Discrimination training reduces high rate social approach behaviors in Angelman syndrome: Proof of principle

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Colleges, School and Institutes


This proof of principle study was designed to evaluate whether excessively high rates of social approach behaviors in children with Angelman syndrome (AS) can be modified using a multiple schedule design. Four children with AS were exposed to a multiple schedule arrangement, in which social reinforcement and extinction, cued using a novel stimulus, were alternated. Twenty-five to 35 discrimination training sessions were conducted and levels of approach behaviors were measured before and after the discrimination training for two children. All four participants evidenced discrimination between conditions of reinforcement and extinction after 16-20 teaching sessions as indicated by lower rates of social approach behaviors in the presence of the SΔ for extinction. Reversal effects for the two children for whom this design was implemented were evident. The results demonstrate that after repeated training, the use of a novel stimulus can serve as a cue for children with AS to discriminate adult availability. This is a potentially effective component of a broader intervention strategy but highlights the need for sustained teaching procedures within this population. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1794-1803
Number of pages10
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number5
Early online date19 Mar 2013
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


  • Aggression, Angelman syndrome, Behavioral phenotype, Discrimination learning, Errorless learning, Extinction, Intervention, aggression, article, association, behavior therapy, case report, child, child behavior, clinical evaluation, denial, discrimination learning, discrimination training, environmental factor, female, happy puppet syndrome, human, pilot study, psychologic assessment, reinforcement, school child, social attitude, social interaction, therapy effect, Angelman Syndrome, Behavior Therapy, Child, Child, Preschool, Cues, Discrimination (Psychology), Extinction, Psychological, Female, Humans, Reinforcement (Psychology), Social Behavior, Treatment Outcome