2011: Mary Sweeney

Utah State University

For more than 2 years, Mary served as a research assistant on a grant comparing different alternative reinforcement treatments in terms of persistence and relapse from the perspective of behavioral momentum theory. The project consisted of collaboration between basic researchers with animal models, and translational researchers working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Mary is also a collaborative graduate affiliate of the Multisensory Cognition Laboratory with Dr. Kerry Jordan. Her work with that laboratory relates to impulsiveness as a function of environment and suggests that we might be more impulsive with exposure to man-made environments than we are in natural environments. This means that it may be useful to include exposure to natural environments in treatments of disorders of impulse control such as substance abuse or problem gambling. Additionally, she has worked with Dr. Timothy Shahan to modify the existing behavioral momentum-based model of relapse to better account for the resurgence phenomenon in which alternative reinforcement is used to help eliminate an operant response.


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