et al., 1998). In a large-scale experimental

study (Iwata et al., 1994), functional analysis data from 152 individuals who engaged in

various forms of self-injurious behavior (SIB) indicated that automatic reinforcement

accounted for 25.7% of the cases. Thus, automatic reinforcement appears to be a

significant source of reinforcement for many behavior problems.







5
Treatment of Behaviors Maintained by Automatic Reinforcement

There are several reinforcement-based treatments that decrease behaviors

maintained by automatic reinforcement. These treatments can be categorized into three

different approaches: altering establishing operations, limiting reinforcement for the

behavior, and strengthening competing behaviors.

Michael (1993) described an establishing operation as "an environmental event,

operation, or stimulus condition that affects an organism by momentarily altering (a) the

reinforcing effectiveness of other events and (b) the frequency of occurrence of that part

of the organism's repertoire relevant to those events as consequences" (p. 192). The most

common establishing operations for behavior maintained by positive and negative

reinforcement are deprivation and aversive stimulation, respectively. Thus, behavior

maintained by positive reinforcement may be less likely to occur if the individual is

satiated to the reinforcer maintaining the behavior; behavior maintained by negative

reinforcement is unlikely to occur when the aversive stimulation is no longer present.

Another approach to treating behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement is

to limit reinforcement for the target behavior. This may be accomplished by

extinguishing the behavior or by increasing the effort required to engage in the response.

Extinction requires the discontinuation or attenuation of the reinforcement maintaining

the behavior. Rincover (1978) reported using extinction to decrease the stereotypic

behaviors of three individuals. For example, the behavior of one individual who twirled a

plate on a table decreased when the sound produced by the behavior was attenuated by

carpeting the table. Vibrators were attached to the backs of two other individuals' hands

to attenuate the stimulation produced by finger flapping (one child) and object twirling







6
(second child). In other studies, investigators have used protective equipment to reduce

the stimulation produced by behavior (Dorsey, Iwata, Reid, & Davis, 1982; Parrish,

Aguerrevere, Dorsey, & Iwata, 1980).

Zhou, Goff, and Iwata (2000) demonstrated that increasing response effort is

another viable way to limit reinforcement for behaviors maintained by automatic

reinforcement. Four individuals who engaged in high levels of hand mouthing even

when they had access to preferred leisure items participated. When they wore soft,

flexible sleeves that increased resistance for elbow flexion, the participants engaged in

lower levels of hand mouthing. Interestingly, application of the device did not interfere

with the high levels of object manipulation exhibited by two individuals and actually

increased object manipulation by the remaining two participants.

Finally, behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement may be decreased by

strengthening competing behaviors through differential reinforcement. This approach

usually involves delivering reinforcement contingent on the occurrence of appropriate

behavior and withholding reinforcement contingent on the occurrence of problem

behavior. For example, Wacker et al. (1990) used differential reinforcement of

alternative behavior (DRA) to decrease one individual's stereotypy. The individual was

given access to a rocking chair contingent on emitting an appropriate communicative

response. Favell, McGinsey, and Schell (1982) found that the SIB of 6 individuals

decreased when participants had access to alternative activities. SIB decreased even

further when object manipulation was reinforced. Cowdery, Iwata, and Pace (1990) used

differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) to decrease the severe SIB of one







7
individual; the individual received access to video games and other preferred activities

contingent on the nonoccurrence of SIB.

In summary, treatments based on altering establishing operations, limiting

reinforcement for the behavior, and strengthening competing behaviors have been shown

to reduce problem behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement. However, the latter

two approaches have limitations that may make them less attractive than the first

approach. In order to implement extinction, the source of reinforcement must be

identified and controlled. This is difficult because behavior may produce multiple forms

of stimulation, and even if identified, intrusive measures (i.e., protective equipment) may

be required to limit reinforcement of the response. Increasing response effort may also

be problematic because some form of equipment is usually required, and in some cases

the response topography does not easily lend itself to increasing the effort required to

engage in the response. For example, it would be difficult to increase the effort required

to engage in problem behavior such as head banging, echolalia, or spitting. Treatment

approaches based on strengthening alternative responses may be unsuccessful if highly

preferred reinforcers cannot be identified: Reinforcers that are more valuable than the

automatic reinforcer obtained by engaging in problem behavior are required for

differential reinforcement procedures because it is usually not possible to put the target

behavior on extinction. Thus, a typical differential reinforcement procedure is much like

a concurrent reinforcement schedule in which the individual receives one reinforcer for

the problem behavior or another reinforcer for the alternative behavior.

Treatment approaches based on altering establishing operations are advantageous

because they are usually easy for caregivers to implement and may be effective even







8
when the target behavior continues to be reinforced. The latter advantage is especially

important because the reinforcers maintaining the behavior may be impossible to identify

and control. One of the most common methods of altering establishing operations is

noncontingent reinforcement (NCR).


Noncontingent Reinforcement (NCR)

NCR involves the delivery of a reinforcer according to a schedule that is

independent of the occurrence of specific behavior. The effects of NCR were

demonstrated in an early study (Rescorla & Skucy, 1969) in which NCR was compared

to extinction. During baseline, bar-pressing by rats was reinforced with food pellets

according to a variable-interval (VI) schedule. Subsequently, some of the rats were

exposed to an extinction condition in which no food was delivered, whereas others were

exposed to an NCR procedure in which food pellets were delivered on a variable-time

(VT) schedule in which the rate of reinforcement was yoked to that received by a third

group of rats that continued to receive reinforcement for bar-pressing on a VI schedule.

Both extinction and NCR decreased bar-pressing by rats, but response suppression was

greater with extinction.

The term noncontingentt reinforcement" has been the subject of recent debate

(Poling & Normand, 1999; Vollmer, 1999). The term has been used to describe a

procedure in which a stimulus with known reinforcing properties is delivered according

to response-independent or time-based schedule (Vollmer, Iwata, Zarcone, Smith, &

Mazaleski, 1993). However, Poling and Normand criticized the practice of using the

term "reinforcement" to describe a situation in which the delivery of a stimulus does not

result in an increase in any behavior that is measured. The authors argued that the







9
function of a stimulus can vary depending on the context: A stimulus may function as a

reinforcer in one setting when it is delivered on one schedule, but it may not increase

behavior in another setting or when delivered according to another schedule. Thus, the

authors concluded that "the fact that a stimulus is a positive reinforcer in one context

does not justify terming it a positive reinforcer in a context in which its delivery reduces

responding" (p. 237).

Vollmer (1999) agreed that the term noncontingent reinforcement is problematic

and encouraged researchers to describe their procedures in operational terms such as

"fixed-time attention" or "fixed-time escape." However, he proposed that the term

noncontingent reinforcement has served a good purpose because it seems to have led

behavior analysts to recognize the potential of NCR as a general class of procedures

rather than as a unique application of a time-based schedule. Vollmer explained that,

"Calling the procedure NCR gave it status as a treatment package on par with DRO

[differential reinforcement of other behavior], insofar as both names describe a general

procedure that is not limited to any particular stimulus or event" (p. 240). In addition,

NCR has the advantage of capturing an important aspect of the procedure that terms like

"fixed-time attention" or "response-independent escape" do not: The stimulus delivered

has been shown to be a reinforcer for the participant and, in most cases, is the same

stimulus that has been shown to maintain the target behavior. For these reasons, the term

noncontingent reinforcement, or NCR, will be used to describe past research and the

current investigation.

NCR has been used to treat a number of behavior problems maintained by social

reinforcement. Usually, when the target behavior is maintained by social reinforcement,







10
the reinforcer that maintains the target behavior is no longer delivered following the

target behavior during NCR. Instead, the maintaining reinforcer is usually delivered

according to a time-based schedule (i.e., independently of the target behavior). Thus, the

maintaining reinforcer is still delivered, but the dependency between the target behavior

and reinforcement is discontinued.

