Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Journal of Absurd Behavior Analysis 2(1) asks, "Would you punish yourself for slouching with an electromechanical noisy garment apparatus or with a toilet bowl plunger perched on the top of your head?"

Behavioral psychologists who sit in an office all day long have weak spines.

Pioneering solution

Azrin et al., (1968). Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA). Summer 1968, pp. 99-108. Behavioral engineering: Postural control by portable (electromechanical) operant apparatus.

During post-experimental applications Azrin et al.'s (1968) convoluted slump detection device proved to be so ineffective that it actually misread ABA professors' aroused penile circumferences as slouches and misfired its white noise machine consequences into the astounded subjects' ears while their postures were flawless, whereupon they accidentally discovered how to suppress their own homosexually-aroused penile tumescence (Shaefer and Colgan, 1977). This happened because they got a little mixed up in their experiments on self-control (Hensen and Rubin, 1971), not through self-reinforcement (Goldiamond, 1976), but with self-flagellation (Hansen, 2010).

So they forgot to remove their appendages from deep inside their mercury-filled mechanical strain gauges for recording their penile circumference changes (Barlow et al., 1970). That way they could reliably gain instructional control over own penile responses sexual preferences as a group of these dudes secretly recorded their penile circumferences by sticking them where the son don't shine inside the gauges (Quinsey, Bergersen, 1976, p. 490). Since mercury is poisonous (Lite, 2008), they didn't care if they lowered their expected life-spans. Their reputations were tarnished badly since they were gay. How could they face the women and the conference with such a dirty secret? They were seductive women. Surely they'd know if they didn't arouse us. And then the entire cult (Altieri, 2015) would find out with those blabbermouths in charge.

So in a private booth in a gay bookstore outside their annual ABAI Autism-profit-and-control Conference they instructed themselves "to inhibit penile erection in the presence of effective stimulus films (and) every subject was able to reduce his erection by at least 50%. This inhibition was apparent as long as the instructions were in effect; when the instructions were removed and the film re-shown, the erection returned almost to its maximum state. This was true whether the films were presented as few as three or as many as nine times in succession. Laws and Rubin (1969)."

At any rate they started talking to one another about the weather and these closeted gay men got hard once again, well with the whips in hand and everything how could they resist? So then they went to the counter at the bookstore to rent some port. They tried "using two slide projectors, colored slides of nude females .... superimposed on colored slides of nude males. As the sexual response was emitted, the nude male was faded out and the nude female faded in (Barlow and Agras, 1973, p. 355)." To their dismay, they were still gay!

So then they tried to skin shock the gayness away from their accursed bodies Callahan and Leitenberg (1973), but that didn't work either. They were not so "effective" after all.

But then they surprised themselves. They accidentally discovered that by covering themselves in the noisy garment apparatus they turned straight. Now how in tarnation did that happen?


See, for examples:

Front and rear view of a subject wearing the posture switch. The front view in the upper sketch shows the signal component worn around the neck. A wire runs from the component, under the arm, to the posture switch on the back which is shown in the lower sketch. The posture switch is attached to the back by two strips of adhesive tape. The subjects wore their outer garments over the assembly which was thereby concealed from view.

Front and rear view of a subject wearing the posture switch. The front view in the upper sketch shows the signal component worn around the neck. A wire runs from the component, under the arm, and to the posture switch on the back which is shown in the lower sketch. The posture switch is attached by the shoulder straps which are adjusted for the desired posture for the individual subject. Outer garments are worn over the assembly and thereby conceal it from view. 

Apparatus definition of response. The apparatus defined slouching as an increased distance between two points on the back. A miniature snap action switch (Model 1lSMl, Microswitch) was modified to operate upon being pulled rather than pushed. This posture switch was mounted on the back at about the level of the second thoracic vertebra (see Fig. 1). The switch was connected to an elastic cord and attached to the back such that rounding of the back caused the switch contacts to close. Two methods of attachment to the back were used: adhesive tape was used for most subjects to provide the more exact measure of the response for purposes of experimental evaluation (see Fig. 1). A second method was a harness (see Fig. 2) which allowed a slight error due to movement of the straps but was more convenient for the subject: it could be removed and attached by the subject himself once adjusted properly, whereas the adhesive mounting required assistance and readjustment for each wearing. Fifteen subjects used the adhesive mounting and 10 the harness. A small strip of tape was used to hold the harness strap in a fixed position on the shoulders for some of the subjects who wore the harness. The amount of slouching needed to activate the switch was determined by the subject's own judgment. The subject was asked to assume a shoulder posture which he felt bordered on, but did not constitute, slouching and which he would like to maintain. The switch was adjusted via the adhesive tape or straps to be on the point of activation at that posture. The subject then returned to his usual activities for about 5 min after which dorsal curvature such that increased spinal curvature rather than the rounding of the back activated the posture switch. For other subjects, the switch was adjusted vertically after the first 5-min trial to the first or third thoracic vertebra if that location provided a greater distance change during slouching.

Azrin et al. (1968) described their 1968 slump consequence as a mere "tone."

However, in the summer of '16, Safety Pat replicated their experiment with five college-aged vacationing volunteers subjects on the Asbury Park, New Jersey Boardwalk and then conducted the plunger on head study with the same five young men and women.

Pat conducted a typically-underused-in-JABA Social Validity measurement to gauge their satisfaction levels of both interventions during Pat's replication of Azrin's electro mechanical contraption vs. Pat's plunger-falling-off-the-tip-of-the-head methodology.

All five subjects marked the survey at the checkbox that said that Azrin's white noise aversion was a "pain in the ass." They all, in turn, reported on the survey that the mild corrective punishment of picking up a plunger was a "barrel of laughs."

Modern solution

Safety Pat the Proud Autistic Schizophrenic Clown (2016). Journal of Absurd Behavior Analysis (JABA). 2 (1) Summer 2016. Behavioral engineering: Postural control by portable (toilet bowl plunger) operant apparatus.

This modern posture-correction plunger apparatus is a vast improvement upon Azrin et al. (1968)'s pioneering solution to the scoliosis "problem of social importance."

Safety Pat's (2016) plunger device simplifies and improves the reliability of slump detection. All you do is stick a plunger on top of your head, and as long as there is no Nor'easter approaching Safety Pat's stable clown spot in front of Tim McLoone's Supper Club at the Asbury Park, New Jersey Boardwalk, then the plunger always falls off the heads of Pat's five hundred thousand fans (Pat has a huge ego.) as soon as they round their backs with plungers on their heads. Pat's picking-up-the-plunger, self-control, over-correction technology offers Pat's actually autistic and neurotypical experimental-subject fans a much milder aversive stimulus than Azrin et al.'s antiquated, highly-masochistic, self-control noise-torture technique.


See also Altieri (July 18, 2011): Here's a post about ABA punishing slouching with noise.

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