Behavior Analysis

Behavior analysis research at the Shriver Center investigates relationships between the behavior of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the relevant environmental events that serve as prior cues for behavior, and the events that follow as consequences of behavior.

Ongoing Projects

Treatment Generalization and Contingency Coherence
William V. Dube
This NICHD-funded project is studying ways to expand the scope of functional diagnostic techniques for problem behavior. We are also examining procedures for transferring successful behavioral interventions from the well-controlled clinical environment to the settings of everyday life. 

Behavioral Persistence: Basic, Translational, and Clinical Studies
William V. Dube (J. A. Nevin, PI)
The Shriver Center component of this project, funded by NICHD, is conducting translational research on reinforcement-based interventions for problem behavior. The goal is to extend basic research findings on the relation between reinforcer frequency during treatment and probability of relapse following treatment.

Balanced Trials Generator Software
Christophe Gerard
Funded by multiple institutes within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Commonwealth Medicine Division of UMass Medical School, Shriver Center faculty developed algorithms that are being used to rapidly and automatically construct trials for a variety of conditional discrimination sessions, saving the experimenter or teacher extensive time typically involved in session preparation. Implemented on typical desktop or laptop computers, the algorithms help to prevent the development of undesired stimulus control over the learner’s responding by position, recent trial outcomes, and other variables that could impede learning.

Picture-Aided Communication System Manager (PACSMan)
William McIlvane
This study, also funded by NICHD, focuses on development and field testing of software to be used by speech and language professionals, special-educators, behavior therapists, and others who work children with little or no functional communication skills. The software will support critical stages of training in the use of augmentative/alternative (AAC) picture-aided approaches to communication.

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