Date of Award

12-1-2010

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Behavior Analysis and Therapy

First Advisor

Baker, Jonathan

Abstract

The present study attempted to investigate the effects of extinction on the behavior of older adults with moderate to severe dementia. A touch screen computer displaying four large colored buttons was employed. Participants were exposed to three conditions: baseline, intervention, and a reversal. The target response (pressing green after yellow) resulted in a video stimulus in the intervention condition, and then the videos were withheld during the reversal condition. Data on button-pressing and vocal-verbal statements were visually analyzed to determine the effect of the videos on responding; however none of the participants acquired the task. Therefore, a discussion of extinction responding was not possible. Interesting findings in terms of reinforcement and implications for the treatment of problem behaviors in older adults with dementia are discussed.

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