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Experimental Treatment Model and Results

Problems and Exercises I
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A behavior therapist seeks to reduce the frequency of hitting behavior exhibited by a 6-year-old child in a classroom for emotionally disturbed children. The child frequently strikes other children and even the teacher. The therapist trains one of the teacher's aides to reward the child with small candy reinforcers when the child has not struck anyone for a period of 5 minutes. The experiment is conducted during two 1-hour sessions each weekday for a period of 4 weeks. An ABAB design is used, each week comprising a different stage. The results of this behavioral intervention are shown on the attachment page. Answer two question below:

1. Does visual inspection of the data obtained in this hypothetical study provide evidence for the effectiveness of the treatment? Why or why not?

2. Provide two suggestions for improving the quality of the evidence for the effectiveness of the treatment in this situation.


Solution Preview

1. With an ABAB design, you start by measuring a baseline rate of the behavior (A), and then you implement the treatment to see if the rate of behavior changes with the treatment (B). However, to check if the behavior rate would have changed anyways (due to some other uninteresting variable like the passage of time), you remove the treatment after a while (A). Since it's often unethical to remove the treatment permanently if it might work to change a problem behavior (as we see in this case), you then re-implement the treatment to see if it influences behavior (B).

Let's break the behavior down into these four components. If the treatment works to decrease hitting, we should see lower rates of hitting during the B sessions than during the A sessions. The A sessions are on ...

Solution Summary

The solution presents an experimental treatment model and a discussion of the results. The text contains 551 words.