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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #92
CE Offered: BACB
Examining of the Role of Echoic Behavior during Skill Acquisition
Saturday, May 24, 2014
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
W185bc (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: VRB/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Tiffany Kodak (University of Oregon)
CE Instructor: Tiffany Kodak, Ph.D.

Although numerous instructional strategies can produce skill acquisition for children with and without developmental disabilities, these strategies do not necessarily produce similar outcomes across participants. It may be the case that certain repertoires mediate the effects of intervention, such as an echoic repertoire. The proposed symposium includes three studies that evaluated the role of echoic behavior in the acquisition of novel skills. In the first study, Anthony and colleagues evaluated the role of echoic behavior during instructive feedback. The authors attempted to prevent the occurrence of echoic behavior by requiring participants to engage in an alternative task immediately following the presentation of instructive feedback. In the second study, Zemantic and colleagues measured echoic and attending behavior during instructive feedback. Participants who did not demonstrate echoic or attending behavior did not benefit from instructive feedback, but they responded positively to intervention when they were subsequently required to engage in these behaviors. In the third study by Carp and colleagues, the authors evaluated whether requiring echoic behavior facilitated acquisition of auditory-visual conditional discriminations. This collection of studies will present data on the role of echoic behavior during skill acquisition programs and provide recommendations for future research and practice

Keyword(s): conditional discrimination, echoic behavior, instructive feedback

The Effect of Instructive Feedback for Students with Language and Learning Disabilities

Christi Anthony (Caldwell College), Jason C. Vladescu (Caldwell College), Tina Sidener (Caldwell College), Tiffany Kodak (University of Oregon), CASEY NOTTINGHAM (Caldwell College)

Previous studies have evaluated the usefulness of presenting additional stimuli during learning trials. When presenting additional stimuli, responses to these stimuli are not required and if a response is provided, no feedback is given. This procedure has been associated with increases in instructional efficiency for some learners but not others. Although this approach may be an attractive option for teachers, little is known about the types of learners that are likely to benefit from this procedure. Along this line, it may be important that learners engage in an echoic response following the presentation of the additional stimulus. An echoic response may be considered a mediating response that may play a role in the learners acquisition of additional stimuli. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate a procedure aimed at blocking the occurrence of an echoic response to help determine the necessity of this response during teaching that incorporates additional stimuli. Results indicate that acquisition of the secondary targets was delayed for two of the three participants in the condition that involved attempts to block the echoic response. The discussion of results will further consider operant mechanisms and learner characteristics that could be explored in future studies.

An Evaluation of Variables that Impact the Efficacy of Instructive Feedback
PATRICIA ZEMANTIC (University of Oregon), Tiffany Kodak (University of Oregon), Brittany LeBlanc (University of Oregon), Traci Elaine Ruppert (University of Oregon), Shaji Haq (University of Oregon), Marilynn Porritt (University of Oregon), Vincent E. Campbell (University of Oregon), Tom Cariveau (University of Oregon)
Abstract: Instructive feedback (IF) involves presenting additional information in learning trials to which the student is not required to respond. The extent literature on instructive feedback shows that it is an effective and efficient procedure for increasing verbal behavior in children with developmental disabilities (e.g., Werts, Hoffman, & Darcy, 2011). Before training teachers and school-based staff to use IF in classroom settings, it may be useful to evaluate whether specific behavioral repertoires impact the efficacy of IF. In the present study, we evaluated two variables that may impact the efficacy of IF – attending and echoic behavior. Two children diagnosed with autism participated in this study. Participant 1 echoed IF targets, although inconsistently, and she acquired IF targets either without direct training or following a brief period of training. Participant 2 echoed but did not attend to IF targets. When we required attending, there was an improvement in acquisition of IF targets. For participant 1, we extended the evaluation outside of the treatment room to examine whether the efficacy of IF would generalize to a setting in which the participant had no history of instruction. We will discuss the implications of our results for future research and practice.
An Unexpected Effect of Adding Echoic Response Requirements to Picture Prompts During Auditory-Visual Conditional Discrimination Training
CHARLOTTE LYNN CARP (McNeese State University), Erika Zeno (McNeese State University), Anna I. Petursdottir (Texas Christian University)
Abstract: When teaching conditional discriminations, research has demonstrated that the rate of acquisition increases when a participant emits a differential observing response (DOR) to the sample or comparison stimuli (Fisher, Kodak, & Moore, 2007). No research, however, has evaluated the effects of both a DOR to the sample and comparison stimuli on acquisition of conditional discriminations. The present study investigates adding an echoic response requirement (i.e., DOR to the sample stimulus) to a picture prompt (i.e., DOR to the comparison stimuli) to teach auditory-visual conditional discriminations to six typically developing 3-4 year olds. A multi-element design was used to evaluate three conditions: (1) an echoic response requirement plus picture prompt embedded in a least-to-most procedure hierarchy, (2) a picture prompt embedded in a least-to-most prompting hierarchy, and (3) a control trial and error condition. The echoic response requirement was presented immediately prior to the picture prompt for three participants, and immediately following the picture prompt for three participants. Contrary to the prediction, results demonstrated that for all participants, the picture prompt alone produced acquisition at faster or similar rates than the picture prompt with the added echoic response requirement. Data are currently being collected to examine the source of this effect.



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