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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Paper Session #433
A Functional Analysis of Explanatory Fictions for Autistic Behaviors
Monday, May 26, 2014
4:00 PM–4:20 PM
W183b (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: AUT
Chair: Lee L. Mason (The University of Texas at San Antonio)
A Functional Analysis of Explanatory Fictions for Autistic Behaviors
Domain: Applied Research
LEE L. MASON (The University of Texas at San Antonio), Don Davis (The University of Texas at San Antonio)
Abstract: The prevalence of explanatory fictions to explain the problem behavior of children with autism leads one to believe that they must function in some way for the speaker who emits them. As such, identifying the contingencies responsible for explanatory fictions would be an appropriate first step in eliminating their use. Leigland (1989) outlined a procedure for the operant analysis of verbal behavior, by revealing some of the controlling relations at the level of the individual person. Leigland's procedure involved human observers making explanatory statements to describe a pigeon pecking a response key in a controlled setting. The current study expands upon this research in an applied setting. Using a modification of the procedures described by Leigland (1989), parents of children with autism were asked to observe their children in an instructional setting and provide explanations for the problem behaviors that they observed. This paper will summarize the findings of three such analyses in which the parents' explanations are mapped onto cumulative records of their childrens' autistic behaviors.



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