An example of how NCR may be used as treatment for behavior maintained by

social reinforcement was described by Mace and Lalli (1991), who found that one

individual's bizarre vocalizations were maintained by social positive reinforcement in the

form of attention. The authors developed two treatments to decrease the vocalizations:

NCR and communication training. In the NCR condition, attention was delivered

according to a VT schedule. During communication training, the individual was first

taught to initiate a conversation and was then taught to expand the conversation by asking

questions or offering contextually appropriate information. Both interventions effectively

decreased bizarre vocalizations.

Vollmer et al. (1993) compared the effects of two interventions, DRO and NCR,

on the SIB of three individuals. The authors conducted a functional analysis of the

participants' SIB and found that each subject's target behavior was maintained by social

positive reinforcement in the form of attention. The participants were then exposed to

DRO and NCR in either multielement or reversal designs. During DRO sessions, a

therapist delivered attention to the participant contingent on the absence of SIB for a

specified interval. During NCR sessions, a therapist delivered attention to the participant

based on an FT schedule. DRO and NCR produced comparable decreases in SIB;

however, the authors recommended NCR over DRO for several reasons: (a) extinction-







11
induced behavior was attenuated for 2 of the 3 participants during NCR, (b) the

participants received more reinforcers during NCR, and (c) NCR was easier to implement

because caregivers were not required to constantly monitor the participant and reset the

DRO interval each time the target behavior occurred.

Hagopian, Fisher, and Legacy (1994) examined the effects of dense versus lean

schedules of NCR on the destructive behaviors of four children. The authors first

conducted a functional analysis and found that the children's target behaviors were

maintained by attention. The authors then compared a dense NCR schedule, in which the

participant received attention continuously, to a lean schedule, in which the individual

received attention once every 5 min. Results showed that the dense NCR schedule

produced immediate and dramatic reductions in destructive behavior in all four

participants, whereas the lean schedule was much less effective. Following this

comparison, the dense NCR schedule was successfully thinned from FT 10 s to FT 5 min.

Fischer, Iwata, and Mazaleski (1997) used NCR in the absence of extinction to

decrease two participants' SIB. The authors studied the extent to which noncontingent

delivery of arbitrary reinforcers (i.e., reinforcers that are irrelevant to behavioral

maintenance) would decrease problem behaviors maintained by social reinforcement.

Results of a functional analysis demonstrated that one participant's SIB was maintained

by attention, and the other's SIB was maintained by access to a preferred clothing item.

An additional assessment also demonstrated that preferred food items did not maintain

either participant's SIB. During NCR, the target behaviors continued to produce their

maintaining reinforcers, while preferred food items were delivered on an FT schedule.







12
Even though the target behavior continued to be reinforced, the behavior decreased

during NCR.

Vollmer, Marcus, and Ringdahl (1995a) extended research on NCR by using the

procedure to decrease behavior maintained by social negative reinforcement in the form

of escape from instructional activities. Two young men who engaged in SIB participated

in the study. A functional analysis was conducted, and the results suggested that both

participants' target behavior was maintained by escape. During NCR, escape from a

learning task was provided on an FT schedule. Initially, escape was provided

continuously, but the schedule was gradually thinned to FT 2.5 min for one participant

and to FT 10 min for the other. The authors found that NCR was an effective treatment

for behavior maintained by escape.

NCR has also been used as a treatment for behavior problems maintained by

automatic reinforcement In these cases, it is usually not possible to deliver the same

reinforcer that maintains the target behavior because the target behavior produces a

product that cannot be manipulated or delivered independently of the behavior.

Nonetheless, Shore and Iwata (1999) have observed that providing "access to similar

(substitutable) but different reinforcement might abolish the establishing effects of either

deprivation or aversive stimulation" (p. 132). In most cases, NCR procedures for

behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement have involved providing continuous

access to leisure items. In some studies, authors have reported providing continuous

access to food (Favell et al., 1982; Piazza et al., 1998) or to some other stimulus (e.g.,

Bailey & Meyerson, 1970).







13
In one study (Bailey & Meyerson, 1970), a child's severe SIB decreased when a

vibrator was activated that made the mattress of his crib shake. Providing the vibration

noncontingently during 10-min periods was more effective than providing vibration for 6

s contingent on lever-pressing. One interesting aspect of this study was that, during

NCR, the participant was not required to do anything to obtain the reinforcer (vibration).

In a number of other studies, NCR involved providing leisure items that the

participants could manipulate in order to access reinforcement. For example, in one

study (Lockwood & Bourland, 1982), continuous access to leisure items was shown to

decrease hand biting in one participant and arm biting and face slapping in another.

Leisure items, such as colorful rubber and soft plastic toys, were selected that were

thought to provide stimulation similar to that provided by the target behaviors.

Incidentally, the authors found that noncontingent access to the leisure items was most

effective when the leisure items were attached to the participants' wheelchairs rather than

left loose on the participants' laps.

Favell et al. (1982) decreased the SIB of 6 individuals by providing alternate

activities that produced sensory stimulation similar to that apparently obtained from

engaging in the target behaviors. One individual who chewed and sucked on his hands

was given large, soft items that could be mouthed. Two individuals who engaged in eye-

poking were given leisure items with striking visual properties. Three individuals who

engaged in pica were given popcorn and leisure items that required hand manipulation.

SIB decreased substantially when participants had access to these items and decreased

even further when object manipulation was reinforced.







14
Vollmer et al. (1994) demonstrated the importance of providing preferred items

during NCR to obtain decreases in SIB. Functional analyses were conducted for three

participants, and results suggested that all three participants' target behavior was

maintained by automatic reinforcement. A preference assessment was also conducted to

identify preferred leisure or food items for the participants.

The authors then compared the effects of providing continuous, noncontingent

access to preferred versus non-preferred items and found that noncontingent access to

preferred stimuli produced decreases in SIB for all participants, whereas noncontingent

access to non-preferred stimuli had little effect on behavior. To obtain further decreases

in SIB, the authors reinforced the object manipulation of two participants, and manually

restrained one of these two participants for 5 s following occurrences of SIB. The

authors also found that NCR began to lose its effects for one participant until another

preference assessment was conducted and new items were made available during NCR.

In the final phase, two participants' families were trained to implement treatment

packages that included the NCR procedure for one hour per day. The authors visited the

participants' homes once per week for 7 weeks to evaluate the effectiveness of the

intervention package. Follow-up data were also collected for one participant one and five

months later. Results indicated that the intervention remained effective for both

participants when implemented under naturalistic conditions.

Shore et al. (1997) suggested that the results of many studies on NCR as a

treatment for behavior problems maintained by automatic reinforcement may be analyzed

in terms of reinforcer substitutability. The effects of NCR depend on the relation

between the arbitrary reinforcer that is delivered noncontingently and the reinforcer







15
obtained through engaging in the target behavior. Three relations are possible:

complementarity, substitutability, and independence. "Substitutability describes a

continuum of interactions between concurrently available reinforcers. At one end of the

continuum are complementary reinforcers, for which increased consumption of one

alternative results in increased consumption of its complement.... At the other end of the

continuum are substitutable reinforcers, for which an increase in consumption of one

alternative results in decreased consumption of its substitute.... In the middle of the

continuum, reinforcers are independent: Consumption of one has minimal effect of

consumption of another" (p. 23). Therefore, if the reinforcer delivered noncontingently

and the reinforcer obtained through the target behavior are complementary, the target

behavior would increase. If the two are substitutable, NCR would produce decreases in

the target behavior, and if the two are independent, the treatment may have no effect.

Shore et al. (1997) examined the relation between the automatic reinforcement

obtained through SIB and the reinforcement obtained through leisure item manipulation.

They first conducted a functional analysis of the SIB of three individuals to determine

that the behavior was maintained by automatic reinforcement. Probes were then

conducted to identify leisure items that appeared to produce reinforcers substitutable for

SIB. The authors then evaluated the effects of NCR using the leisure items identified in

the probes. NCR produced large decreases in SIB for all three participants.

