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        Julie Vargas Award


Dr. Julie Vargas Student Researchers!

Plan now to submit your project for the 2011 CalABA Julie Vargas Student Research Award. Deadline: December 1, 2010.

The Julie Vargas Award was created by Dr. Julie Vargas of the B. F. Skinner Foundation to promote research by students in behavior analysis. This competitive award of $250 is presented to a CalABA member who has conducted original research in behavior analysis while enrolled as a student and who is not more than one calendar year past graduation. The award will be given at our annual conference, and an abstract of the research will be printed in the CalABA newsletter and posted here. (See past recipients below.) To apply, fill out the application (PDF or Word doc) and send it with the requested materials to:

CalABA Julie Vargas Award          Email to info@calaba.org (preferred)
630 Quintana Rd., #118
Morro Bay, CA 93442


Past Recipients - Congratulations!    (top)

2010
Alice A. Keyl
Utah State University

Effects of Methylphenidate on the Within-Session Response Rates of Rats
Changes in response rates during experimental sessions may reflect systematic decreases in reinforcer effectiveness. One important area of interest to examine is whether therapeutic drugs potentially enhance or decrease the effectiveness of reinforcers. The present basic research study examined the effects of methylphenidate on within-session response patterns of 4 rats. Subjects were administered methylphenidate (3.0 - 17.0 mg/kg) while responding for food pellets on a random-interval 45 s schedule of reinforcement. Overall, results suggest that methylphenidate may maintain the effectiveness of the reinforcer longer. This result may have important clinical implications for individuals taking stimulant drugs such as methylphenidate.



2009
Yun-Yi Tsai
California State University, Los Angeles

Effects of Antecedent Interventions on Behaviors for Children with Autism
This study evaluated the effects of using picture activity schedules with and without choice on task engagement behaviors of children with autism. An alternating treatment design within a multiple baseline across subjects was used to compare the effectiveness of two different interventions. For each child, a preference assessment was conducted before the data collection. A momentary time sampling procedure was used to record the on/off-task behaviors and a frequency recording method was used to record the number of the adult prompts during independent work activities. The results show the participants demonstrated increases in on-task behavior and decreases in the number of the adult prompts when choice making opportunities were provided with the activity schedules.



2008
Jennifer Soeda
California State University, Fresno

The Importance of Function in Treatment Selection for Children with Minor Behavior Problems
Although functional assessment procedures have shown considerable value within the field of applied behavior analysis, concerns regarding time and efficacy have hindered their consistent use within schools. This study assessed the comparative effectiveness of function-based versus nonfunction-based interventions for high incidence, low severity behavior problems in four typically developing children. Results via an ABAC research design indicated that interventions based upon a functional behavior assessment were more effective and efficient at reducing off-task behaviors than an intervention which attempted to create a new function for appropriate behavior across all participants. Social validity measures also indicated the functional intervention to be more effective, efficient, and easier to implement.



2007
Monica T. Francisco
University of the Pacific

Using Progressive Ratio Schedules as a Means of Evaluating Absolute and Relative Reinforcer Value
We conducted paired-stimulus preference assessments with three children to determine high- and low-preferred edibles, which were associated with arbitrary tasks. Responding was evaluated in reinforcer and progressive ratio (PR) assessments, under concurrent and single operant schedules. Results showed that for two of three participants, low-preferred stimuli functioned as reinforcers when evaluated independently of high-preferred stimuli and under gradually increasing response requirements. Results suggest that when use of high-preferred stimuli is unfeasible, delivery of relatively less-preferred stimuli may maintain appropriate behavior, even as response effort is increased. In addition, results of the PR evaluation are suggestive of stimulus value.



2006
Judah Axe
Ohio State University

2005
Isaac L. Bermudez
California State University, Los Angeles

2004
Daniel Openden
University of California, Santa Barbara


2003
Adel C. Najdowski
University of Nevada, Reno


2002
Ralph N. Pampino, Jr.
University of the Pacific


2001
Elizabeth Benedict
Northeastern University


2000
Kyle Ferguson
University of Nevada, Reno


1999
Doniel Drazin
University of California, Santa Barbara


1998
Deirdre Fitzgerald
University of Nevada, Reno