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 #397
CE Offered: BACB
Engineering Discovery Learning: Generativity and Contingency Adduction
Monday, May 25, 2009
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
North 121 A
Area: EDC/EAB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Kent Johnson (Morningside Academy)
CE Instructor: Terence Blackwell, M.S., S.A.S.
Abstract: The study of generativity is the study of conditions that occasion the emergence of novel behavior and complex behavior without directly programing them. Many behavior analysts are interested in generativity, and approach it from a variety of perspectives and procedures, including equivalence relations, rule-governed behavior, relational frame theory, recombinative generalization, interconnecting repertoires, and contingency adduction. This symposium will focus upon contingency adduction and interventions that promote it. In presentation #1, Johnson will define generativity and contingency adduction; provide examples of contingency adduction in the classroom, and everyday life; and describe data on the arrangement and occurrence of contingency adduction. In presentation #2, Robbins will describe generative repertoires and two technologies for establishing them: a self-questioning procedure we call Fluent Thinking Skills (FTS), and a problem solving routine called Talk Aloud Problem Solving (TAPS). In presentation #3, Rickard will review basic research in each of the generativity approaches, and describe the necessary and sufficient conditions for each. In presentation #4, Layng will describe how stimulus control relations can explained by examining their dimensional stimulus control (what is responded to), and abstractional/instructional stimulus control (how one responds), and how these two aspects of stimulus control and their relation to contingency adduction further our understanding of novel behavior such as perspective-changing, insight, and metaphorical extension.
Generativity and Contingency Adduction Defined
KENT JOHNSON (Morningside Academy)
Abstract: Generativity can be understood by examining the process of contingency adduction. Contingency adduction is the recombination of prior learning to meet the requirements of new contingency contexts. Behaviors learned under separate conditions are recruited under new conditions to form new combinations or blends that serve a new or different function. Repertoires selected from the combination and recombination of previous selections become part of the selecting environment for further repertoires, and so on, to produce increasingly complex behavior. In this way, complex behavior can be viewed as the evolving outcomes of a learner’s environmental selection history. I will give examples of student repertoires adduced by contingencies in our classrooms, and some experimental data collected while programing early reading behaviors. Contingency adduction may be promoted in at least 3 ways: careful sequencing of instructional objectives, delayed prompting from teachers and peers, and explicitly teaching generative repertoires. I will briefly outline these approaches. Our Generative Instruction procedures and the phenomenon of contingency adduction make explicit some of the conditions that produce novel behavior, complex behavior, and discovery learning.
Generative Repertoires in a Morningside Classroom
JOANNE K. ROBBINS (Morningside Academy)
Abstract: The thinking skills "movement" is over twenty-five years old with educators and psychologists approaching classroom instruction and thinking from a long menu of options. As behavior analysts we can draw upon Arthur Costa’s analysis of how to best promote teaching and learning of this repertoire we call thinking: should the teacher teach for thinking; of thinking; about thinking? However, another expert in this field, Edward de Bono, cautioned us about blending approaches, “There are many great cuisines in the world: French, Chinese, Italian - and you seem to be trying to make a great stew out of all of them.” Behavior analysts are in a unique position to both draw upon others' work, yet make sure the derived procedures are effective. Using a contingency analysis, we can examine the relations between teacher and student, between students and instructional materials, between students using self-questioning, as in our Fluent Thinking Skills program, and acquisition of prerequisite skills, and between acquisition of the qualities shaped using our TAPS program and successful problem solving.  By analyzing contingencies, we examine how self-generated stimuli restrict response alternatives and  “provide an occasion for repertoires that may be relevant to ‘finding a solution,’ or stated differently, to making patterns, or combinations of patterns, candidates for contingency adduction” (Layng). Everyday school examples will be provided of how contingencies combine, overlap and ultimately define generative repertoires.
Understanding Generativity: An Analysis of the Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Producing Emergent Outcomes
KENDRA L. RICKARD (University of Nevada, Reno - Center for Advanced L)
Abstract: The description of conditions and learning histories essential to give rise to novel behavior or new combinations of previously learned behaviors has implications for the understanding of complex human phenomena such as creativity, problem solving, and the generative nature of language. Many areas of basic research examine such emergent repertoires, and different principles, processes and terms have been put forth to describe and/or account for them. The current presentation will discuss basic research concerned with emergent or generative outcomes. Specifically, processes of interconnecting repertoires, contingency adduction, recombinative generalization, rule-governed behavior and stimulus equivalence will be considered. The necessary and sufficient conditions in each of these generative approaches will be discussed.
The Importance of Dimensional and Abstractional/Instructional Stimulus Control to Analyzing Complex Behavior and Designing Generative Instruction
T. V. JOE LAYNG (Headsprout)
Abstract: Central to our understanding of generative instruction is the occasion – behavior relation. These relations can be described as alternative stimulus control topographies (SCTs) from which some are selected and other are not. As Ray & Sidman (1970) noted, however, an SCT must first occur before it can be selected by reinforcement. There is much more involved than simply reinforcing behavior in the presence of a stimulus. This presentation will examine how SCTs can be understood in terms of dimensional stimulus control (what is responded to) and abstractional/instructional stimulus control (how one responds), and how certain SCTs can be rapidly established. It will also describe how the relation between dimensional control, abstractional/instructional control, and contingency adduction can further our understanding of such “generative” topics as change in perspective, insight, reorganization of behavior, metaphor, relational responding, and stimulus class.



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