Shore et al. (1997) conducted two additional experiments to investigate further the

extent to which arbitrary reinforcers would compete with those obtained through SIB. In

one experiment, the authors evaluated the effects of delivering the leisure items according

to various DRO schedules but failed to observe clinically significant reductions in SIB







16
for any of the 3 participants. In the final experiment, the authors altered the effort

required to manipulate preferred leisure items while keeping constant the effort required

to engage in SIB. Response effort of item manipulation was altered by anchoring objects

to a lap tray with a string and varying the length of the string. When the string was at full

length, the individual could manipulate the object while seated in an upright position. As

the string was shortened, the individual had to bend over further and further to

manipulate the item. The authors found that when the string was at full length, the

participants engaged in high levels of object manipulation and low levels of SIB. As the

string was shortened, object manipulation decreased and SIB increased, until a switch in

preference between object manipulation and SIB was observed. These results illustrate

that the relationship between two reinforcers (in this case, the reinforcer maintaining SIB

and the reinforcer obtained through object manipulation) depends on the context in which

they are presented.

Two recent studies (Goh et al., 1995; Piazza et al., 1998) have indirectly

investigated the nature of the automatic reinforcer that maintains behavior by finding

substitutable reinforcers and identifying the specific aspects of reinforcement that may

make them substitutable. Goh et al. conducted functional analyses of the hand mouthing

of 12 individuals. Results from 10 of the 12 individuals' assessments suggested that the

target behavior was maintained by automatic reinforcement; results for the remaining two

individuals suggested that the behavior was maintained by social positive reinforcement.

Four of the individuals whose hand mouthing appeared to be maintained by automatic

reinforcement participated in a second experiment to identify the possible specific

sources of reinforcement for the target behavior. The participants were given access to








17
an object they had been observed to manipulate outside of sessions while the

experimenters measured the participants' levels of hand-mouth, hand-item, and mouth-

item contact. Results indicated that they preferred hand-item contact. In the next

experiment, the experimenters measured hand-mouth, hand-item, and mouth-item contact

of five individuals across a variety of leisure items. All five individuals engaged in

greater levels of hand-item contact than hand-mouth or mouth-item contact. From these

data, the authors concluded that hand stimulation may have been the more important

reinforcing aspect of hand mouthing for these individuals.

Piazza et al. (1998) conducted functional analyses of the pica of three individuals.

Results of the assessment suggested that the pica of one participant was maintained by

automatic reinforcement and the pica of the other two participants appeared to be

maintained by both automatic and social reinforcement. Next, the authors conducted

preference assessments to find stimuli that would compete with pica. They assessed

stimuli that produced oral stimulation (matched stimuli) and stimuli that produced other

types of stimulation (unmatched stimuli). The authors hypothesized that pica was

maintained by the oral stimulation it produced. To test this hypothesis, the authors

presented preferred matched stimuli in one condition and preferred unmatched stimuli in

another condition. Pica occurred at lower levels in the matched stimuli condition for 2 of

the 3 participants.

The two individuals who exhibited lower levels of pica during the matched

stimuli condition participated in a more detailed assessment to identify the aspect of oral

stimulation that served as reinforcement. The authors hypothesized that firmness (rather

than taste or other aspects of texture) was an important component of pica for the







18
individuals and assessed items with varying degrees of firmness (e.g., rice cakes, carrot

sticks, tofu, gelatin, etc.). When the participants had access to firm items, they engaged

in lower levels of pica than when they had access to soft items. These results supported

the hypothesis that firmness was an important aspect of reinforcement for pica for these

individuals.

Roscoe et al. (1998) compared the effects of NCR to those of protective

equipment on the SIB of three individuals. They first conducted a functional analysis and

found that all three individuals' target behaviors were maintained by automatic

reinforcement. Next, the authors conducted probes to identify a leisure item for each

individual that would effectively compete with SIB. The leisure items selected were a

massager, a plastic ring, and a small musical keyboard. Additional probes were

conducted to identify the least intrusive form of protective equipment that effectively

decreased each participant's form of SIB. Foam sleeves were selected for one individual

who rubbed and hit his arms against hard stationary surfaces, boxing gloves were selected

for the participant who engaged in hand mouthing, and latex gloves were selected for the

participant who picked and rubbed her skin. The authors conducted alone baseline

sessions and then compared the effects of NCR and protective-equipment sessions in

multielement designs. Both procedures effectively decreased SIB, but the authors

recommended using NCR because (a) it produced slightly more rapid or more complete

suppression, (b) it required little effort to implement, and (c) it occasioned appropriate

alternative behaviors.

The above research has demonstrated that NCR can effectively decrease behavior

maintained by automatic reinforcement. Recent studies have highlighted the importance







19
of selecting highly preferred reinforcers to be delivered during NCR (Piazza et al., 1998;

Vollmer et al., 1994). Results from other studies have suggested that it may be beneficial

to present stimuli that appear to provide stimulation similar to that obtained through the

target behavior (Favell et al., 1982; Goh et al., 1995; Lockwood & Bourland, 1982;

Piazza et al., 1998; Shore et al., 1997). However, even when highly preferred or

presumably matched reinforcers are delivered, sometimes NCR is not effective and

additional procedures are necessary (Lindberg, Iwata, & Kahng, 1999; Ringdahl et al.,

1997; Vollmer et al., 1994).


Rationale for Current Investigation

Research on noncontingent reinforcement has demonstrated that the intervention

can be used to reduce a variety of behavior problems. However, these findings are based

on evaluations of NCR during brief experimental sessions, ranging in duration from 5-15

min. It is unclear if the intervention would remain effective when evaluated over longer

periods of time. This is particularly questionable when NCR is used to decrease behavior

maintained by automatic reinforcement.

To understand why the effects of NCR are less likely to be maintained over time

when the procedure is used to treat behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement than

when NCR is used for behavior maintained by social reinforcement, it is important to

understand several key differences between the two procedures: the inclusion or

exclusion of an extinction component, the relationship of the stimulus delivered

noncontingently to the stimulus maintaining the target behavior, and the effects of

extended exposure to noncontingent reinforcement.







20
A behavior maintained by social reinforcement persists during baseline because

the maintaining reinforcer is delivered by another individual. When NCR is

implemented, the maintaining reinforcer is usually no longer delivered contingent on the

target response. By contrast, a behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement persists

during baseline because it directly produces the reinforcer. Because the target behavior is

maintained by automatic reinforcement, occurrences of the behavior continue to produce

reinforcement during treatment. Thus, in the first case, NCR can include an extinction

component, whereas in the second case, it usually cannot.

The second key difference between NCR for behavior maintained by social

reinforcement and NCR for behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement involves the

relationship of the stimulus delivered noncontingently to the stimulus maintaining the

target behavior. When NCR is used to decrease a behavior maintained by social

reinforcement, the same reinforcer that maintains the target behavior is usually delivered

during treatment. By contrast, when NCR is used to treat behavior maintained by

automatic reinforcement, an arbitrary reinforcer is delivered that competes with the

maintaining reinforcer.

Given the above considerations, satiation to the reinforcer delivered during NCR

would have different effects depending on whether the intervention is used to treat a

behavior maintained by social or automatic reinforcement. When the intervention is used

for behavior maintained by social reinforcement, satiation to the reinforcer being

delivered noncontingently would not cause the target behavior to increase because the

reinforcer maintaining the behavior is being delivered noncontingently. By contrast,

when NCR is implemented to treat behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement,







21
satiation to the noncontingent reinforcer may lead to an increase in the target response

because the reinforcer delivered noncontingently is an arbitrary reinforcer. Satiation to

the arbitrary reinforcer may not alter the establishing operation of the target behavior;

once consumption of the noncontingent reinforcer decreases, the individual may be

motivated to engage in the target behavior. These satiation effects, if they occur, are

more likely to be observed when NCR is evaluated over longer periods of time.

The purpose of the current investigation was to determine whether NCR involving

the delivery of arbitrary reinforcers leads to reemergence of problem behavior due to

satiation. A secondary purpose was to determine if satiation could be mitigated through

the use of multiple reinforcers. Two experiments were conducted. In the first, the long-

term effects of NCR were investigated in an analog situation. To accomplish this goal,

two individuals' patterns of leisure item manipulation were investigated under a variety

of conditions. In the second experiment, the long-term effects of NCR on SIB were

investigated. Two individuals who engaged in SIB maintained by automatic

reinforcement participated.















