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.


Ninth Annual Autism Conference; Las Vegas, NV; 2015

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #14
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Using Stimulus Pairing Procedures to Induce New Vocalizations

Sunday, January 25, 2015
9:30 AM–10:20 AM
Grand Ballroom
Area: AUT; Domain: Basic Research
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Anna I. Petursdottir, Ph.D.
Chair: Thomas S. Higbee (Utah State University)
ANNA I. PETURSDOTTIR (Texas Christian University)
Anna Ingeborg Petursdottir received her Ph.D. in psychology from Western Michigan University and is currently an associate professor of psychology at Texas Christian University. Her primary area of research is verbal behavior and its acquisition. Her applied research interests include strategies for enhancing basic communication skills of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, whereas more basic research interests include typically developing children's language acquisition, and how research and theory in this area may translate into effective language interventions. Dr. Petursdottir's research has been published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, and the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, among other journals. She is past editor of The Analysis of Verbal Behavior and an associate editor of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, and has served on the editorial boards of numerous other journals. Dr. Petursdottir is also a past president of the Texas Association for Behavior Analysis and has served on the annual convention program committee of the Association for Behavior Analysis International.

It has long been hypothesized that the early cooing and babbling of infants may be shaped into their native-language speech sounds in part via auditory feedback from their own voices. In behavioral terms, this means that vocalizations that resemble speech sounds regularly heard in the infants' environment function as reinforcers for vocalizing. Clinicians and researchers have translated this hypothesis into a stimulus-stimulus pairing intervention intended to increase novel vocalizations of nonverbal children with autism and other developmental disabilities. However, the literature to date has produced mixed results. In this presentation, Dr. Petursdottir will discuss strengths and limitations of the existing literature on stimulus-stimulus pairing, and use data from her lab to illustrate alternative procedures intended to establish speech sounds as conditioned reinforcers.

Target Audience:

Psychologists, behavior analysts, practitioners, and graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants should be able to: (1) explain how the concept of automatic conditioned reinforcement has been used to account for increases in child vocalizations after the child is exposed to pairings of adult speech sounds with preferred stimuli; (2) identify the strengths and limitations of the literature on stimulus-stimulus pairing to establish early speech sounds in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder; and (3) describe discrimination training and response-contingent pairing as two alternative procedures to establish speech sounds or other stimuli as conditioned reinforcers.
Keyword(s): stimulus pairing



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