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ASO 27 - 28


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ASO 27 - 28

  1. 1. Chapter 27 and 28 Maintenance and Transfer ANSWERS 50. The two myths of performance maintenance. a. What are they? ANSWER: The myth of perpetual-behavior maintenance1: This myth states that if you modify a behavior, then that modified behavior will maintain itself without your having to deliver anymore behavioral consequences contingent upon that behavior. Thus the myth states that you can apply the intervention once, and that is all that is necessary to make a permanent change in behavior. The myth of intermittent reinforcement: An intermittent schedule of reinforcement can be thinned (the interval or number of responses in between reinforcement delivery is increased) to extremely high levels which will in turn make the behavior super-resistant to extinction. Thus the myth suggests that it is possible to make a behavior inextinguishable. b. Provide an example of each myth. ANSWER: The myth of the perpetual-behavior mainrenance – Let’s talk about the child with autism who engages in head hitting. Upon performing a functional analysis, 1 For PB6e We may erroneously call this “The myth of perpetual behavior intervention” We are changing the terminology from ‘intervention’ to ‘maintenance’. we found out that the head-hitting was being reinforced by sensory consequences, so our intervention consists of putting a helmet on the child to prevent the sensory stim and leaving it on until head hitting is well extinguished. Therefore we can stop our intervention and we can assume the child will never head hit again. More common examples of the myth applied to behavior reduction would be that once you’ve quit smoking for a few weeks or quit doing crack for a few months, you’re cool—probably you ain’t; you may need PM contingencies for a long time, though eventually you may be cool. And even more common, once weight-watchers has helped you get down to bikini beautiful, you’re cool— you won’t start over-eating enough to gain much or all of the weight backi; but that’s rarely the case. And in terms of behavior maintenance, after you’ve had a semester of art or literature or music appreciation, the intrinsic reinforcers are so great that you’re going to spend most of the rest of your life in art museums, concert halls, and Barnes and Nobel. And once you’ve experienced the benefits of using flashcards and studying everyday for this class that defines the new you for all future classes (Ok, sometimes, somewhat, but rarely is it that easy.) The myth of intermittent reinforcement – Let’s say that we have reinforced Rudolph the rat’s lever press on a continuous reinforcement schedule. Then we will gradually change this to a
  2. 2. FR 5 schedule, then a FR 10, FR 20, FR 50, FR 100, FR 1000…(you get the picture). After we have gotten the schedule of reinforcement sufficiently high, we will stop reinforcing the behavior and the assumption is that the behavior will maintain. Of course, no one really assumes that about the Skinner box, but there is the tendency to make that assumption in real world examples, e.g., uhh. Well, I can’t think of any plausible e.g.’s; yet I don’t think I’m exactly fighting a straw man (excuse me, I mean “straw person.”) c. What is the flaw with each of the examples that you have just provided? ANSWER: In the above example of the child with autism, if the behavior occurs again, then the child again will experience the reinforcing consequences that he once did for engaging in head-hitting. In this case, the behavior will increase to its previous levels, because the behavior is being reinforced again. Just because we got the frequency of the behavior down to zero at one point in time doesn’t mean that it stays there forever if the intervention is no longer in place. However, I think if we’d used a punishment contingency, especially an intermittent one, we might come much closer to a perpetual intervention. The above example where we continued to make the reinforcement schedule for Rudolph’s lever press increasingly intermittent is flawed because even though we may be able to thin the schedule of reinforcement to a sufficiently high level, we will never be able to stop the delivery of reinforcement while maintaining the lever press. Responses won’t occur unless they are reinforced, so any idea that suggests stopping reinforcement for a response will most certainly lead to response extinction. 51. Transfer of training versus stimulus generalization a. What is the myth concerning these two phenomenon? ANSWER: The transfer of training myth: You can explain all occurrences of transfer of training by in terms of stimulus generalization. (This is a myth because NOT ALL instances of transfer of training can be explained through stimulus generalization.) b. Compare and contrast ANSWER:  Similarities – Both transfer of training and stimulus generalization deal with the performance of responses in one setting that were acquired in a different setting.  Crucial Difference – Transfer of training is a term that encompasses all instances in which a response learned in one setting occurs in a different setting. Stimulus generalization is a special case of transfer of training. In other words it is a sub-category that belongs under the heading of “transfer of training”. Stimulus generalization really is (as you already know) a proposed mechanism for explaining
  3. 3. transfer of training, namely that performance acquired in one setting occurs in another due to the physical similarity between the two settings. And while this does serve as an adequate explanation for those settings that DO share some physical similarities, stimulus generalization does NOT explain why transfer occurs when two settings don’t share any physical similarities at all. c. Please provide an example of transfer that exposes the error that lies behind the transfer of training myth. ANSWER: Transfer of training of street crossing skills. The training setting is a model street made of cardboard and plastic dolls are used to cross the model street. Then the test setting will be a REAL street with REAL people. If the individuals trained to cross a street this way were asked, there would be discrimination between these two settings, and yet transfer still occurs. d. Explain why stimulus generalization is not adequate in explaining your example of transfer. What does explain it? ANSWER: In the example provided above, there is a clear discrimination between the training setting and the test setting. Therefore since there are no physical similarities between the two settings, stimulus generalization cannot occur. Transfer in this example really occurs due to rules. So, in reality there are two methods by which transfer of training can occur; it can occur by way of stimulus generalization OR through the use of rules.