EXPERIMENT 1


The purpose of this experiment was to evaluate the long-term effects of NCR by

observing the relationship between behavior that was hypothesized to be analogous to

target and alternative behaviors when NCR is used to treat behavior maintained by

automatic reinforcement. Manipulation of a low- or moderate-preference leisure item

was considered analogous to engaging in SIB, whereas manipulation of a high-preference

leisure item was likened to consuming the competing reinforcer (i.e., playing with a toy

or eating food) that is delivered noncontingently during treatment. Engaging in SIB was

compared to manipulating a lesser-preferred leisure item, and consuming the arbitrary

noncontingentt) reinforcer was compared to manipulating a more-preferred item because,

when NCR is effective, the participant allocates more time to consuming the arbitrary

reinforcer and less time engaging in SIB. We selected leisure items that were

differentially preferred by the participant so as to increase the likelihood that the

individual would manipulate one item more than the other during NCR.

During baseline, one leisure item was available. This was considered comparable

to the conditions that exist when levels of SIB maintained by automatic reinforcement are

measured during typical baseline sessions: The individual is placed in a situation in

which little reinforcement is available except by engaging in SIB. During the analogue

NCR sessions, two leisure items were available concurrently. This situation was likened

to the conditions of a treatment session in that, during NCR, the individual may access

22







23
reinforcement by engaging in SIB or by consuming the reinforcer that is delivered

noncontingently.

The study was conducted in 3 phases. In the first phase, participants' preferences

for a number of leisure items were assessed. In the second phase, participants' levels of

object manipulation with one or two items were recorded during brief sessions. In the

third phase, levels of object manipulation were recorded during extended sessions.


Methods and Results


Participants and Setting

Two individuals enrolled in a sheltered workshop program for persons with

developmental disabilities participated. Matthew was a 32-yr-old man diagnosed with

mental retardation. He was ambulatory, could follow multi-step instructions, and

communicated vocally. Angela was a 38-yr-old woman also diagnosed with mental

retardation. She was ambulatory and could follow simple one- and two-step instructions.

Angela could communicate vocally but, due to articulation problems, she often

communicated with gestures and a few manual signs. Neither Matthew nor Angela

engaged in any behavior problems.

All sessions were conducted on the grounds of the sheltered workshop. The

sessions for one participant were conducted in an area that had a small table and a few

chairs, which was partitioned off from the main workshop area. The second participant's

sessions were conducted in a conference room with a large table and several chairs.









Response Measurement and Reliability

The dependent variable was object manipulation, which was defined as physical

hand contact with (e.g., touching, holding) a leisure item. Data were collected on

handheld computers during continuous 10-s intervals and were summarized as the

percentage of intervals during which responding occurred. Interobserver agreement was

assessed by having a second observer independently collect data during 38.5% and 47.0%

of Matthew's and Angela's sessions, respectively. Observers' records were compared on

an interval-by-interval basis. An interval was considered an agreement if both observers

scored either the presence or absence of behavior. Agreement coefficients were

calculated by dividing the number of intervals containing agreements by the total number

of intervals and multiplying by 100%. Mean agreement scores were 99.0% (range,

96.7% to 100%) and 97.3% (range, 74.4% to 100%), respectively, for Matthew's and

Angela's leisure item manipulation.


Phase 1: Preference Assessment

The participants' preferences for a number of leisure items were assessed using

procedures described by Fisher et al. (1992). Before the assessment, the therapist

familiarized the participants with each leisure item. Then, each item was paired once

with every other item, with the order of presentation determined randomly. On each trial,

two leisure items were placed next to each other and approximately 30 cm in front of the

participant. An approach response to one item produced 30-s access to that item while

the other item was removed. Attempts to approach both items were blocked. If neither

stimulus was approached within 5 s, the therapist prompted the participant to sample each







25
item and then repeated the trial. If the participant did not approach either item when the

trial was repeated, the therapist removed both items and initiated a new trial.

Figure 1 shows the percentage of trials on which each item was selected during

the leisure item assessment. The items are listed from left to right in descending order

based on the number of trials on which they were selected. Matthew selected the beads

and string at every opportunity, and the sports magazine only once. The beads and string

were selected as the high-preference item for inclusion in Phase 2. The sports magazine

was selected as the low-preference item because it was clearly less preferred than the

beads and string, but it was still selected on at least some of the trials. Angela selected

the coloring book and crayons most often, and the mirror least often. The balloon was

selected on 44.4% of the trials. The coloring book and crayons were selected as the high-

preference item; the balloon was selected as the low-preference. The puzzle and the

beads and string were selected as Angela's additional high-preference items for inclusion

in Phase 3.


Phase 2: Brief NCR Evaluation

In the second phase, the effects of NCR were evaluated during 10-min sessions

using a multiple baseline design. A reversal design was also used during Angela's

assessment. During baseline, the participant had access to a low-preference item; during

NCR, both a low-preference and a high-preference item were available. At the beginning

of each session, the appropriate number of items was placed on a table in front of the

participant. The participant was not given any instructions regarding item contact. At the

conclusion of the session, the participant was informed that the session was over, and the












HP Matthew
100- H -


75- ..I .
.._ .. ....-- .
50




.1 I %% '..o I o!oIoUoIo





0 0.
^m
HP00 Angela

CL4 ^ HP
75-I I

50- I II ||I I^
i .% '.o% '.%%.o1 a
0 i- r% "%*% "0%
.. .. .. .... .. .
.. :. :.. :. ..:..:.. ..:..:.:













.o Oo % ,, % ,,OoO,,,,o1^
















U Stimuli


Figure 1: Leisure item preference assessment results for Matthew and Angela
.. ...% Oo .....o~ .....,~o
.~ .... ... ..O.oOOo
,% % o.o... % ... ... ... ..
.. .....:: .::::: ..... ..... ....
~. ... .... i i
.. .. .... .. .. .....




25 .. .. .. .. ..
.....~~ ...................
.... ... .. ... .. ..





0 I I I





75 ....) ..
Stiul
Figure .....eiempeeec assmn esl o athwadAgl







27
materials were removed from the table. The therapist did not praise or otherwise

reinforce object manipulation.

Figure 2 shows the percentage of intervals of item contact for Matthew (top

panel) and Angela (bottom panel). When only the low-preference item was available, the

participants manipulated the item at high levels throughout the baseline sessions. The

mean level of item manipulation during baseline sessions was 96.0% (range, 88.3 to

100%) and 74.2 (range, 43.1 to 100%) for Matthew and Angela, respectively. When both

the low- and high-preference items were available, Matthew and Angela manipulated the

high-preference item during an average of 98.6% (range, 93.1 to 100%) and 97.6%

(range, 92.0 to 100%) of the intervals, respectively. Manipulation of the low-preference

item quickly dropped to zero for both participants.


Phase 3: Extended NCR Evaluation

The effects of NCR were evaluated during 120-min sessions using a reversal

design. During the first condition, NCR constant, the individual had access to the low-

and high-preference leisure items. This condition was identical to the NCR condition in

Phase 2. During the second condition, NCR varied, the individual had access to the low-

preference item and to three different high-preference leisure items. During this

condition, all of the items were placed on a table in front of the participant, who was

allowed to manipulate any of the items throughout the session.

Figure 3 shows percentage of intervals of item contact during 120-min sessions.

Responding in each session is divided into 20-min blocks. When the low- and high-

preference items were available, Matthew manipulated the high-preference item to the

exclusion of the low-preference item. This pattern of results was observed over four 120-










Analog NCR


\LP
LP


/
HP


Matthew


m M E(


BL


Analog NCR


Angela


Sessions


Figure 2: Percentage of intervals of item contact for Matthew and Angela
across 10-min baseline and analog NCR sessions


100-


75-


50-


Baseline











NCR Constant
t--.--


Constant Varied


Constant


10 20 30 40


20-min Segments

Figure 3: Percentage of intervals of item contact for Matthew and Angela
across 120-min NCR constant and NCR varied sessions


100


75


LP


Matthew







30
min sessions. His mean level of object manipulation of the high-preference item was

99.3% (range 94.0% to 100%). Because Matthew never manipulated the low-preference

item during the 120-min NCR sessions, he was not given additional high-preference

items.

