Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #57
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Current Research in Verbal Behavior
Saturday, May 23, 2009
2:30 PM–3:50 PM
North 129 A
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Paul D. Neuman (Bryn Mawr College)
Discussant: Philip N. Hineline (Temple University)
CE Instructor: Frank Bird, M.Ed.
Abstract: Applied behavior analysts have a rich history of teaching socially important behavior to individuals with developmental disabilities, autism and language delay. Less often, the learning of more complex social behavior is studied with typically developing children. Response prompting, reinforcement, generalization, and maintenance have all been extensively studied to identify best teaching practices. This symposium will examine prompting to establish tacts, several methods for teaching intraverbals to individuals with verbal deficits and several methods for teaching autoclitics to improve “social skills.” . Each study focuses on a different unit of verbal with individuals with distint deficits. The first study, presented by Catia Cividini-Motta, explores the teaching of tacts using social stimuli as reinforcers. The second examination, presented by Nicole M. Trosclair-Lasserre, compares three methods for teaching intraverbals. In the third study, presented by Jennifer Wade, simple mands, component autoclitics comprised of more basic verbal operants, and parsimonious autoclitics are taught to typically developing children. The distinguished verbal behavior scholar, Philip N. Hineline, will serve as the discussant.
Establishing Joint Attention Responses Using Social Stimuli as Reinforcers While Providing Opportunities to Tact
CATIA CIVIDINI-MOTTA (New England Center for Children), Tala Williford (New England Center for Children), Kathy Clark (New England Center for Children), William H. Ahearn (The New England Center for Children)
Abstract: The current research project assessed the effectiveness of using social stimuli and prompting to establish tact responses in 2 individuals diagnosed with Autism. Because tacts are maintained by either generalized or social reinforcers, it may be best to teach them using social stimuli as reinforcers. A reinforcer assessment of social stimuli was conducted and the results suggested two social reinforcers for use during the training phase. A multiple baseline across responses design was used to demonstrate experimental control. Baseline consisted of two sets of five trials in which no consequences were delivered for responding. During training, one of the two social consequences was delivered contingent on the target response, for both prompted and independent responses. The training phase continued until each one of the responses met the mastery criteria of 90% independent across two consecutive sessions. Interobserver (IOA) agreement data was collected over 33% of the sessions across both the reinforcer and the training phases and it averaged over 90% agreement. The results of this project suggested that social stimuli combined with prompting are effective for establishing joint attention responses during tact training with students diagnosed with autism.
Evaluation of Three Methods for Teaching Intraverbals to Children with Language Delays
NICOLE M. TROSCLAIR-LASSERRE (LSUHSC – Human Development Center), Dorothea C. Lerman (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Crystal N. Bowen (Marcus Autism Center), Joslyn N. Cynkus (Louisiana State University), Nathan A. Call (Marcus Autism Center and Emory University School of Medicine)
Abstract: Direct instruction is often necessary to develop language or expand language use in individuals with language delays. Previous research has begun to identify certain training conditions that result in more efficient use of instructional time devoted to language development. Specifically, incorporating mands into the instructional arrangement, increasing the quality of reinforcement delivered for interspersed tasks, and including instructive feedback stimuli into the consequences of learning trials have all demonstrated more efficient learning of targeted language skills. The purpose of the current investigation was to compare three methods for teaching intraverbals to individuals with deficits in this area. Interobserver agreement was collected for at least 48% of sessions and agreement coefficients exceeded 97% for all participants. Training conditions incorporating mands into instruction did not result in faster acquisition of intraverbals relative to the instructive feedback condition. Two out of three participants acquired new intraverbals related to the instructive feedback stimuli; however, the third participant did not acquire intraverbals presented as instructive feedback even when direct instruction was initiated. Generalization was not explicitly programmed but was observed for two participants. Finally, no single training condition was associated with improved maintenance relative to the other conditions.
Establishing manipulative autoclitics in young children’s repertoires as a method for improving social skills
JENIFER A. WADE (Temple University), Philip N. Hineline (Temple University)
Abstract: The study of verbal operants has received considerable attention; however, autoclitics have generally been overlooked in experimental and applied domains. Autoclitics can be defined as verbal operants modifying other verbal operants or the effect of these operants upon the listener. Autoclitics emitted by the speaker require discrimination of the listener’s reaction in order to be effective. Placing autoclitics in a larger framework, verbal behavior relevant to what we speak of as social skills, persuasion, and conversation can be analyzed in part by in depth consideration of autoclitics. The current study implements several methods aimed at establishing autoclitics likely to improve what we speak of as “social skills.” Simple mands, component autoclitics comprised of more basic verbal operants, and parsimonious autoclitics were taught to typically developing children. Preliminary data suggest that differences in use and variation of autoclitics exist both in speaker and listener repertoires based upon method of establishing such autoclitics, and that automatic transfer often occurs between speaker and listener roles (eg. pliance) after participation in speaker roles alone. The wide scope implications not only for educational domains, but for more varied social domains are discussed.



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