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 #356
The Study of Derived Relational Responding in Infants and Children: Empirical Findings and Developmental Considerations
Monday, May 25, 2009
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
North 224 A
Area: CBM/VRB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Karen Michelle O'Brien (University of North Texas)
Discussant: Amy Murrell (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Studies of stimulus equivalence in infants and children have formed the basis for the assertion that the development of derived relational responding ability parallels the development of human language. In fact, data has shown that derived relational responding occurs in children as young as 17 months as oral language becomes more complex (Lipkens, Hayes & Hayes, 1993). Theorists have suggested that as language develops and becomes more complex, the potential for suffering and avoidance also emerges (Hayes, Barnes-Holmes & Roche, 2001). In this symposium, empirical data and theoretical considerations will be presented that add to the study of stimulus equivalence in both infants and young children. Data from a longitudinal study of a language-delayed infant replicates findings previously presented by Lipkens et al (1993). Manipulations to experimental procedures used with infants and children will be discussed with an emphasis on developmentally appropriate ways to measure derived relational responding. Finally, data from a study of class formation in school-aged children will be presented. Results from this study suggest that the inclusion of meaningful stimuli impacts stimulus class formation in children, as has previously been shown with adults.
A Longitudinal Study of Derived Relational Responding in an Infant with a Significant Language Delay
CHARLES PETERSON (University of Mississippi), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Mississippi), A. Nicki Jeane (University of Mississippi), Kate Kellum (The University of Mississippi), Kelly G. Wilson (University of Mississippi)
Abstract: Responding to one stimulus in terms of its relation to another stimulus without direct training has been referred to as derived relational responding. The emergence of derived relational responding as a generalized operant has been proposed to underlie human language. The current study examined the emergence of derived relational responding in an infant with a language delay. Henry was repeatedly tested for derived relational responding over a 6-month period (from age 23 months to age 29 months). When the study was initiated, Henry was exhibiting language skills associated with a developmental age of 14 months. In the first phase, equivalence relations were directly trained between spoken names and pictures, between spoken names and signed names, or between pictures and signed names, and Henry was tested for mutual and combinatorial entailment. In the second phase, functions were directly trained for either the spoken names, signed names, or picture, and Henry was tested for transformation of stimulus function. This project was approved by the University of Mississippi Internal Review Board.
Changing Bodies, Minds, and Procedures: Necessary Adaptations to MTS in Young Children
VAISHNAVI KAPADIA (University of North Texas), Jeffrey Geddes (University of North Texas), Kristi Mannon (University of North Texas), Tiffani Allison (University of North Texas), Amy Murrell (University of North Texas)
Abstract: At each stage of development, typically developing children acquire a number of skills in motor and cognitive domains. When a child has not yet reached a particular developmental milestone, adjustments to commonly used behavioral research paradigms may be necessary. If such need to adapt is ignored, data collection in young children can seem like an arduous process. This presentation will examine the developmental milestones in children between the ages of 17 months and 6 years and present the corresponding adjustments necessary in order for young children to complete Match to Sample (MTS) tasks used to measure Derived Relational Responding (stimulus equivalence). One study of relational responding in 4 to 6 year olds will be used to highlight these issues. These children needed changes to a computerized MTS procedure such as, using a button-press rather than mouse to select stimuli and using participant generated stimuli names. This project was approved by the University of North Texas Institutional Review Board.
Childhood Learning: Examining the Relationship between Feelings about School and Learning Ability
JEFFREY GEDDES (University of North Texas), Amy Murrell (University of North Texas), Jessica Bauguss (University of North Texas)
Abstract: A child’s ability to learn in school is affected by various factors. Some are biological and some relate to physical environment. An examination of factors that affect learning in children 4 to 6 years old was conducted. Children, parents, and teachers completed questionnaires examining the children’s feelings toward and overt behavior at school. The children completed a matching-to-sample (MTS) task on a computer. The MTS was completed in 7 phases and required the children to form 3 stimulus classes by grouping the stimuli together. The first stimulus class was called arbitrary and contained three arbitrary stimuli. The second class was called school-good and included one school related stimulus, the word “good” with a happy face (presented as a single stimulus) and one arbitrary stimulus. The third class was called school-bad, consisted of a school related stimulus, the word “bad” with a frowning face and an arbitrary stimulus. Data will be presented that demonstrates children’s differential ability to form stimulus classes based on their scores on measures of feelings about school. MTS data will be presented from each of the stimulus classes along with children’s scores on attitudinal and behavioral measures.



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