When the low- and high-preference items were made available to Angela during

the 120-min sessions, she manipulated the high-preference item initially, but as the

session progressed, she began manipulating the low-preference item more often.

However, when she was given access to varied high-preference items, manipulation of

the high-preference items remained high throughout the 120-min sessions (M = 96.4%;

range, 83.9% to 100%), whereas manipulation of the low-preference item remained at or

near zero (M = 0.1%; range, 0% to 2.0%). These results were replicated when the NCR

constant and the NCR varied conditions were presented a second time in a reversal

design.


Discussion

Results of this study indicated that during brief sessions, reinforcement obtained through

manipulation of a high-preference item competed with that obtained through

manipulation of a low-preference item. However, during 120-min sessions, one of the

two participants (Angela) showed apparent satiation to the reinforcer obtained through

manipulation of the high-preference item, as reflected by decreased levels of contact with

the high-preference item and a subsequent increase in levels of contact with the low-

preference item. The effects of satiation appear to have been ameliorated when varied

high-preference items were available because contact with the high-preference items







31
remained high during extended sessions, whereas contact with the low-preference item

remained low.

These data suggest that when NCR is used to treat behaviors maintained by

automatic reinforcement, the treatment may lose its effects for some individuals when it

is implemented over extended periods of time, whereas the treatment may remain

effective for others. In cases in which the effects of NCR are not maintained for long

periods, identifying and providing multiple high-preference items may extend the

usefulness of the intervention.















EXPERIMENT 2


Two distinct patterns of results were observed during the final phase of

Experiment 1. One pattern suggested that when NCR is used to treat behaviors

maintained by automatic reinforcement, the treatment may lose its effects when

implemented for extended periods. The second pattern suggested that NCR may remain

effective over long periods without additional intervention. The purpose of Experiment 2

was to determine if either of these two patterns would be observed when NCR was used

to treat SIB maintained by automatic reinforcement. Specifically, we wanted to know if

NCR would remain effective when the treatment was used during 2-hr sessions and when

used all day. The secondary purpose was to determine if reinforcer variation would

ameliorate the effects of satiation if NCR lost its effectiveness over time.

Experiment 2 was conducted in 5 phases. First, a functional analysis was

conducted of two individuals' SIB. Second, the participants' leisure item preferences

were assessed to identify items that might compete with SIB when delivered

noncontingently. Third, the effects of delivering the most highly preferred leisure item

during brief NCR sessions were assessed. Fourth, the effects of NCR were assessed

during extended sessions. Finally, NCR was conducted at one participant's home, and

brief observations were conducted periodically to assess the long-term effects of NCR

under naturalistic conditions







33

Methods and Results


Participants and Setting

Two individuals living in a state residential facility for persons with

developmental disabilities and who engaged in SIB participated. Laura was a 43-yr-old

woman diagnosed with profound mental retardation who was nonambulatory. She

frequently engaged in head hitting. Laura did not reliably follow instructions or use any

recognizable means of communication. Robert was a 30-yr-old man diagnosed with

profound mental retardation who caused injury by rubbing his arms together forcefully.

Robert had difficulty walking and spent most of his time in a wheelchair. He followed a

few simple one-step directions and used a few gestures to communicate.

Laura's sessions during the first four phases were conducted at a day program

located on the grounds of the state residential facility, and observations during the fifth

phase were conducted at her residence. All of Robert's sessions were conducted at his

residence.


Response Measurement and Reliability

The primary dependent variables were SIB and object manipulation. Laura's SIB

was defined as forcefully striking her head with either of her hands. Robert's SIB was

defined as forcefully rubbing one arm against the other. Object manipulation was defined

as physical contact with (e.g., touching, holding) a leisure item.

Data on Laura's behavior were collected on handheld computers during

continuous 10-s intervals. Data on Robert's behavior were collected using paper and

pencil. Each data sheet had a column listing the 60 10-s intervals of a 10-min session.







34
There were two additional columns in which observers recorded frequency of SIB and

the occurrence of item manipulation for each 10-s interval. Data for both participants

were summarized as either responses per minute (SIB) or percentage of intervals during

which responding occurred (object manipulation).

Interobserver agreement was assessed by having a second observer independently

collect data during 36.9% and 25.5% of Laura's and Robert's sessions, respectively.

Observers' records were compared on an interval-by-interval basis. Agreement for data

on SIB was calculated by dividing the smaller number of responses by the larger number

of responses for each interval and averaging these values across the session. Agreement

coefficients for object manipulation were calculated by dividing the number of intervals

containing agreements by the total number of intervals and multiplying by 100%. An

interval was considered an agreement if both observers scored either the presence or

absence of behavior. Mean agreement scores were 95.2% (range, 75.7% to 100%) and

92.8% (range, 83.3% to 100%), respectively, for Laura's and Robert's SIB; and 91.7%

(range, 47.4% to 100%) and 93.7% (range, 81.7% to 100%), respectively, for Laura's and

Robert's object manipulation.


Phase 1: Functional Analysis

During Phase 1, participants were exposed to four assessment conditions (alone,

attention, demand, and play) in a multielement functional analysis based on procedures

described by Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman, and Richman (1982/1994). During the

attention condition, the participant had access to leisure materials, and the experimenter

ignored the participant except to express concern each time the participant engaged in

SIB. This condition was a test for behavioral sensitivity to positive reinforcement in the







35
form of attention. During the demand condition, the experimenter initiated instructional

trials on a fixed-time (FT) 30-s schedule using a series of graduated prompts and allowed

the participant to escape the trial contingent on SIB. This condition was a test for

behavioral sensitivity to negative reinforcement in the form of escape from demands. In

the alone condition, the participant did not have access to leisure materials, and no social

consequences were placed on SIB. This condition was designed to determine whether

SIB persisted in the absence of social consequences. During the play condition, the

participant had access to leisure materials, and the experimenter delivered attention to the

participant on an FT 30-s schedule. This condition was a control for the other test

conditions.

Figure 4 shows rates (responses per min) of SIB exhibited by Laura and Robert

during the functional analysis. Laura (top panel) engaged in SIB across all conditions (M

= 5.1), but her highest rates of SIB occurred during the alone condition (M = 8.4). Robert

(bottom panel) also engaged in SIB in all conditions (M = 2.5). Although his data

contained a number of overlapping points, Robert's highest overall rates of SIB occurred

during the alone condition (M = 3.5). Laura's and Robert's SIB also persisted during the

alone sessions conducted at the conclusion of their functional analyses. These results

suggest that Laura's and Robert's SIB was maintained by automatic reinforcement.


Phase 2: Preference Assessment

The participants' preference for a number of leisure items was assessed using

procedures similar to those described by DeLeon, Iwata, Conners, and Wallace (1999).

Before the assessment, the therapist familiarized the participants with each














18 Laura
16
14
12
10
8-
6-

'4-
2-


S5 10 15 20 25


--- alone
S8- Robert
-- attention


6 0 play
-- demand

4-



2-
0- ------ ------ i -_---_.---_-_------ i


0-
5 10 15 20 25

Sessions


Figure 4: Rates of SIB for Laura and Robert across functional analysis conditions







37
leisure item. Then, the individuals were allowed access to one leisure item at a time for 4

min while an observer recorded duration of item contact (using a stopwatch) and rate of

SIB. If the participant dropped the item during the assessment, the item was retrieved

and placed within the participant's reach but was not placed in the individual's hands.

Each item was assessed on three different occasions, for a total of 12 min per item. Ten

items were assessed for each participant.

Figure 5 shows results of the preference assessment. Each leisure item is

represented by two data points: The squares show cumulative duration of item contact,

scaled on the left-Y axis; the triangles represent rates of SIB, scaled on the right-Y axis.

