Translational Analyses of Chronic Aberrant Behavior Across the Lifespan

Principal Investigator: Michael Cataldo

The goal of the proposed line of research is to gain a better understanding of the processes that evoke and maintain severe problem behavior (i.e., chronic aberrant behavior) in persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities to improve treatment approaches and outcomes. Despite the tremendous success to date with research of this sort, treatment of problem behavior can be further enhanced by a better understanding of such processes as treatment transfer and generalization, relapse, and the conditions that establish typically benign environmental conditions as aversive.

The current proposal proposes to examine:

  1. Whether increases in problem behavior are observed during prompts to transition from environments rich in reinforcement to those in which reinforcement is delivered less often and to evaluate methods by which to reduce such problem behavior
  2. To determine whether behavioral economic concepts can be employed to enhance function-based behavioral interventions
  3. To evaluate the durability of treatment outcomes when reinforcers are delivered either contingently or noncontigently
  4. To determine how failures of treatment generalization can be analyzed and remediated

The majority of procedures involved in the study are part of the current standard of care on the NBU. In some cases, study arrangements will involve temporally extending standard clinical analysis, collecting additional data, and re-ordering of events. Beyond such things, the study procedures do not represent significant departures from standard clinical practice. In general, the types of procedure are the same, but the amount of analysis is greater.