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.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

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Symposium #341
Acquisition of New Capabilities from Contextual and Indirect Contact with Contingencies
Monday, May 29, 2006
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jessica Singer-Dudek (St. John's University & CABAS)
Abstract: This symposium is devoted to new research regarding the induction of new capabilities in preschool, Kindergarten, and first grade children through direct and indirect contact with environmental contingencies. The first paper will summarize research from several experiments investigating the acquisition of conditioned reinforcement as a function of observation by students with and without observational learning capabilities at the outset of the study. The second paper will present research on a procedure for conditioning adult voices as reinforcers for students without listener capabilities. The third paper will present research on the effectiveness of a yoked peer contingency game to induce observational learning in two pairs of first grade students. The fourth paper investigated the effect of a multiple exemplar history on the induction of regular past tense usage and its relation to the use of irregular verbs. These four papers examine the acquisition of new capabilities resulting from either contextual contingencies or indirect environmental contingencies.
Observational Learning of Conditioned Reinforcement.
JESSICA SINGER-DUDEK (St. John's University & CABAS), R. Douglas Greer (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School), Lynn Yuan (Fred S. Keller School)
Abstract: We report experiments in which observations of peers under specific conditions functioned to convert neutral stimuli (plastic discs or small pieces of string) from non-reinforcers to reinforcers for responding and learning by preschool and Kindergarten children. Pre and post observational intervention tests compared each child’s responding on: (a) performance tasks in which the child received either a preferred item or the neutral stimulus for accurate performance and (b) new instructional goals using the neutral stimuli only as consequences for correct responses. These pre-intervention experimental tests showed that neutral stimuli did not reinforce learning or performance while the preferred items did. During the peer observational intervention each observing student and a peer simultaneously engaged in another performance task for repeated sessions. A partition blocked the observing students from seeing the accuracy of their peers’ performance; they did, however, observe their peers receiving discs or string, while they did not receive discs or string, regardless of the accuracy of their performance. These sessions continued until the target children requested the stimuli repeatedly or attempted to take their peers’ discs or string. The post observational tests showed that the discs and string had acquired reinforcement functions for accurate responding on both performance tasks and the learning of instructional objectives.
Effects of the Observational System of Instruction on the Acquisition of Observational Learning and the Naming Repertoire.
ELISABETH L. KRACHER (Columbia University Teachers College), R. Douglas Greer (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School), Karla Weigand (Columbia University Teachers College), Tracy Reilly-Lawson (Columbia University Teachers College), Darcy Walsh (Columbia University Teachers College)
Abstract: These studies tested the effects of the Observational System of Instruction on the acquisition of observational learning and the naming repertoire. The first experiment tested the effects of a yoked peer contingency game on the acquisition of observational learning repertoires in two pairs of students. Three, typically developing first graders and one first grader diagnosed with autism participated in this study with a delayed multiple baseline across participants design. Initial results show that the yoked peer contingency effectively increased students’ correct responses to observed learn units in a post-probe condition. The second experiment tested the effects of the observational learning repertoire on the acquisition of observational learning and the naming repertoire. Two students lacking observational learning and two students lacking both observational learning and the naming repertoire participated in the study. A delayed multiple baseline across subjects was used. Results showed that observational learning was acquired through the observational system of instruction, and that the naming repertoire developed as a result of the acquisition of observational learning.
Conditioning Adult Voices to Induce Listener Capabilities.
JOANN PEREIRA DELGADO (Fred S. Keller School), R. Douglas Greer (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School), Dolleen-Day Keohane (Columbia University Teachers College & CABAS), Jessica Singer-Dudek (St. John's University & CABAS)
Abstract: This study investigated the effects of a “conditioning voices” procedure on pre and post daily learn units (instructional trials) required to meet objectives across curricula programs for 3-4 year old students diagnosed with developmental delays. The students in this study had pre-listener and pre-speaker or emergent speaker levels of verbal behavior and had difficulty achieving instructional objectives. Additionally, the students did not have a naming repertoire. That is, they could not identify pictures by pointing (listener) or tacting (speaker) after they were taught to match sets of pictures (i.e. match “ball”). The dependent measures in this study were the students’ learn units to criterion and the acquisition of the listener/speaker component of naming. That is, following the conditioning voices procedure, could the student identify pictures by pointing and/or tacting post conditioning voices. During the conditioning procedure, a pair and test trail was used to condition adult voices via an audio tape. Following the completion of the conditioning procedure, probes were conducted on the dependent measures. The results are discussed in terms of the importance of developing a listener repertoire and acquisition of a naming repertoire.
Kids Say the Darnedest Things.
LYNN YUAN (Fred S. Keller School), R. Douglas Greer (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School), JoAnn Pereira Delgado (Fred S. Keller School)
Abstract: The purpose of this research was to examine the effects of multiple exemplar instruction on the production of regular past tense usage and its relation to the use of irregular verbs for typically developing children and children with developmental delays. Preschool children and first grade students participated in this study. In the pre-experimental phase, probe sessions on three sets of regular verbs and two sets of irregular verbs across participants were conducted. The baseline condition was introduced by teaching the present and past tense in one set of regular verb separately to criterion. As the participants met criterion for both tenses, probe trial sessions on irregular verbs were conducted to test for the occurrences of untaught responses. Data showed that participants emitted low numbers or no correct responses. Following the probe trial sessions, multiple exemplar instruction was presented and the participants were taught regular verb forms through the multiple exemplar instruction across present and past with contextual pictures. Results showed an emergence of derived regular verb forms and the irregular verb usage across all participants.



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