The points plotted are means from the three, 4-min assessment periods conducted for

each item and are organized in descending order from left to right based on mean

duration of item contact. There is an inverse relationship between object manipulation

and SIB for both participants--this is especially true of Robert's data (bottom panel).

The item labeled "C" for each participant was associated with the longest duration

of item contact and the lowest rate of SIB. This item was delivered during NCR constant

sessions. The item identified for Laura was a ribbon, which she manipulated with one

hand continuously throughout the assessment. (Her mean rate of SIB when she had the

ribbon was 0.2 responses per min.) The item selected for Robert was a bumble ball,

which he turned on and manipulated with both hands continuously throughout the

assessment. (He did not engage in SIB while he had access to the item.)

The items labeled "V" were other leisure materials that were also associated with

long durations of item contact and low rates of SIB. These items were delivered during

NCR varied sessions. The items identified for Laura were a string of beads, a plastic ring













Laura


* C t

Item Contact


A


SIB


1-A U *


VA
0 A A A A A
C V V V


Robert


A U
A


* U


- 4


2

0






-6


-5


-4


-3


-2

-1


A* 0
C V V V


Stimuli


Figure 5: Leisure item preference assessment results for Laura and Robert







39
with string, and a rubber worm. The items identified for Robert were a radio, a vibrating

switch, and a hand-held massager.


Phase 3: Brief NCR Evaluation

The effects of NCR were evaluated during 10-min sessions using multiple

baseline and reversal designs. The baseline condition was identical to the alone condition

of the functional analysis: The participant did not have access to leisure items or to social

interaction. During NCR, the individual had free access to the leisure item associated

with the longest duration of item contact and the lowest rate of SIB during the preference

assessment. At the beginning of each session, the leisure item was placed on the

participant's wheelchair tray (Laura) or on a small table within the individual's reach

(Robert). No instructions were delivered. If the participant dropped the item during the

session, the item was retrieved and placed within the participant's reach but was not

placed in the individual's hands. The therapist did not provide any other form of social

interaction during the session. At the end of the session, the participant was informed

that the session was over, and the materials were removed.

Figure 6 shows responses per min of SIB during 10-min baseline and NCR

sessions for Laura and Robert. Laura (top panel) engaged in variable but often high rates

of SIB during baseline (M = 8.3; range, 0 to 25.8). Her rate of SIB immediately

decreased when she was given access to the ribbon (M = 0.9; range, 0 to 2.7). The mean

percentage of intervals during which Laura manipulated the ribbon was 94.7% (range,

82.5% to 100%). Robert (bottom panel) engaged in somewhat more stable, moderate

rates of SIB during baseline (M = 3.3; range, 1.5 to 5.5). Robert's rate of SIB quickly

decreased when he had access to the bumble ball (M = 0.3; range, 0 to 1.0). His mean
















































10 20 30


Sessions


Figure 6: Rates of SIB for Laura and Robert across 10-min baseline and NCR sessions







41
level of object manipulation was 96.2% (range, 88.3% to 100%). Thus, data for both

individuals showed that continuous access to their most preferred leisure item

immediately produced large decreases in SIB.


Phase 4: Extended NCR Evaluation

The effects of NCR were evaluated during 2-hr sessions using a reversal design.

During the first condition, NCR constant, the individual had access to the most preferred

leisure item. This condition was identical to the NCR condition in Phase 3. During the

second condition, NCR varied, the individual had free access to varied leisure items.

These items were selected because they were associated with high levels of object

manipulation and low levels of SIB during the leisure item preference assessment (Phase

2). At the beginning of the NCR varied sessions, all leisure items were placed on the

participant's wheelchair tray (Laura) or on a nearby table (Robert), and the participant

was allowed to manipulate any of the items throughout the session.

Figure 7 shows rates of SIB across 120-min NCR constant and NCR varied

sessions. Each data point represents a 20-min segment; each connected series of data

points represents one, 120-min session. Laura's rate of SIB (top panel) was low at the

beginning of her first NCR constant session, but it increased as the session continued.

This effect can be seen in several other NCR constant sessions (M = 3.3; range, 0.1 to

18.3). By contrast, SIB remained low throughout the 2-hr periods when she had access to

varied leisure items (M = 0.4; range, 0 to 4.6). An inverse relationship between Laura's

levels of object manipulation and SIB was observed during some NCR constant sessions.

By contrast, her levels of object manipulation remained high throughout the NCR varied

condition. Thus, her mean level of object manipulation was lower during the NCR













20 Constant


15


10





-


Varied


Constant


Constant


Varied









Laura


Varied


Robert


5 10 15 20 25
5 10 15 20 25


20-Min Segments


Figure 7: Results of 120-min NCR sessions for Laura and Robert


v .......







43
constant sessions (M= 58.3%, range, 16.7% to 98.3%) than during the NCR varied

sessions (M = 95.2% ; range, 61.7% to 100%). According to anecdotal observations of

Laura's NCR varied sessions, Laura usually manipulated one of the leisure items (the

string of beads) to the exclusion of the other items.

Robert's NCR constant sessions (bottom panel) also show increased response

rates across time (M = 1.4; range, 0.1 to 2.8). However, when Robert had access to

multiple leisure items, he continued to engage in high rates of SIB throughout the 120-

min sessions (M = 2.3; range, 0.7 to 4.0). Robert's level of object manipulation was high

at the beginning of the NCR constant sessions but quickly dropped off as the session

progressed (M = 43.5; range, 5.0 to 100%). This pattern was not observed when he had

access to multiple items; Robert engaged in low levels of object manipulation throughout

the NCR varied sessions (M = 32.9; range, 10.0 to 76.7%).


Phase 5: Naturalistic NCR Evaluation

The effects of NCR were evaluated when the intervention was implemented all

day. Because, during the previous phase, the therapeutic effects of NCR did not endure

during 2-hr sessions for Robert, only Laura participated in this final NCR evaluation.

During baseline, Laura was observed at home during unstructured activity times.

(Typically, she did not have access to many leisure items during these periods.) Next,

Laura was given access to varied leisure items throughout the day, and data were

collected during 10-min periods when she had access to these items. Most of the

observations were conducted between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m., but data were also collected

periodically in the afternoon between 1 and 4 p.m. Observations were conducted during

both indoor and outdoor group leisure periods and while Laura was alone in her room







44
depending on where Laura was when the observer visited her home. Data were collected

three to five times per week for 5 months, and follow-up data were collected 4 and 7

months later.

Figure 8 shows Laura's rates of SIB across 10-min observation periods at her

home. Her SIB was extremely variable during baseline (M = 6.2; range, 0 to 23.6).

During NCR, when Laura had free access to varied leisure items, SIB remained generally

low, although periodic increases were observed during some sessions (M = 1.0; range, 0

to 5.6). Laura engaged in high rates of object manipulation during the NCR varied

condition (M = 93.1%; range, 70.7% to 100%). When follow-up observations were

conducted four and seven months later, Laura's rate of SIB was .5 on both occasions, and

her levels of object manipulation were 98.4% and 91.7%, respectively.


Discussion

Results from the present study indicated that reinforcers obtained through leisure

item manipulation competed with the reinforcers obtained automatically through SIB

during brief (10-min) NCR sessions. However, Laura's and Robert's SIB increased

during 120-min sessions. This may have occurred because both participants showed

satiation to the reinforcers obtained through object manipulation during the extended

sessions, as reflected by decreased levels of object manipulation.

Data from Laura's 2-hr NCR varied sessions suggested that access to multiple

reinforcers might mitigate the effects of satiation during long NCR sessions. When she

had access to multiple, highly preferred leisure items, item manipulation remained high

and SIB remained low throughout the 2-hr sessions. Laura's results followed the pattern

of results obtained with Angela in the analog NCR experiment (Experiment 1).




















