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15th Annual MABA Conference Posters

Welcome to our Poster Session for the 15th Annual MABA Conference! Here you will find a sample of our provinces student research in applied behaviour analysis. Since you cannot view our students poster's in person this year we invite you to click on each presenter's button to view their poster as a pdf. We also invite you to email the presenters if you have any questions, comments, or thoughts about their poster. These posters will be available for viewing until Thursday, October 1st, 2020. 

2020.09.17 M Thesis MABA Poster

Title: Stimulus Preference Assessment with Immediate versus Delayed Item Access

Author(s): Brennan Foidart  & Dr. C. T. Yu 

For individuals with severe intellectual or developmental disabilities, communicating preferences can be a monumental task.  In order to help identify what a person likes or prefers, a formal stimulus preference assessment can be conducted with the individual.  Typically, when examining preference in people with developmental disabilities, the individual being tested is given access to their chosen item immediately after a response is made.  However, there are many items and activities in everyday situations that cannot be accessed immediately. The present study evaluated whether immediate or delayed access to items during a paired-stimulus preference assessment impacted preference hierarchy concordance for three people with developmental disabilities.  The preference hierarchies between immediate and delayed access conditions were positively correlated for all three participants, with Tau coefficients ranging from .35 to .91, although they were not statistically significant.  The most preferred item identified in the delayed condition was also the most preferred item in the immediate access condition for two of the three participants.

            Keywords: access, choice, paired-stimulus, stimulus preference assessment

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Title: Relations of Learning Abilities, Task Characteristics, and Acquisition of Skills in
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Author(s): Maria Pongoski, Genevieve Roy-Wsiaki & C.T. Yu

The current study sought to establish whether rate of task acquisition may be affected by the interaction between learning ability and task difficulty for children with autism spectrum disorder enrolled in an early intensive behavioural intervention (EIBI) program. To do so,specific teaching tasks selected from the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills- Revised (ABLLS-R) that were previously categorized into learning ability levels were taught to two children recruited from an EIBI program. Each participant, P05 and P07, was assigned three teaching tasks that were programmed as a match, a mismatch above, and a mismatch below their current learning ability level. Teaching tasks were taught using discrete trial teaching methods for a maximum of 64 trials per task. A single teaching task, mismatched below P05’s learning ability, was mastered after 25 trials. No other teaching task was mastered within 64 trials for either participant. As this was only the first study to assess the rate of task acquisition for ABLLS-R tasks categorized into learning ability levels through direct observation, future researchers should continue to explore the effects of task difficulty on rates of task acquisition.

Keywords: Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities–Revised, Assessment of Basic
Learning and Language Skills–Revised, autism spectrum disorder, discrimination skills

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Title: Fixed-ratio Behaviour of Lake Sturgeons (Acipenser fulvescens): Darkness as a Reinforcer

Author(s): Brittany Cook & Joseph Pear

In an experimental tank (ET), three experimentally naïve lake sturgeons (Acipenser fulvescens) were operantly conditioned to enter one of four target areas where they received an auditory response-feedback stimulus (RFS) in the form of a click sound and – according to the prevailing FR schedule – 10 seconds of darkness. A multiple-baseline-across-subject’s design was used. Visual observation and a video-tracking system (VTS) monitored the number of responses emitted on each of the four target areas. The target areas were in the corners of the ET and had to be entered by the subject to constitute a response. The experiment generally consisted of the following phases: (1) no-feedback baseline (NFB) phase; (2) discriminative stimulus baseline (DSB) phase; (3) response-feedback baseline (RFSB) phase; and (4) fixed-ratio phase (FR n). The data indicated a preference for the target area that produced darkness, which suggests that darkness is a reinforcer for this species. This preference was indicated by a greater number of target area responses for the target area whose entry into produced darkness, and greater activity in and around the that area relative to baseline phases. Furthermore, when the ratio of the FR n phase was increased the subject’s rate of responding would also increase.

Keywords: operant conditioning, Acipenser fulvescens, lake sturgeons, darkness, reinforcement, fixed-ratio (FR)

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