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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #106
CE Offered: BACB
Variables Affecting the Acquisition of Tact, Listener Behavior, and Visual Discriminations
Sunday, May 29, 2016
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Columbus Hall CD, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: PRA/VRB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Joseph M. Vedora (Evergreen Center)
Discussant: Laura L. Grow (University of British Columbia)
CE Instructor: Joseph M. Vedora, Ed.D.
Abstract: Educational programs for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and developmental delays often target the development of speaker (e.g., tact) and listener repertories, and discrimination training with visual stimuli. Several procedures may facilitate the acquisition of tact and listener relations or visual-visual discriminations. This symposium reviews two studies conducted with individuals with autism spectrum disorders that evaluated procedures used to teach listener relations. The first study compared the effectiveness and efficiency of an error correction procedure to a second-order reinforcement and response-cost procedure during training of listener relations. The second study compared the efficiency of picture prompts versus picture prompts used with a differential observing response during training of listener relations. A third study evaluated learners’ preference between massed and alternating matching-to-sample trials in young children with autism. Additionally, research with typically developing children may help guide research for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. The fourth study evaluated the effects of a differential observing response on typically developing children’s (3-5 years old) acquisition of tacts of overlapping compound stimuli. The implications of these procedures for practitioners and recommendations for future researchers will be discussed.
Keyword(s): tact, listener

Assessing Preference Between Massed and Alternating Trials in Teaching Word-Picture Relations to Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

ERIN CONANT (Evergreen Center), Paulo Guilhardi (Beacon ABA Services), Jennifer Smith (Beacon ABA Services), Camille Rivera (Beacon ABA Services)

The goal was to assess preference between massed and alternating matching-to-sample trials in children with autism. Two participants were presented with a matching-to-sample task on a computer. Sessions consisted of six trials of an unknown set of word-picture stimuli relations and six trials of known picture-picture identity relations. Prior to the presentation of the 12 trials, participants were asked to choose between three different colored stimuli randomly located on the computer screen. The participants choice of stimuli determined the condition for the session either mass (6 known/6 unknown stimuli relations, or vice-versa), alternating (alternation of known and unknown stimuli relations), or extinction (no reinforcement delivered). Once a condition preference to a condition was established a new set of colors were presented and preference was reassessed. Throughout a session, no prompts were delivered during the presentation of known stimuli relations, and a spoken word was used as prompt for the unknown stimuli relations. Prescribed prompts were faded systematically to assess acquisition of skill. All correct responses produced a token and once three tokens were earned a trade-in period occurred (unless the extinction condition was chosen). A preference for alternating trials developed during every assessment within and across participants.


Establishing Compound Stimulus Control Over Vocal Tacts

BAILEY DEVINE (Texas Christian University), Anna I. Petursdottir (Texas Christian University)

An accurate tact repertoire often requires control by multiple features of nonverbal stimuli over the verbal response. Inappropriate stimulus control can develop when learners are exposed to compound stimuli. The current study evaluated the effects of a differential observing response (DOR) on typically developing childrens (3-5 years old) acquisition of tacts of overlapping compound stimuli. When initial instruction without a DOR did not produce acquisition, an instruction format was introduced which required participants to engage in a DOR in the form of an identity match to sample response prior to tacting the stimuli. If the DOR intervention did not produce mastery, further manipulations were evaluated, including a verbal DOR and the establishment of vocal precurrent responses. Implications of the effectiveness of such interventions on tact acquisition are discussed.


A Comparison of Response Cost and Error Correction Procedures

JESSICA NIEMEIER (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Wayne W. Fisher (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Amber R. Paden (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)

Some children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) display persistent errors during discrete-trial training. Fisher and colleagues showed that combining a second-order reinforcement schedule with response cost produced improved accuracy in completion of intraverbal and receptive tasks among children with ASD (Fisher, Pawich, Dickes, Paden, & Toussaint, 2014). The purpose of the current study was to extend the findings of Fisher et al. (2014) by evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of their second-order reinforcement and response-cost procedure with a common error-correction procedure during acquisition of receptive-identification tasks. Two children diagnosed with an ASD participated. During baseline, we implemented a VR2 reinforcement schedule for cooperative behavior but not for correct responses. During treatment, in one condition we reinforced correct responses on a second-order FR3 [FR1] schedule and removed all accumulated reinforcers contingent on an error. In the other condition, we reinforced correct responses on an FR1 schedule, and following an error, we repeated the trial until the participant emitted an independent correct response. Results showed that the error-correction procedure proved to be more efficient with both participants and more effective with one participant. We discuss these results relative to the discriminative effects of reinforcement and punishment during acquisition of new tasks. We will continue to replicate these procedures with additional participants.

An Evaluation of Differential Observing Responses During Receptive Label Training
TIFFANY WALLER (Evergreen Center), Joseph M. Vedora (Evergreen Center)
Abstract: Prior researchers have used Differential Observing Responses (DORs) such as naming the sample stimulus (Geren, Stromer, & Mackay, 1997) or matching the visual sample to an identical comparison prior to a trial during visual-visual matching tasks (Dube & McIlvane, 1999). A DOR such as an echoic response to the auditory sample stimulus might enhance the learner’s attention to the sample and remediate stimulus control during receptive label training (Grow & LeBlanc, 2013). To date, only a few studies have evaluated the effects an echoic response-DOR during receptive label training for individuals with autism. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the use of a DOR that required the participant to imitate the sample stimulus prior to the receptive trial. A comparison of picture prompts, with and without a DOR, was conducted to determine if the DOR facilitated acquisition for a participant with autism who had a history of faulty stimulus control during discrimination training. The results indicated that the DOR enhanced acquisition and remediated stimulus control issues (i.e., position bias) during training. The implications of DORs used during receptive label training will be discussed.



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