Laura

Baseline NCR Varied
30- 1 \ o 100

25- 80'

20- -
Item Contact 60

S15-
a -40
'10-
SIB 0
5 _20 U


00
20 40 60

Sessions



Figure 8: Rates of SIB for Laura across 10-min baseline and NCR
observation periods at her home







46
It is interesting to note that, according to anecdotal observations of Laura's NCR

varied sessions, she often manipulated the beads almost exclusively. Thus, if the beads

had been available during the NCR constant sessions, it is possible that object

manipulation may have remained high and SIB remained low throughout the sessions, as

was observed during the NCR varied sessions. (Those results would have been similar to

the pattern of results obtained with Matthew in Experiment 1.) The beads were not

available during the NCR constant sessions because the results of the leisure item

assessment suggested that the ribbon was equally preferred and was associated with

lower levels of SIB. Nonetheless, the current results and the anecdotal reports from

Laura's NCR evaluations suggest that providing multiple items may increase the chances

that at least one of the items will effectively compete with the target behavior, even if

reinforcer variation per se was not the key to extending the long-term therapeutic effects

of NCR.

Data from Laura's naturalistic NCR evaluation demonstrated that the intervention

remained effective for several months when implemented every day during unstructured

activity times. These results are promising because Laura's treatment gains were

maintained with very little effort on the caregivers' part.

The results from Robert's evaluation indicated that, although NCR was effective

during 10-min sessions, the effects were not maintained during 120-min sessions.

Providing varied leisure items to Robert seemed to have little or no effect on his

behavior. Thus, for Robert, additional interventions would be necessary to achieve long-

term reductions of SIB.














GENERAL DISCUSSION


The current experiments examined the short- versus long-term effects of NCR on

behavior problems maintained by automatic reinforcement. In the first experiment,

manipulation of two differentially preferred leisure items was studied because that

behavior was considered analogous to the response options available when NCR is used

to treat SIB maintained by automatic reinforcement. Manipulating the low-preference

item was likened to engaging in SIB, and manipulating the high-preference item was

likened to manipulating the leisure item provided noncontingently during treatment.

Results obtained during 10-min sessions indicated that, for both participants, the

reinforcer obtained through manipulation of a high-preference item competed with the

reinforcer obtained through manipulation of a low-preference item during brief sessions.

These results were consistent with numerous studies in which NCR has been evaluated

during brief sessions. Although these results were neither novel nor surprising, they were

a precondition for examining the long-term effects of NCR.

During the next phase, Matthew manipulated the high-preference item (to the

exclusion of the low-preference item) throughout the 2-hr sessions. By contrast, Angela

manipulated the high-preference item less often and manipulated the low-preference item

more often as the 2-hr sessions progressed. Matthew's data suggest that, for at least some

individuals, NCR may remain effective for long periods of time. However, the results

from Angela's evaluation suggest that NCR may lose its effectiveness when used for long







48
periods of time because the individual may become satiated to the reinforcer obtained

through item manipulation. Even in cases in which NCR loses its effectiveness over

time, Angela's data demonstrated that the effects of satiation may be ameliorated when

multiple high-preference items are available.

The discrepancy between Matthew's and Angela's results may have been caused

by the fact that the low-preference item selected for Matthew was rarely chosen during

the leisure item preference assessment, whereas the low-preference item selected for

Angela was chosen more often. Even though both participants continuously manipulated

the items when they were presented singly, the difference in the rankings of the two low-

preference items may have determined whether the participant would manipulate the

object when only one other leisure item (the high-preference item) was available during

the extended sessions.

The difference between the method used to select Matthew's and Angela's low-

preference leisure items and the discrepant outcomes that resulted may also shed light on

why NCR may be effective for some individuals who engage in SIB but not for others.

Treatment may fail, as it did for Angela, if the individual reverts back to SIB after short

periods of leisure item manipulation. This outcome may be a function of the relative

preference for SIB and manipulation of the leisure item available during NCR. NCR may

quickly lose its effectiveness when leisure item manipulation is preferred only slightly

more than SIB.

The purpose of the second experiment was to examine the long-term effects of

NCR on the SIB of two individuals, Laura and Robert. Results of functional analyses

indicated that both individuals' target behaviors were maintained by automatic







49
reinforcement. After assessments were conducted to identify leisure items that competed

with SIB, the effects of NCR were evaluated during 10-min sessions. Treatment effects

were then assessed during 2-hr sessions when the participants had access to either (a)

their most preferred leisure item, or (b) varied leisure items. Finally, the long-term

effects of implementing NCR under naturalistic conditions were assessed for Laura.

Results of the second experiment indicated that reinforcers obtained through

leisure item manipulation competed with the reinforcers obtained automatically through

SIB during brief NCR sessions. However, data from Laura's and Robert's 2-hr sessions

suggested a loss of treatment effectiveness over time, as satiation to the reinforcers

obtained through object manipulation occurred. Additional results obtained with Laura

suggested that providing varied reinforcers might mitigate the effects of satiation during

long NCR sessions. However, reinforcer variation seemed to have little or no effect on

Robert's SIB. Data collected when NCR was implemented during Laura's daily

unstructured activity times demonstrated that the procedure remained effective over

several months.

The difference between Laura's and Robert's results during the varied NCR

condition was unexpected. NCR had similar effects during the brief NCR evaluation and

during the extended NCR constant sessions, and similar results were expected during the

NCR varied condition. The discrepancy was also unexpected because both participants

had a limited repertoire of leisure skills. Laura and Robert manipulated all of their

preferred items in a consistent manner: Laura twirled preferred items in the air, and

Robert held vibrating items against his head and chest. The only item Robert

manipulated that did not noticeably vibrate was the radio. However, Robert turned up the







50
volume and placed the radio against his ear, producing a mild form of vibration against

his head and eardrum. Thus, both participants seemed to produce similar sensory

consequences regardless of which preferred leisure item was available. Despite these

similarities between Laura's and Robert's behavior, providing varied leisure items during

extended NCR sessions had different effects. This discrepancy highlights the importance

of evaluating the short- and long-term effects of a treatment for each individual for whom

the intervention will be implemented.

The results from the current experiments are relevant to previous findings in a

number of ways. First, decreases in the target behavior were observed when leisure items

were available during 10-min sessions. This finding replicates those from many other

studies in which NCR has been shown to be effective during brief sessions (Bailey &

Meyerson, 1970; Favell et al., 1982; Goh et al., 1995; Lockwood & Bourland, 1982;

Piazza et al., 1998; Roscoe et al., 1998; Shore et al., 1997; Vollmer et al., 1994).

The results of Robert's and Laura's leisure item preference assessments were

consistent with research demonstrating that NCR is more effective when preferred leisure

items are delivered noncontingently than when nonpreferred items are used (Vollmer et

al., 1994). Because the purpose of the current study was not to demonstrate the

difference between the effects of delivering preferred versus nonpreferred stimuli on self-

injury, nonpreferred items were not delivered during the 10-min NCR sessions in the

current experiment. Nonetheless, data from the brief leisure item probes conducted

during Experiment 2 indicated that there was an inverse relationship between leisure item

preference (as measured by duration of item contact) and SIB.







51
The leisure item assessment results were somewhat inconsistent with research

suggesting that it may be beneficial to present stimuli that appear to provide stimulation

similar to that obtained through the target behavior (Favell et al., 1982; Goh et al., 1995;

Lockwood & Bourland, 1982; Piazza et al., 1998; Shore et al., 1997). The leisure items

associated with the longest duration of item contact and lowest level of SIB in

Experiment 2 did not appear to produce sensory stimulation similar to that obtained by

engaging in SIB. The most preferred and effective leisure items identified for Laura were

objects that could be twirled in the air by holding on to one end and rapidly rotating her

wrist. The stimulation produced by twirling these items did not appear to match the

stimulation Laura produced by hitting her head. The items associated with high duration

of item contact and low levels of SIB for Robert were items that vibrated. He held these

items against his face, head, and chest. The stimulation he produced when he

manipulated these items had no apparent similarity to the stimulation he produced by

forcefully rubbing his arms together.

