In their experimental research, Maglieri et al. (2000) test the effects of using warning stimuli in an underage person diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome. As for the source’s significance to the field of behavioral engineering or ABA, the work adds to the existing knowledge regarding non-controversial and non-harmful methods of preventing unwanted behaviors in children with this genetic disorder. What makes it particularly relevant is that it provides new insights into managing high-risk actions that can be very difficult to track in real-life settings (taking extra food covertly to satisfy one’s abnormal hunger).
The use of stimulus discrimination can serve a variety of purposes, including teaching participants to distinguish between conditions that do or do not require specific responses. In a similar way, Maglieri et al. (2000) make use of stimulus discrimination aside from the effective consequence intervention and teach the participant to associate orange stickers with prohibitions to test the effectiveness of visual reminders in preventing food stealing. It allows the researchers to make sure that the girl can use stickers of a specific color as a reference point to evaluate the appropriateness of her actions. Without stimulus discrimination, she would not be able to tell whether or not eating some specific food that she has access to is prohibited.
Child health and education are among my current areas of interest, and stimulus discrimination is widely used in classroom settings to prevent fall-related injuries and disruptions to the educational process stemming from running behaviors. One example of stimulus differentiation is the use of printable “no running” signs in classrooms and disciplinary measures for students that ignore the clearly stated rule and relevant visual reminders. Since these signs are not present in any room, children learn to distinguish between circumstances in which running is and is not allowed and understand that moving quickly at the school’s gym or the outdoor portion of the school does not lead to punishment.
Maglieri, K. A., DeLeon, I. G., Rodriguez-Catter, V., & Sevin, B. M. (2000). Treatment of covert food stealing in an individual with Prader-Willi syndrome. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 33(4), 615-618. Web.