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Psychology Programs: Behavior Analysis: Research

Behavior Analysis Research

See research for: Dr. Lerman | Dr. Fritz | Dr. Lechago

Research of Dr. Dorothea Lerman

Dr. Lerman’s applied research focuses on early intervention, parent and teacher training, and assessment and treatment of behavior disorders in children with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Graduate students supervised by Dr. Lerman work with children in Houston-area school districts, private clinics, and at the UHCL Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities. The lab has a variety of on-going research projects that examine strategies to improve the functional assessment of behavior problems (e.g., aggression, self-injury), increase communicative and social behavior, and prevent the development of behavior disorders.

Over the past seven years, Dr. Lerman and her students also have developed and evaluated a model program designed to prepare teachers in evidence-based practices for students with autism and other developmental disabilities. Approximately 100 certified special education teachers and other school personnel in Louisiana and Texas have participated in this intensive teacher preparation program during the past seven summers.  

Dr. Lerman’s basic (laboratory) research currently focuses on observer accuracy and animal models for applied problems. Dr. Lerman and her students are developing a methodology for evaluating factors that may influence observer accuracy and bias in behavioral assessment. In addition, they have recently initiated a line of research to demonstrate how applied problems can guide the design of animal studies to obtain knowledge that will directly inform clinical practice. Graduate students work with rats in the operant laboratory to further evaluate factors that are directly relevant to the assessment and treatment of behavior disorders.

Selected Publications for Dr. Lerman

Volkert, V.M., Lerman, D.C., Call, N.A., & Trosclair, N. (in press). An applied evaluation of resurgence during treatment with functional communication training. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. 

Waters, M., Lerman, D.C., & Hovanetz, A (in press). Separate and combined effects of visual schedules and extinction plus differential reinforcement on problem behavior occasioned by transitions. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. 

Lerman, D. C., Tetreault, A., Hovanetz, A., Strobel, M., & Garro, J. (2008).  Further evaluation of a brief, intensive teacher training model. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 41, 243-248.

Kodak, T., Lerman, D.C., Volkert, V.M., & Trosclair, T. (2007). Further examination of factors that influence preference for positive versus negative reinforcement.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 40, 25-44.

Lerman, D. C., Parten, M., Addison, L., Vorndran, C., Volkert, V. & Kodak, T. (2005). A methodology for assessing the functions of emerging speech in children with developmental disabilities. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 38, 303-316.

Lerman, D.C., Vorndran, C.M., Addison, L., & Kuhn, S.C. (2004). Preparing teachers in evidence-based practices for young children with autism. School Psychology Review, 33, 510-526.


Research of Dr. Jennifer Fritz

Dr. Fritz’s research interests include the assessment and treatment of severe behavior disorders, prevention of problem behavior, interventions for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities, caregiver training, and technological improvements to service delivery.

Currently, a new severe behavior disorders research clinic is being developed at the UHCL Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities. Research is conducted with the assistance of graduate and undergraduate students in Applied Behavior Analysis, and these projects are completed within the context of outpatient behavioral services to individuals with developmental disabilities.

Recent Publications

Fritz, J. N., DeLeon, I. G., & Lazarchick, W. D. (2004). Separating the influences of escape and access to preferred activities on problem behavior occurring in instructional contexts. Behavioral Interventions, 19, 1-13.

Dempsey, C. M., Iwata, B. A., Fritz, J. N., & Rolider, N. U. (accepted for publication). Observer training revisited: A comparison of in-vivo and video instruction. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Bloom, S. E., Iwata, B. A., Fritz, J. N., Roscoe, E. M., & Carreau, A. B. (under review). Classroom application of a trial-based functional analysis.


Research of Dr. Sarah Lechago

Dr. Lechago’s research interests include verbal behavior (behavior analytic approach to the study of language), treatments in autism and other developmental disabilities, social skills training, college teaching, and training caregivers and teachers to utilize behavior analytic approaches to teaching.  
Dr. Lechago’s primary research interests include conceptual and applied research in the area of verbal behavior.  More specifically, she is interested in mand-for-information training and in the development of procedures to generate emergent responding (i.e., verbal behavior that is not directly taught).  Dr. Lechago has a verbal behavior research lab, which meets every two weeks throughout each semester.  The day and time will vary across semesters.  Interested graduate and undergraduate students are welcome to contact Dr. Lechago at 281-283-3331.
A new Verbal Behavior Clinic is being developed at the UHCL Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities.  Applied verbal research will be conducted at the clinic by graduate students in the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) master’s program and undergraduate students interested in ABA. This research will be conducted within the context of clinical services provided to individuals with language delays in an outpatient clinic. 

Selected Publications

Lechago, S.A., Carr, J.E, Grow, L.L., Love, J.R., & Almason, S.M. (2010).  Mands for 
            information generalize across establishing operations.  Journal of Applied
            Behavior Analysis, 43, 381- 395.
Lechago, S.A., Love, J. R., & Carr, J.E. (2009).  Recommendations for recruiting and 
            managing undergraduate research assistants.The Behavior Therapist, 32
Lechago, S.A., & Carr, J.E. (2008).  Recommendations for reporting independent 
            variables in outcome studies of early intensive behavioral intervention for 
            autism.  Behavior Modification, 32, 489-503.
Petursdottir, A.I., Carr, J.E., Lechago, S.A., & Almason, S.M. (2008).  An evaluation of 
            intraverbal training and listener training for teaching categorization skills.  
            Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 41, 53-68.

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