Laura's and Robert's preference for stimuli that did not produce stimulation that

matched that produced by SIB was surprising in light of previous research. For example,

Piazza et al. (1998) conducted a preference assessment to determine whether stimuli that

produced oral stimulation (matched stimuli) were preferred over stimuli that produced

other forms of stimulation (non-matched stimuli) by three individuals who engaged in

pica. All three participants preferred matched stimuli, and noncontingent access to

matched stimuli was associated with lower levels of pica than access to non-matched

stimuli.







52
The benefit of delivering stimuli that produced consequences similar to those

produced by the target behavior may not have been observed in the current study because

stimuli that met this criterion were not included in the leisure item assessment. Items

were selected for the assessment because they were either reported to be preferred by the

participants or because they produced a variety of sensory consequences. Items were not

selected because they appeared to produce similar sensory consequences to those

produced by the target behavior. Thus, if different criteria were used to select leisure

items for the initial assessment, we may have found that the stimuli associated with high

levels of contact and low levels of SIB did produce sensory consequences similar to those

produced by SIB.

The results from Angela's (Exp 1) and Laura's (Exp 2) extended NCR sessions

were consistent with research demonstrating that stimulus variation may improve the

effectiveness of reinforcement. During Angela's extended NCR constant condition, she

manipulated the high-preference item less and manipulated the medium-preference item

more as the session progressed. During Laura's extended NCR castant condition, she

manipulated the leisure item less and engaged in SIB more toward the end of the 2-hr

sessions. These results were not observed for either participant during the extended NCR

varied condition when varied high-preference leisure items were available: Both

participants manipulated the high-preference items throughout the 2-hr sessions. These

results are similar to results obtained by Egel (1981), who found that correct responding

and on-task behavior showed declining trends within sessions when the same reinforcer

was consistently presented to three participants. By contrast, stable levels of correct







53
responding and on-task behavior were observed in all three participants when varied

reinforcers were presented.

Angela's and Laura's data from the extended NCR evaluation and Laura's data

from the naturalistic NCR evaluation are also consistent with results demonstrating that

NCR, when used as part of a treatment package, can be effective during extended periods

and under naturalistic conditions (Vollmer et al., 1994). Vollmner et al. trained the

families of two participants to implement treatment packages that included an NCR

procedure for one hour per day. Data were collected periodically to evaluate the

effectiveness of the intervention package under these naturalistic conditions, and results

indicated that the intervention was effective for both participants. Similar results were

obtained in the current investigation when Angela and Laura participated in 2-hr NCR

sessions, and when Laura's caregivers were trained to implement NCR at her home

during daily unstructured time periods.

The results from Robert's extended NCR sessions indicated that NCR was

ineffective as an intervention when implemented without additional treatments. This

finding is consistent with results obtained by Vollmer et al. (1994). After implementing

NCR to decrease three participants' hand mouthing, the experimenters reinforced the

object manipulation of two participants to obtain further decreases in SIB. A manual

restraint procedure was also necessary to decrease one of the participant's SIB to

therapeutic levels.

The current results are also relevant to previous research conducted on reinforcer

substitutability. Substitutable reinforcers have been defined as stimuli "for which an

increase in consumption of one alternative results in decreased consumption of its







54
substitute" (Shore et al., 1997, p. 23) Shore et al. conducted probes to identify leisure

items that appeared to produce reinforcers substitutable with SIB that was maintained by

automatic reinforcement. Items that were associated with the highest levels of item

manipulation and lowest levels of SIB were considered substitutable with SIB. A similar

method was used in Experiment 2 of the current investigation to identify leisure items to

be delivered during NCR. During the brief NCR evaluation, the reinforcers obtained

through manipulating high-preference leisure items appeared to be substitutable with the

reinforcers obtained through engaging in SIB. However, these effects were not

maintained during extended NCR sessions.

The results of the extended NCR constant condition suggest a need to investigate

and perhaps define substitutability more clearly. It may be useful to investigate what

effects altering the establishing operation of one reinforcer have on the establishing

operation of the other. For example, when two responses that produce different

reinforcers are available concurrently, an individual may engage in one response more

than the other. However, once the individual becomes satiated to the reinforcer

maintaining the first behavior, the second behavior may increase. Even though

consumption of one reinforcer initially resulted in decreased consumption of the other,

this pattern of behavior would suggest that the two reinforcers maintaining the behaviors

were independent. If the two reinforcers were truly substitutable, it seems that satiation

to one reinforcer would produce satiation to the second reinforcer, as evidenced by

temporary decreases in both behaviors after an extended time in which the individual

emitted the first response.







55
According to these criteria for considering two reinforcers substitutable, the

reinforcer Laura and Robert obtained by manipulating their most preferred leisure item

competed with the reinforcer maintaining SIB, but the two reinforcers were not

substitutable. Likewise, the reinforcers Angela obtained by manipulating her low- and

high-preference leisure items did not appear to be substitutable. The relationship

between the reinforcers obtained by Matthew is unclear because he never appeared to

satiate to the high-preference leisure item.

The current study contained a few noteworthy limitations. First, data were not

collected to identify which leisure items were being manipulated during the extended

varied NCR sessions. According to anecdotal reports, Laura manipulated the beads to the

exclusion of the other leisure items during this condition. Collecting data would have

aided in determining the function providing varied items had on her SIB. Stimulus

variation may have decreased the likelihood that Laura would satiate to any one

reinforcer. On the other hand, providing varied items may have merely enabled her to

select the one item to which she would not quickly satiate. In either case, stimulus

variation effectively extended the treatment utility of NCR during 2-hr sessions and when

implemented under naturalistic conditions over several months.

Second, no additional interventions were attempted for Robert. Due to parental

and staff concerns regarding Robert's health, he was referred only for participation in the

current investigation. Evaluation of other treatments was considered beyond the scope of

the current investigation. Nonetheless, evaluating interventions designed to increase the

variety of Robert's leisure skills and to decrease his SIB would have been advisable.







56
Despite these limitations, this study highlights the importance of evaluating

interventions under naturalistic conditions as well as under more tightly-controlled

conditions. Initial treatment evaluations and refinements need to be conducted under

well-controlled conditions. However, treatments should eventually be tested under

conditions similar to those in which the treatment will be used because different results

may be obtained when a treatment is evaluated under naturalistic conditions than under

more limited conditions. Investigators should examine treatment generality and identify

procedures by which generality can be achieved.

Future research should also concentrate on increasing leisure skills among

individuals for whom NCR is ineffective. NCR fails to reduce problem behaviors

maintained by automatic reinforcement during even brief sessions in individuals who do

not have adequate leisure skills. Improving leisure skills may also prove beneficial for

individuals who engage in a limited repertoire of leisure item manipulation and for whom

NCR is only effective during brief sessions. Providing varied stimuli during NCR to

extend the therapeutic effects of the intervention is more likely to be effective for

individuals who manipulate a variety of leisure items.















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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH


Jana Lindberg received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brigham Young

University in 1995. Her major was an interdisciplinary program with a combined focus

in organizational behavior, communications, and psychology. Jana's interest in applied

behavior analysis began when she took an introductory course in the field as an

undergraduate student.

In the Fall of 1995, Jana began graduate studies in experimental and applied

behavior analysis at the University of Florida. Her studies have included both theoretical

and applied behavior analysis courses. She has specialized in the assessment and

treatment of severe behavior and learning disorders.

During Jana's five years of graduate school, she has worked as a research

assistant under the direction of Dr. Brian Iwata at the Florida Center on Self-Injury. In

this capacity, she has conducted assessment and treatment sessions, analyzed data, trained

staff, served as the lab coordinator, supervised research, and disseminated results through

publishing articles and giving conference presentations. In addition, she has worked as a

teaching assistant and instructor at the University of Florida.













I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.


Brian A. Iwata, Chairran
Professor of Psychology

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. J i


Marc N. Branch
Professor of Psychology

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.


Shari Ellis
Assistant Professor of Psychology

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.


Timothy R. Vollmer
Assistant Professor of Psychology

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.


Jennfer Asmus
Assistant Professor of Educational
Psychology









This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Department of
Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate School and
was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of
Philosophy.

May 2000

Dean, Graduate School













































UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

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